For the 50 million farmers around the world who live on less than $2 a day, it's a huge challenge to just grow the food needed to feed a family, let alone produce enough extra food to make a profit and break out of poverty. One thing that can help: irrigation. Having an automatic irrigation system, instead of pumping water by hand or lugging it from a local pond or river, dramatically improves productivity. But diesel pumps are expensive and polluting, electric pumps aren't an option for those living off the grid, and solar pumps are even more expensive than diesel. Or at least they were.
Paul Polak, who previously helped 17 million farmers get access to a low-cost, simple treadle pump, is now working with a team to design an affordable solar pump. By using a mirror to shine more sunlight onto a solar panel, the SunWater design can create more energy without requiring additional, expensive solar cells.
The team hopes to install a million pumps in India in the next 10 years. They're currently raising funds on Indiegogo to help manufacture and test the system.
Images courtesy of Paul Polak.