Solar powered pumps will replace diesel-fuelled ones. (Photo: iStock)
Solar powered pumps will replace diesel-fuelled ones. (Photo: iStock)

ISA’s tender for solar water pumps pulls down prices by half

  • EESL, which deployed the exercise, lowered the cost of solar-powered pumps to 60,000/hp from 1 lakh/hp
  • India and France are front-ending attempts to set up ISA, which has become India’s calling card on climate change

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) has achieved global disruption by bringing down the cost of solar-powered agricultural pumps by half, according to three people aware of the development.

India’s state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) conducted the largest global price discovery exercise by aggregating the demand from 22 ISA member nations, in a potential order valued at $2.7 billion.

This brought down the price of solar-powered agricultural pumps by 50,000 to 60,000 per horsepower (hp) across categories from 1 lakh per hp at present.

The price discovered for 272,000 pumps will now be offered to all ISA member countries for acceptance and will serve as the reference point for such large global order.

It will also help replace diesel-fuelled pumps and aid these countries meet their commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that was adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.

This comes against the backdrop of the US’s withdrawal from the Paris climate deal and China’s attempts to co-opt countries into its ambitious One Belt One Road initiative, a programme to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects, including railways, ports and power grids, across Asia, Africa and Europe.

The five solar-powered agricultural pump manufacturers qualified to bid for the largest such global order in 150 categories are Denmark’s Grundfos Pumps and India’s Rotosol, Premier, Refex Energy, and Shakti Pumps.

India and France are front-ending attempts to set up ISA, which has become India’s calling card on climate change and is increasingly being viewed as a foreign policy tool. ISA has been termed as a “political project" by France.

“This is a big moment not only for ISA or India but also for global efforts towards providing access to water and to help fight climate change," said a senior Indian government official, requesting anonymity.

ISA has said that 24 member countries have submitted their off-grid and distributed solar energy needs valued at a total of $5.1 billion.

ISA, the first treaty-based international government organization headquartered in India, is also exploring to bring down the cost of solar photo-voltaic modules.

“This is a price discovery exercise. We have got five companies who have participated. Once finalized, ISA will communicate the decision to member countries who may place orders," said a person aware of the development.

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