The Delhi government has obtained farmers' permission to build a solar power plant in nine villages.

An initiative to boost farmer incomes through the installation of solar plants on their farmland was launched in July 2018 by the government of Delhi, which is led by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). This initiative also aims to improve power generation in Delhi through solar rooftop plants.

Under the concept, it is estimated that six acres of land will be needed to build up a 1 MW [or 1000 kW] solar plant, which would be capable of generating more than 1.2 million units of electricity yearly and save the equivalent amount of smoke in air in Delhi.

Solar ground mounted

Nine villages in the north-western outskirts of Delhi have given their permission to the Delhi government to put up solar plants on 225 acres of farmland under a long-awaited initiative that promises to increase the capital's power production and help farmers earn a living.

"We have been granted permission to use 225 acres of farmland for solar power plants. Villages in Alipur, Lampur, and Narela, for example, are where the lands are located. Soon, bids will be solicited for the project, which has received the go-ahead. The solar ground mounted project will be launched this year, a government official said.

Mukhyamantri Kisan Aay Badhotri Yojana was introduced by Delhi's AAP government in July 2018 as a programme that would help farmers increase their incomes by installing solar plants on their farmland, which would also boost power generation in the city.

The biggest advantage is that due to the solar panels being positioned at a minimum height of 3.5 metres above ground using galvanised iron structure, farmers can continue cultivating after the power plants have been built and still utilise tractors and other agricultural machinery under the proposed plan.

Farmers would get a yearly payment of Rs. 1 lakh per acre, with a compounded annual rise of 6%. The plant's lifespan would be 25 years if permitted to continue. As a bonus, the farmers would also get 1,000 units of energy made by the plant each year from each acre they rent for the project.

However, the programme has yet to begin.

There are around 85,870 acres of farmland in Delhi, according to the Delhi government's statistical handbook of agriculture. According to an official who did not desire to be identified: "But much of the land is scattered and that turned out to be a huge difficulty for the project."

To put up a solar power plant with a capacity of 1 MW and generate more than 1.2 million units of electricity each year, the government estimates that a total of six acres will be required under the proposed plan.

When the government talked to farmers for nearly a year after the programme was introduced, they found out that there were some worries about it. "The most common question is whether solar panels will reduce yield or cause the land to lose fertility. Because of this, they anticipated that sunlight wouldn't reach the land," a government official stated.

An agricultural institute in Kirari, near Delhi's western outskirts, was selected by the government to host a project demonstration in January 2020. Although the government had received approval for 150 acres of land by then, the Covid-19 pandemic delayed the project.


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