Philippine Farmers Get Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems

The northern Philippines Laoag City government has turned over ten units of solar-powered irrigation systems to local farmers’ associations to help them irrigate their farmlands.

City agriculturist Sheila Marie Opelac said in an interview that the irrigation systems, worth PHP1 million each, were handed over during the inauguration of a solar irrigation project in Barangay 49-A Darayday that was funded through the city government’s 20% development fund.

The project is expected to reduce the cost of rice production input in the rice farming villages of Bacsil North, Basil South, Lataag, Cabungaan A, Cabungaan B, Calayab, Apayao, and Sta. Rosa, according to the Philippines News Agency.

“Each unit can generate 18 to 22 cubic meters per hour or 5 to 7 liters per second with a serviceable area of 5 hectares,” said Opelac, which means farmers can save about PHP6,000 worth of fuel when irrigating their rice fields over four months when their palay is due for harvest.

Opelac said the solar technology is “more cost-efficient than the fuel-powered irrigation pumps due to the rising cost of diesel.”

Composed of solar panels, a pump, electronic controls to operate the pump, storage tank, and conveyance structures, each unit can irrigate about 5 hectares of farms during the dry season.

Aside from the initial 10 units of solar irrigation system, the city agriculturist said eight more units would later be installed to help farmers produce off-season fruits and vegetables.