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Agriculture Sunwater

Published on May 23rd, 2013 | by Important Media Cross-Post


Crowdfunding Solar Pumps For Low-Income Farmers

May 23rd, 2013 by  

There’s no denying it — there are tons of poor farmers around the world. It’s a wonder that those growing one of the essentials of life are often unable to make a decent living. So, naturally, any story about using solar power (one of the coolest… or hottest… things on the planet) to help low-income farmers is one that makes my heart warm. Throw in crowdfunding and it’s a grand slam, or hat trick, or pick your favorite sport metaphor. Thanks to Priti Ambani of CleanTechnica sister site Ecopreneurist for this find and article.


Paul Polak is an internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur who wants to eradicate poverty using business and technology. He is the author of the book Out of Poverty and founded International Development Enterprises, an NGO that ended poverty for 17 million people. Now, Paul and his team are working on empowering low-income farmers with reliable irrigation systems.


Did you know that there are a billion people in the world that make just $2 a day? The vast majority of the families who live this reality are farmers in the developing world with small plots of land. They make just enough to survive and have difficulty investing in labor-saving equipment.

To break out of the poverty cycle, poor farmers need to grow cash crops to increase their income. Cash crops are irrigation intensive and farmers need a reliable, low-cost water pumping system to grow the extra food they need to make a poverty-busting profit.

Irrigation systems are expensive and incur maintenance costs. In addition diesel or electric pumps are both expensive and unreliable. Electric pumps can alternatively be powered with solar energy, but current systems can cost $5,000 or more, which is way out of the reach of poor farmers.


Paul Polak is working with a team of experienced design, construction and solar professionals. They want to build a cost effective solar water pump and system that will help improve the lives of 50 million people in developing countries. The solar pump is the key component of a complete water-to-crops irrigation system that is being designed by leading experts in the fields of irrigation, systems engineering, and solar energy. Using a method proven by Paul Polak, the system will be sold to farmers in some of the poorest regions in the world, enabling the farmers themselves to break their poverty cycles.

The team has the designs, the prototypes, and the motivation. Now they are crowdfunding to build a production model to take to field tests – Read more about the project here support the efforts-

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