Published on February 1st, 2019 | by Jake Richardson0
DIY Solar Drip Irrigation System Conserves Water By Responding To Weather
February 1st, 2019 by Jake Richardson
Australia-based Dr. Bernie Omodei created a DIY solar-powered irrigation system to facilitate the automatic watering of plants. Measured irrigation allows the user to know how much water is going to be consumed during the watering process. Using solar power obviously is greener because it is a clean, renewable source of electricity. Combining it with measured irrigation has advantages, like conserving water, that Dr. Omodei explained in this interview with CleanTechnica.
Who is your customer base and target audience and how many of your systems are working in the field right now?
My customers are worldwide with the majority of customers in Australia. So far I have sold about 15 DIY Solar Drip Irrigation kits. Four kits have been sold to DryDev in Kenya and a kit has been sold to iDE in Mozambique. The customer base are mainly people willing to implement new technologies.
What advantages are there to using solar-powered drip irrigation?
- It is completely automatic.
- It is a smart irrigation controller – the irrigation is controlled by the prevailing weather conditions rather than a program.
- You can adjust the water usage by adjusting the control dripper.
- The irrigation starts at sunset when there is less evaporative losses.
- It can be used for both gravity feed and pressurized irrigation.
- The water usage are directly proportional to the net evaporation rate.
- If there is an unexpected heat wave, the irrigation will respond appropriately.
- When it rains, water enters the evaporator and delays the start of the next irrigation.
- The water usage is independent of the water supply pressure.
- Uses much less water without affecting the yield.
- It is simple and low tech and so there are fewer things to go wrong.
- You can leave your irrigation application unattended for weeks on end.
- The only consumables are sunlight and rainwater, both of which are free.
Are your systems typically running off-grid?
Yes. All the power required comes from a 20-watt solar panel. Power is needed to operate a 28-watt pump to lift the water from a farm pond (for example) to a header tank.
What size solar power systems typically are used with your technology?
A 20-watt solar panel will supply sufficient power for most small-scale applications. Addition solar panels may be added as required.
What is your roadmap for the next 3-5 years?
There is no road map. The future is unpredictable.
Is there a particular type of agriculture your systems are best suited for?