In urban areas, solar panels are common sights in residences, commercial buildings or factories. However, in rural areas, many farmers who require electricity for doing their day-to-day work are reluctant to install them.
Placing them in the field attracts the attention of miscreants, which leads to the panels being stolen or damaged. This issue was identified by Pradeep Kumar (35), a resident of Petwar village in Hisar, Haryana, who was running a solar panel installation business.
“After graduating Class 12, I decided to join my family business of farming instead of pursuing further education. But in 2009, I attended a six-month course offered by the government regarding solar panels and launched a business that provides panel installations,” Pradeep tells The Better India.
Generate electricity anywhere
His first customers were farmers in his village who installed the panels in the fields to power their water pumps for irrigation. But within a few months, the panels were stolen or broken. Not only did many farmers demand compensation from Pradeep, but this also prevented others from opting for the installation.
So in 2015 Pradeep approached some mechanics in his locality and began brainstorming ideas to prevent the panels from being damaged or stolen. The only solution he could think of was moving the solar panels regularly back and forth from the field to the farmer’s home.
“However, the panels are heavy and could be easily damaged. So I decided to make solar panels on wheels. The panels are attached to a trolley which can be mounted to a farmer’s tractor and moved to and from the fields,” says Pradeep.
With the help of the mechanics, he began designing the trolley using metal. At first, he faced a few challenges while trying to perfect the operating mechanism of the trolley. Over four years, Pradeep made two imperfect prototypes.
In 2019, he finalised his third prototype, which was a success and began selling them through his company — TG Solar pumps.
“The devices come in two sizes and carry solar panels which provide electricity of 2 HP and 10 HP. The trolley can be mounted to the back of a tractor and has sturdy wheels which allow it to move over uneven surfaces,” says Pradeep, adding that the size of the trolley can be customised according to the user’s requirements.
Benefitting 2000 farmers
The trolley not only allows farmers to generate electricity anywhere but also allows them to earn additional income.
Haradwari, a farmer in Khaliyapur village in Uttar Pradesh, came across Pradeep’s solar trolley through a YouTube video. He decided to purchase the device because earlier he had to carry a motor to pump water into his fields every day.
This method was very expensive for him because he had to purchase diesel regularly.
He says, “I purchased a trolley that holds 10 panels and generates 3 HP of energy. Apart from using it for irrigating my crops without fear of being stolen, at home, my family uses it to run appliances. Recently, we also started a business of grinding atta (flour) to generate extra income. The machines to grind the wheat are powered by electricity from the solar panel on trolleys.”
Apart from selling the Trolley Solar Panels through word of mouth, Pradeep also did online marketing through his website and displayed the device at exhibitions. To date, he has delivered over 2,000 trolleys to farmers in India and also provides one year of free service.
The starting price for their devices is from Rs 48,000, depending on the user’s customisation.
Currently, Pradeep is working on developing a trolley that can be pulled by a bike, which can be beneficial for farmers who do not own tractors.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)