RRE’s revolutionary commercial model of Solar Irrigation magically transformed the livelihood of farmers in Rangpur region by first ever commercial solar irrigation system. This project helps them to shift from single crop to three crops in a year and irrigating 20 Acres BORO paddy in last season followed by 50 Acres vegetable field irrigation.
Agriculture is one of the major driving forces in Bangladesh’s economic. Agriculture contributes 18.64% of its GDP, 48% of total labor force and 12% or export value. During peak cultivation season 120 million acres of rice field is irrigated by 1.33 Million different types of water pumps, among which 87% are diesel operated. Transportation, handling and maintenance of the generator in the remote area for irrigation is very expensive for the poor farmers. RRE’s revolutionary commercial model of Solar Irrigation magically transformed the livelihood of farmers in the remotest Rangpur area of Bangladesh. The first ever commercial solar irrigation system was installed at the remotest off-grid villages of Mamuderpara, Chengmari, Mithapukur in Rangpur region of Bangladesh. No modern irrigation facilities were available to help them grow crops round the year. This installed solar pump is supplying irrigation water to a farmer’s community comprising of 30 farmers. The successful introduction of the system helped farmers to shift from single crop to three crops in a year and irrigating 20 Acres BORO paddy in last season followed by 50 Acres vegetable field irrigation. Solar Array of 11.5 KWp with adjustable sun tracker system was set up on the aisle beside a lake that propels a 10HP solar submersible pump for irrigation. The panels utilize 8 hours of daily sunshine they receive with sun tracker to provide uninterrupted water supply.
The project is based on a base farmer group with land ownership in the villages of Rangpur region of Bangladesh. This farmer group is the basic beneficiary of the project.
Bangladesh is an energy starved country where its primary energy i.e. natural gas starts depleting rapidly. In this situation development of alternative solutions from renewable energy is highly essential. Moreover this technology is worth of earning carbon benefit since the schemes is completely emission free. The successful substitution of diesel based irrigation by solar will ensure energy security as well as help government to relieve from huge amount of subsidy burden. Solar irrigation systems involve minimum maintenance and servicing issues as they are designed for robust applications. There is a scope of saving 760 MW of electricity and 800 million liters of diesel, by adopting solar powered irrigation schemes if roll-out on large scale. With proper utilization of renewable forms of energy can create a win-win situation beneficial for – the end user, the community, and the environment.
Each project is a platform for agriculture input as fee for service model, primarily irrigation service and soil testing service and facilitating all other inputs to be rendered through external agencies as well as crop loans. Each project will have number of base beneficiary and they will get the irrigation as fixed clients and any additional/surplus water will be sold to adjacent lands.
1. Community management 2. Revenue collection 3. Limited time of irrigation
The project is now irrigating 20 Acres of rice fields, along with round the year irrigation solution for other cash crops optimizing irrigation cost for the farmer group for the lifetime. The farmers at the project are getting irrigation at the expense equivalent to current diesel run irrigation systems with payback within 8 years and the initial expenditure is going to be recovered within 5-7 years. This project saves nearly 26 ton carbon dioxide emission per year. Solar pumps also help in ground water conservation. Government has taken up initiative to roll out solar irrigation replacing diesel pumps. The already operational 10 projects of RRE have created much impact in addressing the irrigation constraint in agriculture and called for scale up in locality around the project area.
The project location used to produce single crop or two crops whereas they are growing 3 crops now, helping the soil regain nutrition by crop rotation practices. Multi crop production also improves livestock condition in the vicinity from additional vegetation. This project saves 19.6 MWh electricity per year.
Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Ltd. (Private sector)