Toolbox on Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS): Information and Tools for Advising on Solar Water Pumping and Irrigation

GIZ/Jörg Böthling
Published: 01 February 2021
Last edited: 31 May 2021
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Summary

Solar pumps have become an economical, technically and environmentally viable alternative to conventional pumping systems powered by engines run on fossil fuels (diesel, petrol, gas) or electricity from the grid, even in the rural areas with limited or no electricity supply.

 

The Toolbox on SPIS is designed to enable advisors, service providers and practitioners in the field of solar irrigation to provide broad hands-on guidance to end-users, policymakers and financiers. The holistic set of practical knowledge products, that the Toolbox provides, allow the end users to consider the SPIS specific characteristics and minimize the risks related to system efficiency, financial viability and the unsustainable use of water.

 

The Toolbox comprises informative modules supplemented with user-friendly software tools (calculations sheets, checklists, guidelines) which support users in budgeting, sizing and designing a solar-powered irrigation system. The tools are available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic.

Classifications

Region
Central America
East and South Africa
North Africa
South America
South Asia
Southeast Asia
West Asia, Middle East
West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Global
Local
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Cropland
Orchard
Theme
Adaptation
Agriculture
Food security
Mitigation
Renewable energies
Sustainable livelihoods
Water provision and management
Challenges
Desertification
Drought
Erratic rainfall
Shift of seasons
Vector and water borne diseases
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Infrastructure development
Physical resource extraction
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Lack of infrastructure
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy
SDG 9 – Industry, innovation and infrastructure
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Sendai Framework
Target 1: Reduce global disaster mortality by 2030
Target 2: Reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030
Target 3: Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP by 2030
Target 4: Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Direct engagement with associations
Indirect through consumers
Indirect through financial institutions

Location

Kenya | East Africa, West Africa, MENA Region, South and South East Asia, Central and South America

Challenges

The lack of information on solar irrigation and its relatively high investment costs hinder the uptake of the technology. The knowledge on the potential, limitations and risks of the SPIS among extension officers, suppliers, policy makers, financing institutions and other stakeholders needs to be extended. Thus, farmers will have the access to the sound information to take informed decisions and maintain a SPIS in a sustainable way. The Toolbox provides a holistic approach through which the SPIS advisors can guide their clients.

 

The SPIS Toolbox improves farmers’, advisors’ and system installers’ capacity to sustainably manage water resources in a SPIS. While the access to information on the SPIS, contributes to a wider adoption of the technology and reduced emissions through the use of solar energy instead of fossil fuels to power the pumps.

 

The Toolbox informs decision-making agencies about the financial option more suitable for farmer needs, so that farmers could access finance for the SPIS.

Beneficiaries

The Toolbox is designed to enable advisors, service providers and practitioners in the field of solar irrigation to consult end-users, particularly smallholder farmers and cooperatives.

How do the building blocks interact?

It is important to design the SPIS in a way that farmers needs and site specific conditions (their environmental, agronomic and technical aspects) are addressed. This allows to optimize the potential of the technology to avoid negative ecological and economic impacts. The Toolbox fills the knowledge gap by informing extension officers, suppliers, policy makers, financing institutions and other stakeholders on the potential, limitations and risks of Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS). The Toolbox includes informative modules supplemented with user-friendly software tools (calculations sheets, checklists, guidelines) that provide a holistic set of practical knowledge materials through which SPIS advisors can guide their clients towards a financially and environmentally sound choice that helps to save water, achieve higher productivity per unit of water consumed while providing water for the environment.

Impacts

The lack of information on solar irrigation and their relatively high investment costs are the major hindrances for the uptake of the technology. The knowledge on the potential, limitations and risks of Solar Powered Irrigation Systems (SPIS) is incomplete among extension officers, suppliers, policy makers, financing institutions and other stakeholders. As a result, farmers as a major end-user group struggle to get sound information in order to take informed decisions and maintain a SPIS in a sustainable way.

 

The Toolbox fills the knowledge gap by providing a holistic set of practical knowledge materials through which SPIS advisors can guide their clients towards a financially and environmentally sound choice. Decisions informed by the Toolbox use allow to avoid negative ecological and economic impacts by optimizing the SPIS to farmers needs and site-specific environmental and agronomic conditions including technical aspects. GIZ has trained more than 500 stakeholders, decision makers and advisors all around the world so far.

 

The Toolbox consists of 10 modules and 16 tools which support users in budgeting, sizing and designing a solar-powered irrigation system. With the Toolbox, the end users save water and achieve higher productivity per unit of water consumed while providing water for the environment. This leads to improved food security, water management and an increase in farmers’ income.

Story

GIZ/ Jörg Böthling

Since 2015, the Toolbox has grown from being a simple Excel-Tool to a comprehensive learning experience available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. It features tried and tested training modules, an e-learning course, online instruction videos and a pool of trainers who themselves were trained by the Powering Agriculture team. This way, the Toolbox offers different avenues of learning.

 

From the beginning, the idea was to provide trainings as part of a project or broader curricula. The Toolbox has been integrated into the training curricula of several organisations. As interest in the Toolbox grew, it became clear that a more systematic and sustainable trainer network was needed. The first step towards this was a collaboration with Women in Sustainable Energy and Entrepreneurship (WISEe) in Kenya.

 

Like in so many other countries, the uptake of renewable energy in Kenya is hindered by inadequate technical support to the rural households. In Kenya, the few qualified solar PV practitioners can primarily be found in big urban centres. Moreover, there are few female technicians. To address this gap, WISEe trained women on basic technical photovoltaics skills, empowering them to educate others, developing entrepreneur skills to set up their own businesses, and making them champions of solar technologies.

 

“Capacity development is key, because it will ensure that information on solar-powered irrigation trickles down to practitioners and end users rather than remaining in the domain of equipment manufacturers, suppliers and experts,” mentions Jacinta Gatwiri, one of the women trained by WISE.

 

After a five-day Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop, five women were invited to contribute to and lead the SPIS training workshops. The WISEe trainers can now offer their newly acquired skills as a service to interested organisations. The fact that WISEe was conceptualised and is managed by women to empower women in a largely male-dominated sector makes it a catalyst for change.

 

Jacinta Gatwiri and her colleagues have by now led multiple trainings on solar-powered irrigation in Kenya and other countries for both GIZ and FAO. “I enjoyed the experience of using flexible teaching methods, and the fact that there was room for trainees to suggest modifications to suit their local needs based on their experiences in the field,” recalls the chairperson of WISEe. Building capacity at the local level has the potential for enhancing collaboration and networking among those trained.

Contributed by

Lilia Maximova Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Other contributors

BMZ, GIZ, EU, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sida, USAID