A Kenya based company that distributes solar irrigation kits to local farmers could transform agriculture through solar powered irrigation – a cost-effective solution to low rainfall and spiking energy prices. GVEP is working with SunCulture to provide strategic advice on expansion into new markets.
SunCulture’s AgroSolar Irrigation Kit is a solar powered drip-irrigation system, designed to benefit those who live in arid and semi-arid areas. The SunCulture AgroSolar Irrigation Kit combines cost-effective solar pumping technology with a high-efficiency drip irrigation system which makes it cheaper and easier for farmers to grow fresh fruits and vegetables. The pump allows farmers to pull water from a variety of water sources, including groundwater and lakes, using solar power. Water is then pumped into a raised storage tank during the day, enabling irrigation to take place during the evening. SunCulture’s solar-powered drip irrigation systems deliver water directly to crop roots, resulting in yield gains of up to 300% and water savings of up to 80%.
“There is demand for this type of irrigation system because farmers are always looking for ways to minimise their costs. The largest cost incurred by farmers is the cost of fuel or electricity for their water pumps, with the typical farmer spending more than 20,000 shillings (USD$238) monthly on energy costs.” said Mr. Nichols, founder of SunCulture
GVEP’s Advisory Services started working with SunCulture in July 2013 with an aim to provide strategic advice and support focused on three key areas; end-user financing, capital raising and market feasibility studies. Working alongside SunCulture, GVEP is seeking to raise capital, support potential expansion to new markets and ensure end user financing is in place.
Molly Doyle, GVEP’s Advisory Services Manager, and her team believe this is an innovation they want to support. “It’s exciting to see how farming can benefit from solar technology in arid areas of Kenya. We believe that SunCulture can also offer solutions to urban and rural populations in other parts of Kenya. We are working together with the SunCulture team to secure further resources to expand their operations within Africa”, said Molly.
A feasibility study and technical pilot for their launch into the Kenya market was completed in May 2013, and since then there has been a steady increase in sales. They are currently based in Nairobi and plan to establish two additional offices in Eastern and Western parts of Kenya by the end of the year.
GVEP’s Advisory Services are focused on supporting medium-sized energy access businesses. The team actively seeks out companies it believes have potential for growth and scale, and works with those companies in a variety of customised engagements.
Original article by Meghan Smith see here