This is a two week Overseas study visit Program on Utilization of Solar Energy for Rural Water Supply and Small Scale Irrigation. The study visits and field trips will be conducted in Thailand covering the Provinces in Central and Northern Thailand. The program will focus on practical demonstration of operating solar and wind water pumping systems through technical input sessions, project site visits, visits to the relevant organizations and communities using solar and hydro power, organizations promoting or financing solar power and other renewable and alternative energy projects
Background of this Study Visit
Rural water supply systems of Ethiopia are almost based on hand pumps and diesel systems which have obviously several shortcomings in different aspects. Diesel driven water pumping systems have high running and maintenance costs to the extent that beyond the bearing capacity of the rural people of the country due to fuel price escalation over time. Fuel prices analysis of the year 1990 to 2012 indicated that the average annual growth rate of diesel fuel price in Ethiopia is about 15%. The irrigation sector is also suffering with lack of appropriate technologies for water lifting purposes. Almost all of the rivers of the country run in valleys which needs pumping systems for irrigation purposes. As a result, only very few diversion irrigation systems were developed in all parts of the country to date. In similar manner, the rural people of the country cannot benefit from ground water even where good ground water potentials are there. In the areas where diesel generators have been used cannot be sustainable due to the fact that the running costs of diesel systems could not be economically viable as a result of fuel price escalating through time. Furthermore, in many parts of the country, the surface and ground water is highly affected by salinity. Most of the northern, western and Eastern parts of the country highly affected by salinity to the extent to beyond the level of limit both for domestic water supply and irrigation systems.
On the other hand, Ethiopia has immense potential of solar energy resources. The yearly average solar irradiance of the country ranges from 4.5 to 6.3 kwh/m2/day. This is an abundant resource, which is significantly more than the present and future energy demand of the country. The number of sunless days in every one year is very few and the daily variation in the intensity is very minimal in many parts of the country especially during dry seasons. Regardless of having considerable amount of natural resources, efforts have been made to exploit the resources for water pumping applications are insignificant. Most of the systems previously developed by NGOs are not more than two hundred units in number. Due to poor study and design works and lack of appropriate operation and maintenance services, most of the systems are not providing adequate services for the user community. To tackle the problem of poor implementation and maintenance works observed on the solar and wind water pumping systems so far developed by NGOs, the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity (MoWIE) has designed a pilot project known as ‘Solar and Wind Energy Rural Water Supply Project’ with the grant fund obtained from African Water Facility through African Development Bank. With this fund, 49 solar wind water pumping systems and 18 wind water pumping systems are under implementation and almost completed. The completed systems (46 solar water pumping and 4 wind water pumping systems) are providing service for the community. As it is observed during supervision of the sites installation, the user communities are very happy with the technologies.
Following such good outcomes observed in the implementation of the pilot project, the Ministry (MoWIE) has secured grant/funding from Norwegian Government for capacity building, and study and design works of replacing diesel driven water supply systems by solar and wind water pumping systems. Accordingly, abroad and local trainings have been given for Regional Bureaus and the Ministry Experts at different time and assigned the trained experts on the study and design works and supervision of the pilot project implementation in the Regional States. Under this the Regional Bureaus have conducted their studies of about 400 sites in their respective Regional States, and out of the 400 sites studied 42 systems have been selected for implementation with the grant/funding obtained from National CRGE as Fast Track Investment Project. However, to scale up the project, funding agencies like Green Climate Fund (GCF) and South Korean Government were approached and have shown their interests to fund the project. More other funding agencies could be also attracted if the projects get necessary support from Regional State’s Water, Mines and Energy Bureau decision makers and implemented in given project period. For this, raising awareness about the technology and commitment of Regional Bureau heads are highly critical. Therefore, an overseas study tour was planned to increase the awareness and uplift the knowledge of decision makers of the Regional Bureaus and project coordinators of MoWIE for wide utilization of solar water pumping technologies. Given the above background and in order to meet those expectations and needs, this overseas study program is aimed to expose the participants to wide range of solar energy technologies, solar pumping systems and their applications, their benefits to the rural household, and the experiences and lessons learned from management of similar projects in Thailand.
Internationally it has been recognized that among the renewable energy sources mainly solar energy technologies are the best solutions to supply water for all applications. Solar water pumping systems supply water without the need for any kind of fuel and has no extensive maintenance required as like other pumping systems. Thus the planned overseas study tour will give opportunities for Regional Bureaus to have good understanding of:
- solar water pumping systems of different sizes used for drinking water scheme, its operation and financial management;
- application of solar systems in different scales (from household to large farm or community), and their socio-economical and technical viability; and
- the application of solar systems to purify salt water or in desalinization and thereby apply in their regional states to solve salinity problem observed in water supply systems.
Objectives and Learning Outcomes
This overseas study tour is aimed to develop necessary awareness among high level decision makers of the Regional States with regard to economic and technical viability of solar water pumping technologies and herby create favorable conditions for wide utilization of the solar technologies at different levels in Ethiopia. The main objective of the overseas study tour is to raise knowledge and enrich the awareness of high officials of the Regional Water, Mines and Energy Bureaus of Ethiopia, and to further strengthen the capacity of Project Coordinators at the MoWIE through experience sharing sessions, field and project site visits, and visit to relevant organizations.
It is anticipated that after the completion of this study program the participants will have an insight of solar water pumping systems for domestic water supply and irrigation systems with an emphasis on bigger systems that have a capacity to serve not only rural areas but big cities and large irrigation farm lands. Furthermore, the participants may get good impression in solar desalinization technology which could be highly applicable in different parts of Ethiopia. Upon completion of this program, we expect that the participants will have full understanding on the following aspects:
- The participants will have good understanding about technical and socio-economic viability of the technologies so that they will be able to incorporate their knowledge and available options in their regular planning.
- The participants will have good understanding about different applications of solar and wind water pumping technologies (water supply, irrigation, desalinization, etc.,) and the current economic and technological scale of the technologies as compared to other water pumping technologies.
- From the field visits, the participants will have good understanding about the modularity of the solar technologies at different scales; small, medium and large water pumping systems using different technological options such as variable speed driver solar controllers for large water pumping systems.
- The participants will have good understanding about the management of the technologies (operation and maintenance, cost recovery, how to manage troubleshooting, other issues, etc.) from the practical experience of the study tour hosting country and international experiences. For this, operational manuals of the study tour of the host country will be accessed to adopt operational manual for Ethiopia, based on the local situations of the country.
- Participants will also able to learn and understand about the multicultural and society of Thailand.
Study Visit Program Outline
The study visit program will focus on practical demonstration of operating solar and wind water pumping systems through technical input sessions, project site visits, visits to the relevant organizations and communities using solar and hydro power, organizations promoting or financing solar power and other renewable and alternative energy projects. The overall content of this overseas study tour program will have 3 modules combining technical input sessions, study visits and field trips, and finally an integration and presentation session at the end.
Module A: Technical Inputs Sessions, which will cover not more than 20% of the program, in the form of lectures/seminars, case studies, exercise and role play games will be delivered on following aspects: (i) Technical and economic viability of Solar Water Pumping for community water supply and irrigation, (ii) Renewable energy policies and strategies with current global perspective of renewable energies, (iii) Clean Energy Technologies with an emphasis on Solar and Wind Energy Systems, (iv) Green Economy Development
Module B: Study Visits and Field Trips will be the major part of this program and about 75% of the program will fall under this. These will be conducted to relevant organizations and different sites in Thailand to learn and observe different technologies and approaches on solar and wind power projects covering water pumping, irrigation, water supply, solar house/home system etc. These will cover the following visits and aspects: (i) Energy Field of Study, AIT – educational and research on solar, wind and renewable energy projects through showcasing and experience sharing (ii) Department of Rural Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Thammasat University – educational and research on solar, wind and renewable energy projects through showcasing and experience sharing (iii) adiCET, Rajabhat University, Chiangmai - educational and research on solar, wind and renewable energy projects through showcasing and experience sharing (iv)Department of Alternative Energy Development (DEDE), Ministry of Energy - policies, strategies, funding or financing to solar, wind and renewable energy projects (v) NSTDA, Ministry of Science and Technology – specific office or unit working on solar power projects through showcasing and experience sharing (vi)Solar Energy Powered Irrigation and Water Supply Projects in Nakhon Sawan Province and Prachinburi Province (vii) Solar and Wind Powered Irrigation and Water Management Sites (Community Based and Participatory) in Chiangmai Provinces (viii) Companies/industries on solar energy equipment/products manufacturing and supply
Module C: An Integration and Presentation Session, which may cover 5% or less of the program, will be conducted at the end of the program. In this session the participants will be requested to prepare a presentation on lessons learnt, key learning points (KLP) and their future course of action that would bring changes to their organization as they play the role as leaders.