September 30, 2017

DSUUSM: Bi-Annual Progress Report, 2015-17

As part of an ITP-CCAFS research pilot, a solar pump irrigators' cooperative was registered in early 2016. Having completed one year of grid-connected operations, the farmers report their progress...

Dhundi Solar Energy Producers' Cooperative Society

First Bi-Annual Progress Report, 2015-17

Dhundi Saur Urja Utpadak Sahakari Mandali (DSUUSM), Kheda, Gujarat

In 2015, IWMI-Tata Program and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) started an action-research project on 'Climate Smart Agriculture'. As part of the project, it was decided to establish climate-smart agricultural practices and catalyze local institutions that can sustain the practices long after the project is over. After exploring several villages, Dhundi village in Kheda district of Gujarat was selected for the pilot.

For a village in central Gujarat, Dhundi is atypical since all 50 irrigation pumps in the village, except one, are powered by diesel. After initial discussions with villagers, ITP decided to offer 6 farmers solar irrigation pumps at nearly 90 per cent subsidy; the pumps were installed on the farmers' fields in December 2015 and a local micro-grid connecting all the pumps to a central point was also commissioned. In February 2016, the Dhundi Saur Urja Utpadak Sahakari Mandali (DSUUSM) was formally registered. On 2nd May 2016, the cooperative entered into a Power Purchase Agreement with the local electricity distribution company - Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL). As part of the 25-year agreement, MGVCL agreed to buy solar power from DSUUSM at a feed-in-tariff of ₹4.63/kWh; the member farmers agreed not to apply for farm connections for subsidized grid-power and also agreed to pay ₹9.26/kWh for any electricity imported from the grid, accidentally or otherwise. The cooperative's micro-grid was connected to the local electricity grid and surplus power evacuation started on 10th May 2016. The attached report summarizes the operations of the cooperative since its inception in 2015.


  1. Reading the Annual Report, I see that the area irrigated increased nearly 3 times. I take this to mean that pumping actually increased compared to pre-SPICE, and therefore this model is actually exacerbating the over-pumping of the aquifer. This would be quite contrary to the expectation. Please comment and if I am wrong, explain why.
    Thank you
    Doug Merrey

  2. Dear Doug, a couple of points of clarification:

    1. Before the solar experiment, Dhundi's irrigation economy was dominated by diesel pumps. The area irrigated by (solar) tubewells of DSUUSM members increased because solar tubewells offer irrigation service at a lower price compared to diesel pumps. The increase in area represents replacement of diesel-irrigated-area by solar-irrigated-area; not additional groundwater pumping.

    2. Even with the additional sale of irrigation service (and meeting their own irrigation requirements), DSUUSM members evacuated more than half the solar energy generated on their farms. This energy would have been used for pumping groundwater if they had off-grid solar pumps without the option of selling surplus power back to the grid.