Groundwater ha s emerged as the mainstay of irrigated agriculture in India. However, ineffective institutional arrangements for its management have resulted in both groundwater over-exploitation and wasteful use of energy. To address the dependence of groundwater use on energy, suggestions have been made to adopt solar-powered irrigation pumps. It is argued that solar pumps are not only economically unviable, but under the present policy context, their use would do little to reduce groundwater and energy use in Indian agriculture.