Innovations in Solar Water Pumping Systems Key to Taking Kenya’s Development to the Next Level

Portable solar pump in use at smallholder farm

This was the strong message that Prof. Eng. Bancy Mati, the Director WARREC enunciated on during her presentation in the 5th UNESCO Africa Engineering Week held at PrideInn Hotel, Mombasa from 17th – 21st September 2018. The event also doubled up as the 3rd Africa Engineering Conference & the 25th IEK International Conference.

On her keynote presentation paper entitled “Innovations in Solar Water Pumping Systems: Taking Kenya’s Development to the Next Level  during the workshop opening  on Monday, 17th September 2018, Prof. Mati articulated on a wide range of issues impacting on solar water pumping, charting the way forward for upscaling the technology in Kenya.  She touched on the water issues in Kenya highlighting the water endowments of the country, disconnect in access to water and showed that water scarcity is a problem faced in both in rural and urban areas. There are opportunities missed and challenges in water lifting/pumping, especially using conventional pumping devises such as manual water lifting. The costs of petrol/diesel pumping are high, they pollute the environment and for group projects, often fail when communities cannot maintain gensets or afford fuel. Electric pumping from grid power is isolated and available to a few, but it is also expensive. Asserted Prof. Mati.

Prof. Mati making a presentation at Africa Engineers week

Session during the workshop

She further articulated on an overview of solar energy as a sub-sector in Kenya tracing the evolution of solar power installations from the early gadgets that were expensive yet weak, inefficient and failed easily. Giving examples of solar kits in the market today and the various advantages accrued, Prof. Mati pointed out on the immense opportunities inherent in bringing on board solar power for water pumping. She highlighted the innovations currently available in Kenya in solar power technologies, the financial models for downscaling solar powered pumping, the policy and market-led issues that drive this climate-smart sub-sector.

In her conclusion, Prof. Mati made a strong recommendation for solar powered water pumping as a win-win solution with multiple benefits for efficient clean energy which is now affordable. “This presentation has helped demystify the solar water pumping, a technology for taking forward Kenya’s development to the next level”, so said a participant.

Prof. Mati with women Engineers-Africa Engineering conference Mombasa

For more information on the presentation: Innovations in Solar Water pumping – Presentation at the5th UNESCO Africa Engineering Week

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