Solar Water Pumps Solarizing the Agriculture Sector of Pakistan

Solar Water Pump

According to the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2015-2016, the economically robust sector of Pakistan i.e. the agriculture sector was in shambles for the year 2015-2016. Negative growth of 0.19% was observed for the agriculture industry, which is ironic since the projected growth for agriculture sector was 3.9% for the FY of 2015-16. The negative growth in the agricultural sector resulted in an overall decline of the GDP by 0.5%.

The total geographical area of Pakistan is 79.6 million hectares. About 27% of the area is currently under cultivation. Of this area, 80% is irrigated through artificially, i.e., not through rainwater. Of the total cultivated area, about 82% or around 17.58 million hectares is irrigated artificially, while crop production in the remaining 3.96 million hectares depends on upon rainfall, for most of the part.

Around 1.2 million irrigation pumps have so far been installed in Pakistan. Amongst these 362,626 are installed in areas with a groundwater table of 30 feet or less, which makes them ideal for conversion to solar pumping. The productivity of agriculture sector is dependent on the consistent supply of water. High cost and frequent shortages of fuel are the usual impediments to the smooth working and functioning of water extraction by tube wells. Since 90% of these pumps use diesel directly in diesel pumps, converting the pumps on the solar system will result in 27% savings in diesel and fuel consumption for irrigation pumping.

Moreover, the implementation of solar tube wells means an uninterrupted supply of water; the results of which appear in the form of increased production/yield. This solution is cost-effective too as it only involves one time/initial cost after which the source of energy i.e. the sun will not cost you a dime. With a payback period of fewer than three years, solar water pumping is the “best fit” for all irrigation needs.


Working of Solar Water Pumps:

A typical solar water pumping system consists of three components:

  • Solar cells
  • Inverter
  • Pump

Solar cells are made of thin sheets of silicon or another semiconductor which capture the sun’s rays to convert them to direct current electricity. Through wiring, the DC power goes to the controller where it is converted into AC electricity and is further transmitted to the pump. The pump utilizes this electricity to bring the underground water to the surface, which is then distributed according to the configuration of the irrigation system.

Gains of Solar Water Pumps:

Solar water pumps are an excellent investment, and their benefits appear in the following way:

  • Zero operational cost and minimal maintenance cost
  • Environment-friendly mechanism; no noise pollution and zero emissions of carbon dioxide
  • High reliability and maximum durability
  • Energy independence
  • No requirement of fuel
  • Irrigation is made possible even on difficult terrains where conventional system of irrigation is not accessible
About the author