In the Dhundi village of Gujarat's Kheda district grazing cows and buffaloes is a very frequent sight. While the summer brings with it unbearable heat, the blazing sun is a harbinger of good news in this village. A source of power, water and income, it has rendered Dhundi as a model solar village. Only two years ago, when the world’s first solar irrigation cooperative, Dhundi Saur Urja Utpadak Sahakari Mandali or DSUUSM, was launched, the farmers of the village were harvesting only crops. Today, they are harvesting solar energy, according to The Hindu.
These farmers use solar pumps to irrigate their fields, so much so that in the case of surplus, they are selling it to Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Ltd, making it a source of an additional income to farming. In case of excess water irrigated out of their borewell, these farmers sell it.
Most of the diesel pump owners, who are the usual vendors to buy water, sell it at high price. We charge only Rs 250, half the amount they charge. Of the 450 water buyers in the area, almost 50 percent now receive water at these affordable rates, says one of the solar entrepreneurs.
Some farmers sell the excess power at Rs 7 per unit. Each day, they sell approximately 50-60 kWh of solar energy. Most of these farmers, who claimed personal loans to become solar equipped, today have repaid their debts and are making Rs 30,000 to Rs 1,30,000 every year by just selling electricity and water. An average yield gives them Rs 1,800-2,000 per month, says a report by The Indian Express.
This cooperative was launched in 2016 under the aegis of International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The installation of solar technology has made these farmers self-sufficient with water pumps and power grids. The 'solar crop' has transformed the lives of most of these households by turning them into solar entrepreneurs and, in turn, fueling the economy of this village.