MNRE inviting comments on draft specifications and testing procedure of Solar Pump Controller

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is inviting comments from stakeholders on draft specifications and testing procedure for Universal Solar Pump Controller (USPC).

Government has recently approved scheme for farmers for installation of solar pumps and grid connected solar power plants.

Administrative Approval for the scheme was issued by MNRE on 08.03.2019. 2. In order to increase the utility of the solar PV system installed for solar water pumps, it is proposed to consider use of Universal Solar Pump Controller (USPC).

Stakeholders are requested to send their comments/suggestions/views on these documents latest by 19.04.2019 at shobhit.srivastava@nic.in.

The Controller for Solar Water pumping System is the heart and brain of the system made of SPV Panels, Motor and Pump besides Structure.

The Solar water pumping system deployed at huge cost to the farmer and the exchequer or the Government is currently utilised only for half of the days in a year (150 days per year) on average as per available credible statistics.

Besides the SPV Panels last for 25 years and therefore other constituents of the solar pumping system must have the design and quality to last that many years. Keeping both these aspects in mind the Controller design should be such that besides water pump it should be able to run any agrarian equipment that will help farmer to raise productivity and quality of the produce and save diesel or other form of fossil based energy.

MNRE notes that the Controller design should also incorporate features that will take in to account degradation in the panels and other factors like partial shading etc. Considering past observations, that maximum solar water pumping installation are running for 140 to 160 days of a year and for remaining days they are sitting idle.

This is the underutilization of infrastructure (PV, PV structure, controllers, etc.). In order to increase the utilization of solar photovoltaic system, the controller supplied for installation of solar pumping system should perform several other tasks for agricultural and other needs of a farmer to increase the productivity of agriculture sector and income of farmer. With the use of USPC the solar system could be used more than 300 days in a year: The Controller should therefore be such that when irrigation is not required, the farmer can clean his crop with Winnower/Thresher, cut chaff for milch animals, operate cold storage to preserve his crop or deep freezer to store agrarian/dairy produce etc.

This will save the farmer diesel cost, get higher market value for his produce and raise income many fold. The Controller for Solar Pump System should besides Pump be able to run any agrarian load with in the given rating can be christened as Universal Solar Pump Controller or in short USPC. The philosophy is that when solar energy is converted to electrical energy by SPV panels, the Controller should be able to power any load that can otherwise be powered by the Grid.

The scope of work is:

  • To install USPC with SPV modules, Structure and Pump set, in short Solar System for irrigation purpose with capabilities to perform multiple auxiliary functions like energizing agrarian equipment: Apple grading and polishing system, Wheat (grain) floar grinding machine / Aata chakki, Cutter/chaff, Deep-fridger / cold storage, Blower fan for cleaning of grains, Any other standard voltage (400/415V) three phase motor. These equipment are ranging from capacity 3 HP to 10 HP. USPC should have robust system protection features, remote fault monitoring etc.
  • To install USPC based solar system as above plus capabilities to export power to the grid when pumping is not in operation. If in case farmer wishes to apportion the power between Motor/Pump set and Grid: Algorithm i.e. Software should provide that facility. This kind of situation may arise when Farmer’s requirement for irrigation (discharge) can be met by less power than installed power. This will save ground water depletion, crop loss due to overwatering will be avoided and thus raise productivity and result in to higher income for farmer, besides un used SPV power fed to the grid will further raise farmer’s income.

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