Man touching a solar cell in Ethiopia
Africa’s demand for energy is expected to increase by 80% through 2030. Solar-powered irrigation has great potential for small scale farmers.
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Green People´s Energy ‒ enabling, expanding and securing the supply of sustainable energy in rural Africa

In the midst of the current political and health crisis in Ethiopia, a market study is underway to shed light on the situation and progress of solar irrigation in the country.

07. Aug 2020

Stimulating solar irrigation is an effective climate change mitigation and green growth strategy. It provides opportunities for small-scale private farmers to reduce out-of-pocket production costs and enables the usage of groundwater that is too deep to be accessed by fuel-powered suction pumps. In Ethiopia, shallow groundwater has a large potential for use in irrigation, and solar-powered pumps could play an important role in making this resource available for household and small-scale irrigation purposes.

This is what the Green People's Energy (GBE) initiative believes and the reasoning behind its local affiliate GBE Ethiopia’s market study on solar irrigation. The study will lay the groundwork for GBE’s efforts to promote the use of solar PV energy for enhancing social services and production.

Commissioned by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, GBE is an initiative aimed at improving the conditions for decentralised energy supply in selected sub-Saharan African countries – Benin, the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda and Zambia – with the participation of citizens and companies. In addition to country-specific measures, the initiative promotes renewable energy projects of common benefit across countries and strengthens partnerships between actors in Europe and Africa.

In Ethiopia, the initiative collaborates closely with the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) as well as with the Energising Development Ethiopia Project of GIZ and SNV. NIRAS-IP Consult and Practica Foundation are carrying out the study on behalf of GBE.

570 million

Number of people in sub-Saharan Africa who still do not have access to modern energy technologies and services

Gaining insights into the potential of solar irrigation

The study will assess the current supply of solar irrigation solutions as well as the current and future demand by different target groups in Ethiopia’s regional states of Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray. To this end, the research team plans to conduct interviews with farmers, technology suppliers and institutions in the four target regions and in Addis Ababa. Launched in June, it will focus on data collection in areas with existing solar irrigation systems in place.

The results will be used to produce cost benefit analyses, gain insights into the opportunities and limitations of solar irrigation, and identify high potential areas. The research team will develop recommendations for GBE on a strategy to sustainably and effectively promote and stimulate the solar irrigation market in Ethiopia.

Learn more about GBE at https://gruene-buergerenergie.org/en