Good Businesses 2016

Sunny-Side Up

Claro Energy is increasing the farmland under irrigation with its solar-powered pumps

Vishal Koul

The results of a year-long study of 160 farmers with access to cheap irrigation from solar-powered pump-sets in Bihar revealed that despite a poor monsoon, all the farmers grew paddy in their land during the Kharif season (monsoon) in 2013. More importantly, farmers with access to cheaper irrigation from solar pumps could water their crops more frequently managed to save money on irrigation, reaped higher yields of both paddy and wheat, and were able to plant rice in 90% of their land in a drought year. The findings by the International Food Policy Research Institute in its 2014 report not only ended up endorsing the virtues of solar energy but also came as a shot in the arm for Delhi-based start-up Claro Energy, whose solar-powered pump sets were the ones that the farmers had used.