Why the time is right for solar water pumps

Solar water pumps for small-scale agriculture are not something widely spoken about in mainstream media… well not yet. A recent report by Dalberg predicted that the total serviceable market for solar water pumps will grow by 12.3% year-on-year until 2030. By then the market could be reaching over 2.8 million farmers. With 500 million small-scale farmers globally… there remains huge potential for growth even after that.

So why is this growth happening now?

There are several key things converging to enable the growth of new solar water pump technologies:

1. Demand is increasing

We are all aware of the impact of climate change, but tropical small-scale farmers are on the front-line when it comes to feeling the impact of changing weather patterns causing unpredictable seasons, droughts and floods. Farmers who were previously able to wait for the reliable rains are now looking for ways to have some control over the water the administer to their crops.

A farmer in Kenya sets up her Futurepump solar pump on her farm

2. Prices are decreasing

Solar panel prices have fallen dramatically and continue to decrease.

  • 20 years ago, PV cost over $5 per Watt
  • 10 years ago it was costing just over $1 per Watt
  • Now in 2021 we see prices below $0.40 per Watt…
  • and there is a lot of research going into bringing this price down further still.

Putting that in context, the 120W panels with Futurepump solar pumps would have cost over $600 back in 2000, whereas now they are less than $50. That’s HUGE.

The business case for farmers to invest in solar water pumps is increasingly positive. The initial spend on a solar pump can often be recouped in around 1 – 2 years from petrol or diesel savings alone (especially as these costs continue to rise).

3. Rural marketing and distribution are becoming easier

Reaching off-grid and rural locations with products, let alone marketing used to be impossible. But not anymore. Smartphone ownership and Facebook usage in our target markets is exploding, and with this we have a means of reaching an almost limitless audience of more rural customers. Brands such as Jumia are making online shopping and doorstep delivery more common in many markets which are perfect for solar irrigation.

A Futurepump solar water pump on the back of a motorbike ready to be delivered to a customer

At Futurepump we think we are ideally positioned to take this opportunity and we want more people to be talking about solar pumps in small-scale agriculture.

If this has sparked your interest and you’d like to chat, please do contact us or reach out via LinkedIn. You can get to our individual LinkedIn profiles by clicking on pictures of the team on ‘About Us‘.