K Pachamuthu (55), a farmer from K-Kannanur near Dalmiapuram at Pullambadi block in Tiruchy, was looking for an alternative to irrigate his three-acre land. 

About four years ago, he came across the announcement that said 90 per cent subsidy (presently 70 per cent) would be given for solar irrigation pump sets.

Pachamuthu immediately applied through the District Agriculture Engineering Department. 

Within six months, officials got in touch with him to confirm that he was ready to switch over to solar power pump set. 

He was asked to pay 10 per cent as his contribution (Rs 48,000). In two weeks, the team came to set up the system consisting of a 7.5-HP motor along with 22 panels measuring 5X3 feet.

“Since then, I have been making use of it to water my fields from 7.30 am to 4.30 pm for four years without break,” he said. 

“The supply would be affected only during cloudy days. Otherwise, there are no hindrances.” 

In the last four years, he encountered a problem only once, that too with the submersible water pump. 

The officials assured free service for five years, that made it a stress-free arrangement for him.

Pachamuthu’s success acted as a catalyst for five others in his village to opt for solar power pump set. 

“This is a maintenance-free system and the agricultural engineering officials are always reachable for any clarification. 

They explained the system step-by-step so that the system performs at the optimum level,” said Pachamuthu, who is now cultivating shallots in 1.5 acre and chillies in the remaining 1.5 acre.

P Bala Ramakrishnan (49), a farmer from Lalgudi who has 2.5 acres field, went a step ahead to set up a 5-HP solar power pump with auto-tracking panels that tilt according to sun’s movement.