Farming communities in Eritrea might have just caught a break with a new solar powered irrigation system courtesy of Visual Direct International, one of the frontrunners in energy management solutions.
Low production of oil, decreased imports, along with the high prices, all have been detrimental to the country’s farmlands as conventional pumps for irrigation require diesel, but thanks to the innovative team that installed the stationary array in the Mono Sun-Sub pumping system, fuel and electrical power are no longer necessary for water management on the Mereb River banks.
Now the surrounding communities have access to around 100,000 litres of water per day, travelling more than 228 metres from a 7.3 metre-deep well to a concrete surface reservoir.
Since the system does not run on fuel, it can be configured to automatically operate. This is done by using either a pressure kit, a built-in electronic control or the float switches. The Sun-Sub is wired to conserve water and keep the pump from wearing out, so once storage vessels have reached their maximum capacity, the system is programmed to turn off and then turn back on when the vessels start emptying out.
Although diesel irrigation pumps tend to have lower installation costs, Providence Trade explains that solar pumping systems are cost-effective in the long run as ongoing operation and maintenance costs are very low.
Farmers will be able to cut their costs while maintaining steady access to clean water, potentially opening them up to new opportunities for income generation by planting crops that rely heavily on hydration.
Shortages in diesel have been occurring all over Africa as evidenced by the constant blackouts, and are currently threatening countries in other regions, such as OPEC contender Brazil and oil-rich Iraq, which has recently welcomed an industrial oil and gas solutions provider as a new member of the Iraq British Business Council.
But trouble seems to be lurking these petroleum paradises as they fall below their expected output to meet their 2020 goal of 4.5 million bpd. Petrobas in Brazil cut production by 1.4 million bpd and major oil players in Iraq are under negotiations for more realistic targets.