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Water from the Sun - How a Solar Irrigation System Supplies Vital Irrigation to Small Farmers in Nepal

by Christin VanZant last modified Oct 10, 2017 07:26 PM
Contributors: Chris Warren
Things began to change for Gurung’s village two years ago when it started working with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Knowledge-based Integrated Sustainable Agriculture and Nutrition (KISAN) project. KISAN field staff helped Gurung and other smallholder farmers make the transition from subsistence to commercial vegetable farming by helping implement new techniques and technologies – including the use of plastic houses and raised beds – that replaced less effective traditional cultivation practices.

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The answer to the challenge of ensuring steady access to water was found by looking upwards towards the sun. Gurung says a KISAN staffer told him that a solar-powered irrigation system would help transport 10,000 liters of water per day uphill from the nearby river to the fields where it was needed. Thanks to assistance from Winrock’s Clean Energy Group, technical hurdles like finding the best site to install solar panels was not a problem. The main challenge was coming up with the $5200 required to pay for the solar panels and the mounting system required to install them. “The problem of our installation of the solar pump was only money,” says Gurung.



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