Solar energy — saving for Africa Facts
Fig. Photovoltaic solar cells, which operates the system of drip irrigation. Kalale, Benin.
Robert Freling, executive director of the solar electricity SELF, located in Washington, showed that for irrigation use of solar energy will be much more economical than the use of internal combustion engines with diesel fuel. The experiment of combining drip irrigation and solar energy in 2007 to save the dry regions of the world began in the villages Freling Dunkassa Bessassi and in the north of the West African country of Benin.
Originally the project was planned to install solar panels in the country only for lighting. But as it turned out, for benintsev who suffer from malnutrition and disease in the first place is the solution to water shortages for efficient farming. It was decided to try the solar panels recharge as drip irrigation systems to extremely arid lands of Benin. Through a system of pipes and gravity mechanism, powered by environmentally friendly solar power, delivering water directly to the roots of plants, and it does not spray in the air.
In Bessassi water was supplied to the field from a local source in Dunkasse — from the underground tank. The more the sun was shining, the stronger the pump running, keeping the balance of moisture in the soil. Cost of the system was 25 million U.S. dollars, which is slightly more expensive than similar systems based on kerosene, gasoline or diesel fuel. However, it has paid off for more than 2 years. Data on ergonomics and environmental friendliness of the project were published in 2010, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
With the increase in fuel prices form an irrigation system that runs on environmentally friendly, and not very expensive solar energy, can be an excellent solution to the energy crisis in the world. By switching to solar panels, you can forget about the constant breaking of motor and pump parts in irrigation systems, and most importantly, get rid of air pollution soot and exhaust gases.
At the moment, SELF plans to expand the project to include a further 11 communities in Africa, where there are problems with the delivery of water and electricity. The leadership of the Foundation also has plans to use their solar panels in other non-agricultural areas, for example, to light homes, schools, clinics, Internet kiosks, streets in the market. Robert Freling considers his project a great solution for developing countries and hopes for its smooth distribution.