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A turn-key solar irrigation solution for farmers
by Shahan Ahmed
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Sep 16, 2015

The new Nano-Grid solution that has been introduced by Solaric, a renewable energy solution developer and provider, located in Bangladesh, may provide superior and more affordable services for farmers and entire communities as a whole. The company says, for around the same cost as the alternative stand- alone solar pump, the Nano-Grids not only provide power for irrigation pumps, but is also providing around the clock access to electricity for 50+ house-holds in a community.

Stand-alone irrigation pumps which are now being piloted in India to address the need for clean and affordable means to irrigation for rural farmers have yet to solve the issue of affordability. The new systems that are being tested are still too costly for rural farmers and have yet to overcome many barriers such as reducing the system cost, and limiting the need for government subsidy to make these pumps affordable for the farmers living in poor countries.

A new solution known as Nano-Grid, may make irrigation both efficient, affordable, and at the same time, completely remove the need for government aid. SOLARIC (Solar Intercontinental), the developers of this system, says, for the same cost of one solar pump, each Nano system provides not only irrigation support, but also provides an entire community with unrestricted 24 hour electricity access.

On average, rural farmers in India make about 95 USD per month and pay up to one dollar per litter of diesel to power the diesel generator based irrigation pumps they currently use. Poverty stricken countries are unable earn sufficient income due to the fact that they can not repay their loans, are exploited, have high cost of irrigation, and high cost of supplies.

Subsidy still is an issue as it is unreliable, costly, and a huge burden on government. For example, in Maharashta, India, Raju Shetty, MP, says, "Government not only have to provide financial support for the drip infrastructure and solar pump, but also sustain its maintenance, repair, and the cost to the government does not guarantee that it will yield financial gains or yield more crops".

The failing system in this Indian state is proof that these irrigation solar pumps are too costly and may not be a promising solution for all regions. Furthermore, many farmers still do not qualify for these subsidies, and even with subsidy, many still are unable to afford them; enabling farmers to operate independently, efficiently, and cost effectively without external intervention, is key.

The new Nano-Grid solution that has been introduced by Solaric, a renewable energy solution developer and provider, located in Bangladesh, may provide superior and more affordable services for farmers and entire communities as a whole. The company says, for around the same cost as the alternative stand- alone solar pump, the Nano-Grids not only provide power for irrigation pumps, but is also providing around the clock access to electricity for 50+ house-holds in a community.

These systems have already been established in many countries such as Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Malaysia and all have been running to expectations. The benefits Nano-Grid has over stand-alone solar irrigation pumps are countless as these systems are not restricted to providing power to just only one cause. These systems provide 24/7 around the clock energy for homes in a community and also is providing electricity for local shop owners, agricultural farms, and even poultry farms.

The average cost for the Solar irrigation pumps, including installation, is around eight to ten Thousand USD and the government is expected to subsidize over 60 percent of the total cost before farmers are expected to be able to afford them. This Comes with many hurdles, and many farmers still are unable to afford these systems or do not qualify for such assistance. Nano-Grid on the other hand, the total cost of this system is about the Same as one solar pump, but goes beyond just powering irrigation pumps.

For example, in an interview, a poultry farmer in Bangladesh, stated that he was Paying $25 on diesel gas to run his poultry farm; $25 dollars is a high price to pay in poverty Stricken countries such as Bangladesh. He stated, "Now that I am running my farm through Nano-Grid, I am only paying $10 dollars to light the entire farm for the entire month".

Many agricultural farmers are connected through the Nano-Grid and they are also seeing savings and more income because they no longer have to pay for diesel, worry about costly maintenance and breakdowns that diesel generators come with. While the alternative stand-alone solar pump still remain too costly, restricted to only irrigation support, and still require subsidy, for the same cost of one of these systems, Nano-Grids are powering entire communities with unrestricted around the clock electricity while catering to the needs of farmers as well.

The key advantage that attributes to the success of Nano-grid systems is that the total cost of the system is shared by the entire community which makes these systems affordable for any village and worth their investment; For just 2-5 dollars per month, every home is able to have around the clock access to electricity. Once the system is completely paid for, the town becomes the owner of the systems and the company handles all maintenance and repair needs for a small fee.

Unlike any other solar alternative on the market that is specialized for rural electrification, for the first time, the Nano-Grids technology has enabled users to power beyond just lights.

Until now, alternative solutions available for off-grid energy, have only catered to lighting, but Nano-Grid has finally enabled end-users to power televisions, computers, and other appliances they may require which is allowing them to live far more modern and enjoyable lives. Looking through a window of a rural home now, you will now see that they are living lives similar to those living in more urbanized areas that have connection to the government grid system.

Due to the lack of available technology that effectively and efficiently address the issues of providing affordable irrigation methods, farmers in poverty stricken countries are barely making any income as the cost of production is too high for them. Government and energy companies still do not have enough incentive to cover majority of the cost for systems such as the solar irrigation pumps as it has yet to show a promise of yielding more crops, bring financial returns, and the systems are just too costly.

Solaric says, "To enable communities to develop from one stage to the next, more is required on the innovation side that makes the technology more efficient, affordable, and adds more value to the lives of the community. Enabling them to operate independently without government aid has always been an issue, and Nano-Grids have addressed these issues. The systems have shown a track record of success as farmers are finally able to independently run their farms for far cheaper costs, and the benefits extend beyond to the community by providing access to electricity that both top and bottom of the pyramid users can afford.

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