Sunculture, a company that offers solar energy services, has launched a new, internet-connected solar water pump system designed to help smallholder farmers boost productivity.
The pump can lift 7,000 litres of water per day and can pump from wells up to 100 metres deep (328 feet). This offers a substantial amount of value compared to higher priced systems that can lift water from only 10 metres in depth.
Using energy from the portable 120-watt solar panel and a battery power bank, the RainMaker can pump enough water to irrigate a one-acre farm, support livestock and fulfil household water needs such as drinking, cooking and cleaning.
“Solar-powered irrigation offers farmers an affordable alternative to the cost of diesel and electric irrigation technology, enabling them to substantially reduce energy costs and boost agricultural output,” said Samir Ibrahim, CEO of SunCulture.
He said Smart pump controller automatically optimises pump performance and battery charging based on cloud cover extending pumping by up to six hours on cloudy days.
The controller includes long range, low power LoRa connectivity and is compatible with wireless soil and weather sensors that enable farmers to irrigate automatically based on soil moisture and climate conditions.
RainMaker is available in Kenya for Sh50,000 (US$480) including the solar pump, controller, battery bank, portable solar panel and sprinkler. Delivery, installation, agronomy support and after- sales services are included in the price.
“The pump will soon be available on our pay-as-you-grow platform that will enable convenient instalment payments via mobile phone,” said Ibrahim. He said the pump is both low-maintenance and highly efficient, adding that it will boost farmers’ incomes.