Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Mitsubishi Electric's Solar-powered Irrigation System - Relief for Indian Farmers

Published: Jan 28, 2019 06:29:00 AM IST
Updated: Feb 7, 2019 01:29:44 PM IST

Mitsubishi Electric's Solar-powered Irrigation System - Relief for Indian Farmers

Today, farm irrigation in India relies largely on conventional technologies, which in turn, use traditional sources of energy, predominantly thermal power. However, the supply of electricity generated by this source is irregular in the rural areas. A popular alternative, the use of diesel pumps, is expensive. In fact, current statistics show that 18 million pumps are connected to the grid power while 7 million others run on diesel. As a result, the two most common options for energy that drive irrigation activities are not economically efficient, especially for farmers with limited resources.  

Fortunately, all this is expected to change by 2020-21, as a minimum of 1 million solar driven water pumps will be functioning across the country, for irrigation and drinking purposes.

Benefits of Solar Pumps
Increasing access to solar energy has impacted almost every sphere of life in rural India. Farmers are the biggest beneficiaries of this technology because it has resulted in improved irrigation facilities. Also, solar powered irrigation is environmentally friendly with less potential health hazards, since it is associated with substantially lower carbon emissions.

To promote green energy, the Government of India offers a subsidy for solar technologies and has made sincere efforts to reduce the cost of solar panels. Now, with reduced cost, solar powered irrigation is becoming a viable option for both large and small-scale farmers.

Additionally, Mitsubishi Electric has developed a solar power operated Pump Controller, which converts DC power to drive the AC induction motor of a water pump and control its functioning. Its current offerings, the E12 series of drives, are more efficient, compact, and easy to maintain. These models have simple operational functions and built-in application-specific dedicated features. The operation capacity of these pump controllers (the FR-D 700 & FR-E 700 series) range from 3hp to 10hp.  Mitsubishi Electric also offers operation capacity of up to 60 hp with its FR- A800 series of drives.

With an ability to work on solar and grid supply, these controllers have advanced built-in features including MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking)/ optimized output frequency control, automatic restart functions, dry-run detection, flow rate monitor and remote monitoring functions. The dry-run detection function helps prevent the motor from rotating in the event of inadequate water flow or when there is a blockage in the pump. It also comes with a power failure stop function which reduces the DC bus minimum voltage to avoid under voltage tripping and to maximise output delivery during the day. The automatic operation function enables VFDs to operate automatically without manual intervention. Through the flow rate monitor, it is possible to monitor flow rate via an operation panel with suitable parameter settings or modbus communication.

Welcome Sunny Days Ahead
Mitsubishi Electric’s solar pump controllers are manufactured in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and are characterized with the most advanced innovations in the industry. They are produced in state-of-the-art manufacturing units and are compliant with all major quality standards. Besides, to deliver effective pumping outputs over larger periods, Mitsubishi Electric solar pump controllers are easy to install, need low maintenance, and come with better MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) ranges. Built with advanced technologies, these reliable machines enable monitoring of various irrigation parameters through remote and supervisory intelligent control systems. The most attractive feature of Mitsubishi Electric’s latest range of solar pump controllers is that they are based on the concept of Internet of Things (IoT) and can be controlled through smartphones.
A pioneer in solar energy and the global market leader, Mitsubishi Electric works with cutting-edge technologies to manufacture solar pump controllers which are economically viable for irrigation purposes. One of the many ways in which solar electricity benefits our daily lives is by pumping water and providing water for irrigation among others. These solar powered pumps are the perfect solution to any irrigation woes, due to which farmers bear a great loss in agriculture. Deploying these solar powered pumps will greatly contribute to reducing air pollution.

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