SunFarmer Nepal Pvt. Ltd: 8.6 kWp Community Solar Water Pumping Project- Chhatiwan
SunFarmer Nepal, with support of Practical Action, Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihoods (RERL)/AEPC and Jagaran cooperative, aims to create much needed access to solar pumping irrigation services for a group of forty-three (43) farmers through innovation in technology, finance and long term service commitments. The model serves as a platform to bring together multiple stakeholders to accelerate the commercialization of solar-powered irrigation.
The 8.83 kWp solar powered irrigation infrastructure supplies 81,000 liters of water daily, irrigating over 40,000 square meters of land and serving 43 households. It is expected to increase their income by up to 300%.
Since solar water pumping is a new technology for these farmers, SunFarmer Nepal and team spent several weeks interacting with the community to show them the technology and ensure the project had full support from the community. Once the community approved the project and the team was satisfied with the credit checks, SunFarmer Nepal installed the solar energy system! In addition, Practical Action provided training on efficient water use and agricultural methods to maximize their benefit from the solar water pumping system.
What problem are you trying to solve? Who has this problem?
Irrigation has since long been contributing as a key input for farm production, household income and food security in Nepal. The Government of Nepal (GON) has been making continuous efforts for the development of the irrigation sector of the country over the past five decades. However, irrigation facility expansion through conventional methods is severely limited by topographical constraints.
In Nepal, there are many rain-fed upland farms (Tari) where surface irrigation system is not feasible as water sources are below the land level. In those places, farmers are compelled to do one crop farming only due to lack of year round irrigation. Due to low productivity, the farmers’ annual income is very low there. Use of water lifting pumps can ensure year-round irrigation resulting multi-crop production in such locations. However, the technologies are not being adopted at scale due to lack of adequate information on its cost and benefit.
The project is structured in a multi-stakeholder model where Practical Action and Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihoods (RERL)/AEPC provided subsidy, the community made a modest upfront payment and the remaining amount was financed by SunFarmer and the Cooperative for 5 years. A multiparty Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) agreement has been signed between the community, SunFarmer and Cooperative after which SunFarmer installed the system and will provide 5-year system performance guarantee. The community will pay cooperative, in monthly installments over a 5 year period at the rate specified in the PPA agreement making it affordable system. This model is sustainable and scalable long-term.
The team went through many steps to bring the project to life. First, Practical Action worked extensively with their network of local NGOs to identify potential sites. SunFarmer Nepal then conducted a site survey and prepared a detail technical report. Once the team was comfortable with the sites, SunFarmer Nepal partnered with local cooperatives to check the creditworthiness of local farmers. These cooperatives are important partners in the project; they are responsible for timely collection of monthly payments from the farmers!
Provides modern energy access to 43 households.
Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 17 Tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year.
Creates 1,161 new jobs during the lifetime on the project.
Improves the health conditions of 215 people.
Out of the total number of beneficiaries of the project, 100 are women.