Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Payment plans key for photo voltaic water pumping in Sub-Saharan Africa – pv journal International


The urgency of the local weather disaster is felt throughout sub-Saharan Africa. As droughts and floods develop into extra frequent and extreme, crops fail and conventional rain-fed agriculture turns into extra unreliable.

Irrigation can maintain the important thing for farmers who wish to guarantee meals safety for his or her households and earn an revenue from their crops. However, solely 4% to six% of cultivated land in sub-Saharan Africa is at present irrigated, in keeping with the British suppose tank ODI. Irrigation is essentially concentrated within the extra developed African international locations and with giant industrial farmers.

When operated at scale, solar-powered irrigation methods have nice potential. They work for small farmers, who account for 80% of farms in sub-Saharan Africa, in keeping with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. But they may also exchange costly and polluting diesel pumps and may, if managed correctly, contribute to efforts to handle scarce water sources in the long run.

Battery choice

Drip irrigation can goal water the place it’s most wanted and battery vitality storage permits farmers to water crops throughout the evening, lowering evaporation loss. Farmers may use the methods to cost small gadgets similar to cellphones, enabling them to entry correct climate forecasts and agronomy recommendation in actual time.

With large-scale entry to irrigation we are going to see elevated productiveness and profitability of land all through sub-Saharan Africa, enabling farmers to maneuver past subsistence, combining their crops to promote to giant markets. market. A current article on Financial Times famous that Africa has 60% of the world’s obtainable land and, with a rising inhabitants, there may be work wanted to farm it. With assist round land tenure, seed choice, soil well being, fertilizers, entry to finance, and, particularly, water, Africa has the potential to not solely feed its personal inhabitants. however to export merchandise to assist world meals safety, the FT stated.

As I see it, there are three key challenges in deploying solar-powered irrigation pumps on the scale wanted to satisfy the wants of farmers and on the tempo demanded by the worsening local weather disaster.

Payment points

Basically, there may be the difficulty of affordability. Farmers ought to be capable of pay the upfront price of a solar-powered irrigation system and pay in the course of its use. Compared to the diesel-fueled irrigation pump that many farmers use immediately, the entire lifetime price of a photo voltaic powered irrigation system may be a lot decrease. We estimate that farmers can save 40% to 60% on irrigation prices.

As we have seen throughout the off-grid photo voltaic sector, adopting a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) method – or, in our case, pay-as-you-grow – has advantages to permit farmers to pay for his or her methods over time, as their revenue will increase as a result of higher yields.

The popularity of this mannequin has been tarnished, nonetheless, by way of sharp gross sales strategies designed to power clients to enroll in methods no matter affordability. To keep away from this, coaching is essential and it’s important to separate gross sales and credit score groups, align key efficiency indicators and compensation to make sure a balanced method between buyer acquisition and portfolio well being. It can be vital that gross sales brokers receives a commission their fee over time in order that they’re motivated to assist display screen potential shoppers.

Pump prices

It can be vital to construction fee plans in keeping with the client’s wants, utilizing totally different strategies to higher perceive their circumstances, together with ID verification and cross checking the credit score historical past of the potential buyer by means of the Credit Reference Bureau. We additionally use a proprietary credit-scoring algorithm.

Even with due diligence earlier than the sale, there may be at all times the danger that clients could also be left behind in funds. Dedicated relationship managers with superior coaching and enterprise intelligence are important in offering post-sales assist, monitoring buyer accounts, and offering private assist in the event that they spot any early indicators. of tension. As a final resort, having the technical functionality to get well the methods helps to create lending controls.

Appropriate fee plans are vital however so is conserving the price of photo voltaic pumps low for purchasers and, to this finish, SunCulture is pioneering the usage of carbon revenues. We are the primary photo voltaic water pump firm in Africa to obtain certification from the Washington-based sustainability requirements group Verra. SunCulture believes this route will develop into a extra established income for irrigation, nature-based options, and sector-wide local weather adaptation initiatives. For that shift to occur, somebody has to come back first.

Moving from affordability, upkeep is the subsequent key problem, particularly in distant and rural areas the place farms may be tough to succeed in and the supply of educated technicians is restricted. By managing the lifecycle of pumps from design by means of manufacturing, financing, set up, and upkeep, corporations can work with farmers to make sure that pumps can proceed to perform within the typically difficult native situations, occasionally.

Maintenance issues

Internet-of-things (IoT)-enabled expertise permits educated groups to watch pump efficiency and carry out upkeep remotely. This is complemented by strategically situated gross sales and repair facilities and a distributed workforce of area engineers that may rapidly reply to upkeep points, increase native capability and decrease downtime. for farmers who rely on irrigation for profitable harvests.

Again, solar-powered irrigation has a bonus over diesel pumps because the gasoline supply is ample and domestically obtainable. Fewer transferring components additionally make solar-powered irrigation methods much less liable to breakdowns than their diesel counterparts.

Finally, there may be the difficulty of attracting adequate finance to make sure that solar-powered irrigation companies could make a revenue, increase their portfolios, and increase into new jurisdictions. In the previous, this was a pinch level the place small off-grid vitality and irrigation corporations failed to draw adequate finance and subsequently went out of enterprise, with clients failing.

At SunCulture, we’re working to handle this by looking for adequate funding for our bold scale-up program that can place us nicely to develop and diversify our income streams throughout a number of international locations and a whole bunch of hundreds of consumers. In that gentle, we lately introduced the closing of an oversubscribed $27.5 million collection B funding spherical. SunCulture is lucky to have a wide range of new traders, together with Reed Hastings, InfraCo Africa Limited, Acumen Fund, Schmidt Family Foundation, and others.

The challenges are actual and sophisticated however we can’t afford to attend for the proper mannequin. Farmers want options immediately and we’re dedicated to delivering for them.

About the writer: Samir Ibrahim is the CEO and co-founder of SunCulture.

The views and opinions expressed on this article are these of the writer, and don’t essentially replicate these held by pv journal.

This content material is protected by copyright and will not be reused. If you wish to cooperate with us and wish to reuse a few of our content material, please contact: [email protected].

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here



Related Stories