Solar water pumps

1. Application: Solar field irrigation to improve harvesting

Small farmers depend on regular rain to irrigate their fields. If a rainy season is lower, this leads directly to crop losses. But even if water is available, the harvests often remain relatively low: farmers usually still irrigate the fields by hand with buckets and jugs. They usually draw the water from rivers and wells. According to current studies, if modern irrigation technology were used, the harvests could be up to 300 percent larger.

Affordability, however, remains a major obstacle to the spread of solar pumps for irrigation. A solar water pump of the entry-level class costs an average of 600 Euro.

Above: water pump and solar module; below: Sprinklers for field irrigation
Impressive: This farmer shows two oranges: aged on the left with traditional hand irrigation, the right with irrigation by a solar pump.

The foundation enables farmers to finance a solar water pump by means of a revolving fund.

The principle is simple:

  • The Solar Energy Foundation finances the costs of purchasing the solar pump and also offers training to make the best use of the solar pump.
  • Farmers pay their pumps in instalments, which are due after the annual harvests (depending on the cultivation 2-4).
  • As soon as a pump is paid off (after about 18-24 months), it will become the property of the farmer concerned.
  • The funds from the instalments will be used to import new pumps and allow more farmers to harvest better.

With this Revolving Fund, the Foundation assumes the pre-financing of the pump as well as the credit default risk. In addition, it and its local partners ensure that the decisive framework conditions for optimal operation are also in place:

  • Installation of the pump by local specialists
  • Training farmers in efficient use
  • On-site maintenance and service, including stock of spare parts.

“We used to have to water our fields by hand with cans. This was tedious, time-consuming and inefficient. Also, the assistants recruited for irrigation were not always reliable. Sometimes they just didn’t give enough water. With the solar pump, I use less water, can control irrigation better and at the same time have a much larger harvest.”

Farmer in Kenya

Efficient irrigation with sprinklers

2. Application: Water supply of a village

In many African villages, it is women and children who carry water daily in canisters from often distant water sources. Water is needed for the household, but also for watering your own garden.

The running time is often several hours per day. Women in particular suffer greatly, as this takes a lot of time in addition to childcare and household, especially since they usually also support their husbands in agriculture. Often they end up in the darkness on their way back, which is then also associated with dangers.

In order to make the situation easier for women and children and to improve the quality of life, we have installed water pumps in some solar villages that transport the water for several kilometers from the source to the village. This improves the daily lives of women and children and ensures a much more reliable water supply for the village.

Above: installation of the solar modules for the water pump;
right: the new water point in the village centre