Low cost Farm generator

Hi All,

I would like to know about low cost farm generator for running borewell motors to draw water from around 300 ft. PLease share below details

  1. Cost of Purchase
  2. Cost of running for an hour
  3. Maintainence costs per year

Thanking in advacne

Vamshi - a little more information is needed to answer your question. I take it, you already have electrical motors and are considering diesel generators to cope with power cuts. If that’s correct, what is the capacity of the motors you plan on running? How large is the area that needs to be irrigated?  Typically how long does it take for the motors to irrigate the farm when electricity is available?

Diesel engine to draw water from 300 feet ?

I have never seen .

Borewell is around 300 feet deep, a 7.5 HP TEXMO motor is used to draw water. Nowadays there is lot power cuts, so investigating on a generator with around 20 KVA capacity to run atleast the borewell for few hours a day.

To run a 7.5 HO motor , a 15 KVA genset is sufficient.
The following links may be of help :

powericaltd.com/products-ser … o-25kva-2/

To run a 7.5 HO motor , a 15 KVA genset is sufficient.[/quote]

Actually, even 15 KVA is high. 10 KVA (8 KW) genset should be sufficient for RUNNING your motor. At 75% capacity, it would deliver 6 KW which is more than sufficient for the 7.5 HP (5.63 KW) motor.

Having said that, that’s for running. STARTING the motor requires higher capacity genset then running it. Capacity of genset required to start the motor can be calculated with this handy tool. It depends upon whether the motor is single-phase or three-phase and whether the start method is Direct On Line (DOL) or Star Delta - something you may need to check from TEXMO.

Hmmmm…Newbie, Varahaan -  the starting up KVA required for 7.5 HP motor is around 33 KVA :frowning: as per the link you gave me…I have seen else where on Internet that double should be fine, so thought about 20 KVA but even this looks not sufficient. Anyways, can you give me your experiences with farm generator, expenses.

the starting up KVA required for 7.5 HP motor is around 33 KVA :frowning: as per the link [/quote]

If you look carefully, it depends upon type of motor and start type. If it’s 3-phase / star delta, then 15 KVA should work well as suggested by varaahan and as per “double the HP in kva” rule you suggest.

Also note that your annual running costs will be several times the cost of the generator. 15 Kva (12 KW) genset running @ 50% capacity would consume approx 2.21 litre diesel / hr. Assuming 3 hr usage a day, your diesel cost over a 5 yr period will be Rs. 6.37 Lakh (2.21 x 3 x 365 x 5 x Rs.52.63)

This is considering present-day diesel price in Mumbai which of course will continue to rise. Same calculation at Rs.70 / l diesel price on average takes your 5-yr cost close to Rs.8.5 Lakh.

I have two suggestions, in the following order:

  1. Lower the irrigation requirement with the use of either heavy mulching or sub-surface drip-irrigation or both. Once you take into account the cost of diesel saved, investing into drip will make a lot of sense.

  2. Consider biomass generator if you can ensure adequate supply of dry woody biomass throughout the year. A 15 Kva biomass generator running at 50% capacity would consume an estimated 18-19 Kg biomass per hour.

Capital cost of the generator would be quite high though. It should be more than Rs. 7 Lakh as per my estimate. But then there would be no running cost. There may be some subsidy to the tune of Rs.1 Lakh. Plus, there is accelerated depreciation to the tune of 80% of project cost.

If you apply suggestion #1 diligently, then cost and consumption of #2 would reduce as you would be able to use smaller capacity generator-motor combo.

1 HP = 750 watts, so 7.5 Hp is 5250 watts .
That is just a little above 5 KVA.

So 15 KVA genset is more than enough.

I have never used one , so my calculation is subject to correction.

see this link for reference:

As newbie447 has rightly said , the cost -both initial and recurring , is prohibitive.
Instead you can try for windmill.

This is just a suggestion.

Wind power based pump would be cheaper than biomass genset but work well only if the site gets average wind speed higher than 4.5 m/s and if wind is distributed throughout the year. Both of these conditions are rare. If wind is not well distributed you can incorporate water storage which will increase cost quite a bit but if avg wind speed isn’t high you can’t do much.

Final word - go for wind power only if it’s an extremely windy site.

I think the suggestion on optimizing the irrigation method is good and something which can be planned & executed carefully, generator can go on backburner for a while considering the investment and running costs. Let me do somemore field study on this subject and meanwhile we can continue debating cheaper alternatives for Power Supply for Agriculture.

Windpower, SolarPower, Biomass Powered Generator, Diesel generator seems to be higher on the startup or have highher runnig costs - considering the profit loss/Breakeven equations, I am more inclined in saying using any kind of Generator for farming is not a good idea.

Any thoughts or sucuss stories?

Hi friends,

I have visited a farm where the farmer - a really progressive farmer - was using biogas to run a generator when power was not available.  He had cattle and so had a biogas plant.  As a result he was not bothered in any way by the non availability of power.  However, I do not have details of the capacity of the generator, the cost, etc.

This can be considered a possible alternative.



John, you’re correct biogas can be one of the cheapest alternative when you have the feedstock available - for example cattle dung with a dairy or kitchen waste with a restaurant. Vamshi has a timber plantation and I’m assuming no access to cattle dung or kitchen waste in large quantities. This is why I recommended biomass.

Vamshi you could eliminate manual irrigation altogether and raise the plantation on rainfed irrigation but unless you make provision for watershed management, the survival rate of saplings and growth of plants will reduce. Check discussions of watershed management methods on this forum and elsewhere.

Other forms of alternative irrigation solutions are animal driven pump (up to 140 feet max) and treadle pump (up to 25 feet max) which do not suit your farm as the water table depth (300 feet) is quite high.

To reduce irrigation demand, apart from mulching and drip, you could consider Pitcher Irrigation System. It increases labour requirement but I understand that you have a dedicated person for management of farm so this shouldn’t be a problem.


What is the power supply like at your farm? Is it not the 7 hours/day that most agricultural lands have in AP? What is the sustained yield from the well?

If it is 7 hours a day and you have an adequate yield, it may make sense for you to construct water storage tanks and drilling another well, assuming there’s water in the area. This combined with watershed management may be worth considering.

Water sources:
Currently there is a borewell (2.5 - 3 inch water output in peak summer) and couple of open wells (one is not used as water dries up after rains and another has water to last for about an hour in peak summer). I also have plan to clear the mud in the open well which is currently used (mud was last cleared around 12-13 years back), so I see some possibility to increase some water availability. There is a pipeline connecting across all three water sources.

Rainwater Management:
Rainwater is drained properly - there are small canals like (kaluva) all around the farm to collect water to fill a small trench/tank (aprox 20 meter in diameter) and drain out later from the farm. This trench can be used to collect water but I do not want to risk collecting water in this tank without complete understanding on how existing struture are built else waterloggin problem  might arise in monsoon. This peice of land has been cultivated by family since longtime, so the rainwater drain setup is pretty organized and maitained except water storage in Tank, which needs some attention.

Crops - current situation:
In my farm now, I have 5 acres of Fruits/Timber plantation (Melia Dubia, Mango, Guava, Mahogany, SilverOak, Teak) with 10 ft spacing. Drip system is used for irrigation, plants are now watered once in every three days. Apart from this, two acres of potato is planted which needs irrigation. The current water utlilization is virtually divided in two parts - Borewell for plantation & Open well for potato.

Power supply: 6 hours for farming now but some local Electricity officers already sounded their helplessness for Rabi crop itself, so expect the power cuts to be more harsh in Summer.

With current power supply and water availability, a maximum of 10 acres can be cultivated in Rabi with Drip & flood irrigation combination. I want to plant sugarcane in January, so I should be in a position to irrigate atleast 12 acres in summer with drip irrigation which I cannot achieve now. So I am trying to check cheaper alternatives like ones below to meet my requirement of irrigating 12 acres in summer.

  1. Use Diesel Powered generator to run borewell for extended hours (costs - already in this thread above)
  2. Open well - Clear mud to increase water availability for atleast 3 hours but 2 hours is somewhat possible(costs - around 50K for 10 feet and beyond 10 feet is too much of digging)
  3. Drill a new bore well and connect to existing Main pipeline (costs - 130K for Borewell with 300ft, Motor & 20K for pipeline work)
  4. Cutlivate Sugarcane only for 4 acres, so that 9 acres is irrigated with optimumization methods till I have more confidence to go with one of the options above.
    I think personally I would try 2 or 3 as more feasible options than 1.

You can direct monsoon run-off into the inactive wells and use them for groundwater table recharge. Within a couple of years your wells will be active and you’ll be able to draw water throughout the year. For more information and to post queries regarding this, look up India water portal. For renewable energy / pumping related queries the correct forum is Green-India.

Also read Subhash Palekar’s book Five Layer Palekar Models (Part I) for Mango, Amla, Custard apple, Drumstick, Sapota, Orange,
Mosambi, Kinno, Lemon, Malta, Guava, Pomegranate crops and The Techniques of Spiritual Farming (Part 4) for Paddy, Sugarcane, Wheat, Banana crops and on Plant Protection techniques. His techniques go much beyond Jeevamrit application and reduce water consumption generally by half and even more in some crops esp sugarcane. This is first-hand farmer corroborated information. Complete list of Palekar’s books in different languages and ordering information.

    Pls look out for this wind mill this may help you reducing the running cost of generator



Kirloskar have an AC drive called Jalverter, Basically this is meant for Solar, for even if you dont have panels you can use a DC generator. This will bring down the Generator requirements. In future you can just add solar panels and make it maintenance free.

Please reply to the post if further details required. I will be happy to help.


Hi Viktree,

Can you please post some reference on this topic like links etc…


Dear Viktree,

How does it help bring down the generator requirement? by means of slow start (less starting current)?

Also would be nice if you can give further details like price, availability etc (prasad dot mahesh at gmail dot com, in case of commercial info)