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Solar energy powers pump system for irrigation solutions.


A farmer in Myanmar waters his crop with the help of a solar-powered irrigation pump.

A farmer in Myanmar waters his crop with the help of a solar-powered irrigation pump.

Every mouthful of food eaten by virtually every creature on Earth depends ultimately on the sun. But it can do much more than nurture the crops that feed us − and humans are starting to exploit this potential in striking new ways.

Farmers are now using solar energy to do far more than simply enable their crops to grow. Already it’s helping them to irrigate their fields and to clean their dairy equipment.

Only about 5 per cent of Africa’s cultivated land is irrigated, compared with Asia’s 41 per cent. Until recently, the other available methods have been manual irrigation, which is time-consuming and laborious, or petrol or diesel pumps, which are too expensive for many farmers and also add to greenhouse gas emissions.

But now there’s another way – solar-powered irrigation pumps. One pioneer of this technology is MNE Technology, based in China,manufacturing solar water pump system.

The pump’s solar panel directly converts solar energy into electrical power, which is transferred to a simple motor that rotates a flywheel, whose turning moves a piston up and down to draw water through the pump cylinder.

The pump, which can produce enough water to irrigate about half an acre of land per hour, works on sunny and cloudy days, in the early morning and late into the evening – and is easily transportable.

The solar panels provide the pump’s power directly without the need for batteries.Water is pumped into a raised storage tank by day, and all the farmer needs to do in the evening is to open a valve on the tank so that the water flows down through a filtration system and onto crop root zones via drip irrigation tape.

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