Particularly in India, many small-scale farmers work in areas where the electric grid is unreliable or nonexistent. They need to pump water from the ground to irrigate their fields and the ubiquitous diesel pump is the most common choice. The machines are initially inexpensive, but the rising cost of fuel and negative side effects like air and water pollution make these pumps costly and threatening to farmers’ fragile livelihoods in the long run.
A renewable energy powered pump is a logical solution: its power source is free or low-cost and greenhouse gas emissions are minimal. But the adoption of such pumps both in India and elsewhere remains low. There is currently no pump available on the market that fully meets the needs of the Indian small farmer, with an unsubsidized price low enough to compete with the diesel pumps and be adopted widely.