Over the past 30 years I have invented and marketed a line of small, portable solar pumps that operate directly from the solar panels with no electronics or high tech components. Our main market in North America is to water cattle on remote pastures. I also discovered a nice market for environmental cleanup projects in the local oil industry, as described at: http://www.sunmotor.ca/PDF_Files/Sunmotor-article-in-Energy-Processing-Canada.pdf.
Pump Design (Keep it Simple)
My guiding design principle is that solar pumps should be simple enough to be assembled and repaired anywhere in the world with ordinary shop tools.
Sunmotor offers a wide range of solar pumps as shown in attached photos. Our pumps can be used with a float for surface water sources or without the float for shallow wells . The most useful model for this project will be an upgraded version of our SUB300 borehole pump, which can be modified to deliver higher flow at the low head required. This model will fit into a 100mm borehole and can deliver water from greater depths than the typical suction pumps presently in use in the region. We will designate the new pump as our model SUB500. My calculations show that with a carefully matched pump-end we can deliver ~30 m3/day at 10m total head, using a 572w solar array.
Selecting a pump-end rated to 75 LPM at 10m head and assuming our easily achievable 'wire to water' efficiency of 30%, I calculate that we require ~ 440w of power to achieve full capacity output. Operating for minimum of 5 hours/day will deliver 22,500 l/day. With manual tracking of the solar array we can get up to 7 hours of pumping per day, delivering ~ 30 cubic meters per day.
"Dear Mr. Eric Jensen
We have a suitable 4” bore well pump for 75 LPM @ 10 MTRS.
We have a dedicated plant for the manufacturing of submersible pump sets located at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. This plant, with state of the art manufacturing facility, producing energy efficient submersible pumps. The facility also has a CED (Cathodic Electro Deposition) Plant, where components are coated for better life and makes our products energy efficient.
MOHAN INAMDAR, DIVISIONAL MANAGER-IRRIGATION SECTOR,KIRLOSKAR BROTHERS LIMITED
Nov. 01 - To market new technology to farmers is never simple. They may see many potential benefits in your product but most of them won't buy it for several years. They want to watch it in operation and see how useful (and durable) it really is. Equally important, they want to see if spare parts and repairs are readily available when required. The secret to introducing your product is to make the first sale to a local innovator who is willing to try new ideas and who is respected by people in the community. Once the innovator is satisfied with performance of your product the neighbors are more likely to buy one too. This article describes such an innovator in Bihar state: http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/09/for-farmers-in-bihar-a-simple-solution-for-more-crops/?_r=2. The same article provides a lead on how to find similar innovators in other districts:
"Ms. Devi is one of the 103,028 small farmers across 9 districts of Bihar who have adopted a new system of seed treatment and planting that uses no chemical fertilizers or herbicide. The system has been so successful that it will be rolled out across all of Bihar’s 28 districts in the next year."
I suggest that this group offers a great opportunity to rapidly deploy solar pumps in Bihar. They are already proven innovators and they use water efficiently, so a smaller solar pump will be adequate for their farms. Perhaps we could partner somehow with the parent organization (S.C.I) to which they all belong and offer a micro-credit program to purchase our solar pumps.
Nov. 02 - We can learn a lot about the challenges of marketing new technology to small farmers by studying the organization IDE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Development_Enterprises). Their project in Bangladesh set up a manufacturing and marketing network that has sold over 1.5 million treadle irrigation pumps. IDE founder Paul Polak has recently suggested that the same marketing approach could be useful to deploy solar irrigation pumps in India.
Nov.03- I have uploaded a photo of our new M40 pump which can be used in wells with large enough diameter. The M40 utilizes the same powerful motor we designed for the SUB500 borehole pump. This will reduce overall cost by permitting greater volume production when Rotomag builds a batch of motors. I am also using many other common parts for the two pumps to make it easy for a local shop to assemble and market both pumps with a minimum of inventory.
Nov. 04- The key to rapid deployment of our solar pumps is to invite local shop owners in each community to become assemblers and marketers of the pumps and solar arrays. This must be structured as a profitable venture for the shop owners. They will likely be the same shops that build the trolleys to carry the solar equipment to the fields. Most shops will already have the basic tools needed to assemble a Sunmotor pump. All they require is training. Our assembly procedure includes two simple tests that are conducted on each pump to ensure that it is correctly assembled before being sold to the farmer. These tests also form a critical quality assurance policy because they provide a check on the procedures being followed. Other assembly tasks include a 'quick-connect' plug to make it easy to connect the pump to the solar modules.
Nov. 06 - One possible advantage of our submersible pumps which we have not mentioned to date is that they could be left in the borehole overnight. A simple cap with a lock would protect the pump from theft. This will save a lot of time in not having to pull the pump and hose out of the borehole each day and transport it to and from the farmer's home. (A similar strategy may work for a suction pump system to allow the pipe and foot-valve to remain in the borehole. This could greatly reduce the significant challenge of priming those systems each day).