Chitwan Solar Water Pumping Project

Organization Name
Energy Access
Proposed Investment
USD23,170 - Equity



Last Updated
Thu, 11/23/2017 - 10:04

SunFarmer, in collaboration with WinRock and Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood (RERL) has implemented 26 solar water pumping systems in Madi and Khaireni, Chitwan. The system size varies from 300 Watt to 600 and 750 Watt. The project aims to expand commercialization and adoption of solar photo-voltaic water pumping (PVWP) systems for irrigation, livestock watering, and community water supply by building private sector market for sales of PV water pumping system to agricultural producers. Three local Sana Kishan Co-operative bodies have been brought into the project.
What problem are you trying to solve? Who has this problem?
Most farmers do not have electricity. As a result, they are unable to power water pumps to irrigate crops, particularly high value vegetables, for the 8 to 9 months of the year when there is no rain. USAID KISAN program reports that irrigation is the number one constraint for the non-utilization of the land during the post and pre-monsoon season and having reliable irrigation would increase crop production by upto 3 times. To mitigate for the losses caused by climate change the farmers are growing increasingly reliant on diesel pumps. Conventional diesel-powered water pumps are expensive, difficult to operate especially for women farmers, and require farmers to spend entire days procuring and transporting diesel. Moreover, fuel deliveries are unreliable in rural areas. Solar powered irrigation is a matured technology and it is cost competitive with the conventional diesel generators, without the negative environmental impacts. Nepal has 300 days of sunshine which is ideal to harness solar electricity to pump water. The pumped water can serve several end use applications such as irrigation, fish farms, poultry farms, drinking etc. Independent Solar Water Pumping Systems (SWPS) for irrigation presents itself as an alternative to rainwater, diesel / electric pumps but there are a few challenges to overcome. a) Technical gap: SWPS have not yet been demonstrated in different parts with various end uses, therefore, farmers are not aware of its benefits and versatility. b) Access to Finance: Comparatively high upfront cost of installing a SWPS has made farmers reluctant to invest in the technology. c) Reliable and effective after sales support: In the past, numerous solar systems have under-performed due to lack of proper maintenance. Thus, resulting in farmer's distrust in the technology. d) Awareness gap: Currently, few efforts have been made to demonstrate and train farmers about SWPSs.
Value Proposition
SunFarmer has come up with an innovative model, first in Nepal, that is aimed at creating much needed access to solar pumping services to the farmers of Nepal through innovation in technology, finance and long term service commitments. SunFarmer develops irrigation projects and carries out technical and financial assessments, with its partners and signs a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contract with the farmer(s). Here, Winrock and RERL has provided certain subsidy to encourage adoption of the technology by the user group. In this model, the user group pays a certain percentage upfront, and the remaining amount is financed by SunFarmer for a 2 year period. During the tenure period, SunFarmer will be responsible for operation and maintenance of the system. The individual farmer then pays a monthly fee to the local cooperative who is responsible for timely payment collection in return for certain incentives.
  • Provides modern energy access to 26 households.
  • Creates 78 new jobs during the lifetime on the project.
  • Improves the health conditions of 130 people.
  • Out of the total number of beneficiaries of the project, 75 are women.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 13.64 Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year.
  • It positively affects the environment by replacing the use of diesel pumps which not only negatively affects the environment but also the farmers, as fossil fuel is expensive.

Maturity Level
  • Prototyping and Validation
  • Commercial Operations
  • Growth and Expansion