Gujarat’s Solar Irrigation Cooperative Has A Solution For India’s Groundwater Crisis

Dhundi, Kheda district, Gujarat: Phodabhai Parmar, a 72­year­old farmer, sits on a charpai sipping tea as solar panels gleam in the fields behind him. Parmar is one of six farmers who have formed the world’s first solar irrigation cooperative in Dhundi village in Gujarat’s Kheda district, about 90 km from Ahmedabad.

The Solar Pump Irrigators’ Cooperative Enterprise (SPICE), which began operating in May 2016, not only made a switch from diesel to solar pumps but also adopted net metering– selling excess power to the local electricity utility.

Members now have an incentive to save power and curtail their groundwater use, as any leftover power is sold to the the Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL), the local power utility, thereby creating a parallel revenue stream.

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