Using Technology to Build Affordable Business Intelligence for the Solar Water Pump Market

This study aimed to further innovation in East Africa's solar water pump market by developing and testing the viability of a toolkit that leverages remote sensing to generate affordable business intelligence for the nascent solar water pump market.

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This report was developed by RTLAB in collaboration with CLASP on behalf of Efficiency for Access.

Solar water pumps can be highly profitable investments in dry or variable climates with abundant solar radiation, for example, in Sub-Saharan Africa. For households in these regions, solar water pumping offers numerous economic and social benefits, including:

  • Increasing crop yields
  • Providing a more predictable source of disposable income
  • Building resilience to droughts
  • Supporting farmers to better adapt to the effects of climate change

However, barriers such as inadequate market intelligence hinder the technology’s growth and increased impact despite the above benefits. This productivity model seeks to solve the information gap in sub-Saharan Africa by providing market actors with actionable insights to improve farmers’ productivity, enhance the allocation of PUE appliances and enhance food security at the national and sub-national levels.

Key applications of the data available from remote sensing and crop simulations in the report include:

  • Identifying locations where a subsidy for an asset such as a solar water pump would be most effective in raising farm incomes and finding areas most vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters.​
  • Improving risk assessments and reduce the cost of credit scoring based on the estimated yield and cash flows​
  • Developing customized offerings for farmers, including bundling products with extension services and sustainable irrigation equipment.​
  • Impact evaluation on yield improvement and new farming practices such as crop rotation/intercropping.

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