Somaliland farms currently face a double threat – increasing water scarcity due to climate change and high energy costs. Irrigated farms account for a small share of cultivated land in Somaliland. As food demand rises and rain-fed agriculture becomes increasingly unviable, crop irrigation systems are becoming more necessary.
Through this PREO-funded project, ClearSky Power (CSP) aims to install photovoltaic powered drip irrigation (PVDI) systems at farms in Somaliland. CSP will partner with local banks to finance the purchase of the PVDI systems – an arrangement through which 10 local farmers will receive 2-year-loans to cover the up-front cost for equipment and labour to CSP. During the loan repayment period, CSP will be contracted by the lender to provide labour and maintenance for the PVDI systems, thereby reducing risk of technical problems and promoting timely repayment by the farmer. Once full payment of the loan is complete, ownership will be transferred to the farmer and CSP will offer an ongoing service and maintenance contract directly with each farmer.
The project will demonstrate the viability of solar irrigation for the farming community that is currently burdened by costly power or no power at all, and will promote a financing model for farmers seeking to invest in their own businesses. The PVDI systems will be used with the aim of reducing energy costs, increasing farm productivity, and improving water use. The successful completion of this PREO project will result in more than €1.4M savings in energy costs over 10 years relative to furrow irrigation for the 10 participating farms. Lastly, upon demonstrating the viability of this model, CSP aims to install PVDI on an additional 60 farms in the next 3 years.