Our farm is located in an off grid area. Irony of things is that there is a huge factory at a stone’s throw away from the farm yet we are unable to get power to our farm. We left no stone unturned in our effort to work with the Govt offices to get a power line. It has been a long waiting time (4 years) with no end in sight yet. We were pulling along so far using diesel pump with the hope that power line would be set up soon (hate burning fossil fuels and the air, noise pollution). Though very expensive we kept on using the diesel pump since we could not see the plants dying.
However, things are at crossroads and we want to solve this problem once for all in a clean and environment friendly way. For this, I am planning to leverage solar energy to power the pumps.
Side note to new entrants/aspirants to farming
For people planning to start farming, please please learn about ground realities before taking the plunge. This is not to discourage you but to make you aware about the ground realities that you could encounter when you start farming. Wish you well in your plans but please do realize that paper calculations do not translate as is when rubber meets the road. Observe, learn, plan, adjust expectations … repeat this process again and again. You will be more prepared and the joy would be much more amplified without the frustrations.
We have about 1500 palm oil trees and are planting about 7 to 8 thousand drumstick plants (PKM1) in our farm (about 15 acres) and are running drip all over. Currently the watering is barely keeping the plants alive. Leaves are green and all however the growth is not where it should be. Shortage of water is effecting their growth and would show in the yield too for sure.There is no dearth of care and attention from our end except for the water.
I am told that palm oil trees need about 200 to 250 Litres of water per day (1500 trees)
Not sure about the exact water requirement for drumstick (about 8000)
Borewells and water table
One good thing is the water table seems to be pretty high. We have an open well that we pump water from and the water is available at hardly 15 to 20 feet (what an irony and sad state of affairs that we have water at that level but can’t bring it up to water our plants).
We have two borewells, we struck water at about 30 ft but they were dug all the way up to about 180 to 200 ft.
Given the above, we are considering installing a single solar set up that can power submersible pumps in the two borewells alternatively. Discharge from the pumps should be adequate to fill the water needs of all trees (I do not want them to starve even one bit any more). System should power the pumps to draw water and direct them through the drip system.
Info & guidance needed
I would love to hear the experiences of fellow members who have installed/observed solar power in farms.
What kind of infrastructure would be required to meet our needs?
What would the solar equipment consist of?
Did you have solar tracking as part of your set up?
What kind of pumps should we install and at what wattage (3hp or 5hp)?
How does the system perform?
Typically how long does the system power up the pumps (start time and end time on a given day)?
What are the discharge rates at varying specifications?
What is the maintenance involved?
What kind of warranties are provided?
How much do such systems cost?
Are there are any kind of subsidies?
What are the available models of financing for this?
Do banks provide low interest loans for this?
Any recommendations on good vendors for this?
Close to Visakhapatnam.
Thank you in advance and look forward to hear from you.