Solar Power as a 'Remunerative Crop' (SPaRC)India

Background 1 2 3 4

In India, solar energy constitutes just 1% of the energy mix, but the Government aims to increase this to around 10% by 2020 by adding 100,000 megawatts of solar energy generation capacity. Most of this additional capacity will come from megawatt power plants, but if farmers were able to set up solar panels, generate energy for on-farm needs such as irrigation, and sell the excess power back to the grid, it could rejuvenate the farm sector and augment the incomes of millions of farmers. The Solar Power As a Remunerative Crop (SPaRC) project aims to address this potential, and proposes 'growing solar power’ as a remunerative 'crop'.

SPaRC was established by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and is being scaled up with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). SPaRC offers farmers a guaranteed buy-back of the surplus solar power they produce, provided they are connected to the electricity grid. This guarantee allows farmers to invest in solar powered pumps, which reduce the use of carbon intensive diesel pumps on farms.

However, these pumps could add to the problem of groundwater depletion since solar energy use for pumping is considered to be free. Encouraging the sale of excess energy to the grid helps counteract this. SPaRC is being piloted in the state of Gujarat, India, which receives nearly 3,000 hours of sunlight each year.

Relationship to CSA

Solar energy reduces the amount of GHG emissions and overall dependence on fossil fuels. It is estimated that through the use of solar power in India´s groundwater economy, annual carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by nearly 6%. Using solar energy as a remunerative crop augments the incomes of farmers, improving resilience and livelihoods.

Impacts and lessons learned

If SPaRC is to become a success, a conducive institutional and policy environment is a precondition. Providing a purchase guarantee on solar energy and making farmer generated solar energy an integral part of the National Solar Mission could help achieve this. Adopting the cooperative model can also be an effective way to reduce transaction costs from many dispersed individual sellers.


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CCAFS Climate-Smart Agriculture 101

The basics

Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an integrative approach to address these interlinked challenges of food security and climate change, that explicitly aims for three objectives:

A. Sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development;

B. Adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and

C. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).

Entry points

Agriculture affects and is affected by climate change in a wide range of ways and there are numerous entry points for initiating CSA programmes or enhancing existing activities. Productivity, mitigation and adaptation actions can take place at different technological, organizational, institutional and political levels. To help you navigate these myriad entry points we have grouped them under three Thematic Areas: (i) CSA practices, (ii) CSA systems approaches, and (iii) Enabling environments for CSA. Each entry point is then described and analysed in terms of productivity, adoption and mitigation potential and is illustrated with cases studies, references and internet links for further information.

Develop a CSA plan

Planning for, implementing and monitoring CSA projects and programmes evolves around issues of understanding the context including identification of major problems/barriers and opportunities related to the focus of the programme; developing and prioritizing solutions and designing plans; implementation; and monitoring and evaluation. Most major development agencies have their own framework for project and programme formulation and management but CCAFS has developed a specific approach for planning, implementing and assessing CSA projects and programme called CSA plan. CSA plan was developed to provide a guide for operationalizing CSA planning, implementation and monitoring at scale. CSA plan consist of four major components: (1) Situation analysis; (2) Targeting and prioritizing; (3) Program support; and (4) Monitoring. evaluation and learning.


To meet the objectives of CSA, such as agricultural development, food security and climate change adaptation and mitigation, a number of potential funding sources are available. For instance, climate finance sources may be used to leverage agriculture finance and mainstream climate change into agricultural investments. This section offers an overview of potential sources of funding for activities in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) at national, regional and international levels and for a number of different potential ‘clients’ including governments, civil society, development organizations and others. Additionally, it includes options to search among a range of funding opportunities according to CSA focus area, sector and financing instrument.

Resource library

CSA Guide provides a short and concise introduction and overview of the multifaceted aspects of climate-smart agriculture. At the same time it offers links to references and key resources that allows for further investigations and understanding of specific topics of interest. In the resource library we have gathered all the references, key resources, terms and questions in one place for a quick overview and easy access that can be used as a part of or independently of the other sections of the website. The resource library is divided into six sections; (1) References – list all publications, links and blogs referred to on the website; (2) Tools – list all the CSA tools presented on the website; (3) Key terms – explains the most important and frequently used terms related to CSA; (4) Frequently asked questions (FAQ) – provides a rapid overview of the most common questions asked on climate-smart agriculture; (5) About – where you can find out more about the purpose and structure of, as well as on the organizations and authors behind the website; (6) Contact.

Case studies

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