Providing water for irrigation in rural areas in India has been a challenge mostly due to non availability of grid power. The farmers in India largely depend on monsoons for crop water needs. When the monsoon is erratic or the season is over, the farmers rely on grid power. Since grid power is largely not available, the famers are forced to meet irrigation water pumping needs by using electricity produced by running diesel generators.
Today diesel power provides about half of all irrigation pumping needs in the country, representing about 18% of total primary electricity usage (LBNL report). Diesel fuel is very costly ($3.40/gallon or Rs 40/litre) and the diesel generator is also expensive to operate and maintain. According to a recent report from GreenTechMedia, cost of electricity generation from diesel is around Rs 15/unit in India.
Claro Energy uses solar energy to produce electric power at point of use. Power produced is used to run irrigation pumps that provide water for agriculture. Claro Energy provides immense benefit to rural farmers by increasing agriculture productivity of their land. By providing both power and water, Claro Energy fulfils two basic infrastructure needs for remote population.
Optimal design and engineering of a solar PV irrigation pump requires an understanding of solar PV module characteristics, centrifugal AC/DC pump and motor operation, and knowledge of middleware (inverters, variable frequency drives and MPPT) under given local solar insulation and ground water table conditions.
Claro Energy’s has developed system integration expertise between solar modules and centrifugal pumps that is enabled via a power electronics middleware. In partnership with a local engineering firm, Claro Energy has also developed a proprietary intelligent controller and variable frequency drive solution that facilitates optimized system configuration which is more reliable and also lower in cost.
Claro energy procures solar modules, AC/DC pump and intelligent controller locally and produces an optimal assembly based on local groundwater, solar insulation and irrigation water discharge conditions. The optimal solution is low cost and robust as it is appropriately integrated and sized.