The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s new “Solar Energy Saving Benefits and Risks – a global overview” report was presented at the International Conference on Solar Technologies for Small Scale Agriculture and Water Management, in Rome.
The report summarized the benefits of solar-powered irrigation systems for both large and small scale farming operations in developing countries. At the same time, the need for comprehensive management and regulation of such systems is also emphasized in order to avoid unsustainable water consumption.
The solar-powered irrigation system, which will also reduce agricultural-based costs and emissions, will open up sustainability for farmers. However, according to the report, innovative financing models play an important role for this system to become widespread.
Along with that, affordable solar-powered irrigation systems that offer viable solutions with water-energy-food linkage, can also provide a great opportunity for farmers to improve their economic welfare and food security.
As another benefit of solar energy irrigation systems, extra electricity production, which is not needed for irrigation, can be used elsewhere. Thus, farmers can produce energy that they need for their other equipment, or they can sell it to the regional grid.
Solar powered irrigation systems are highly strategic for efficient and frugal use of groundwater. Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America that are particularly low in irrigation rates can increase agricultural productivity with effective irrigation.
In addition to the use of solar-powered irrigation systems that will provide farms with efficiencies in all areas of activity, the report also recommends the use of control devices that can monitor water levels and pump speeds and remotely prevent excessive water consumption or use satellite thermal imaging data to determine water prices.
As one of the most remarkable points, the report also expresses that greenhouse gas emissions has been able to reduce by more than 95% compared to fossil fuel alternatives by strengthening irrigation systems in agricultural areas.