Solar Pumps: Scaling Up Solar Solutions
The concept of solar energy is no longer limited to developed regions, but is nearing ubiquity all over the globe. It has been hailed as a one-stop solution towards a sustainable future. Choked with alarming air pollution levels and unchecked industrial waste, several governments are also starting to take cognizance of an approaching calamity, and emphasizing the efficient utilization of renewable energy in wide range of applications.
Exploring the Roots and Rise of the Solar Pumps Market
Solar pumps were first introduced in the late 1970s, but took more than four decades to gain popularity and application in groundwater pumping. The teething troubles of the first generation of solar pumps brought focus on accurate wiring, and improved electronic circuitry, voltages, and terminals to provide effective electrical connections. More focus has also been placed on affordability, which remained a key growth influencer of the market. In 2018, the worldwide sales of solar pumps achieved the ~ US$ 1 billion mark, and are expected to register a robust growth over the next five years.
However, it is imperative to note that, there are also certain challenges with the uptake and use of solar pumps. TMR’s study finds that, the financial condition of small-scale farmers and accessibility of high quality products and services remain among the major issues in several countries. In addition, lack of basic understanding of the set-up and functions of solar pumps has led to challenges in daily operations and maintenance.
AC Submersible Solar Pumps Gain Center Stage
Manufacturers are continuously focusing on increasing the production of AC submersible solar pumps, as this category has witnessed significant sales in recent years. With numerous advantages over their unprotected counterparts, i.e. surface solar pumps, submersible solar pumps also continue to experience higher innovations in terms of performance range and operating functions. Although DC pumps operates at higher efficiency without the need of an inverter as compared to AC pumps, the latter variant has been gaining momentum for their low maintenance and cost effectiveness. As 6 in 10 units of solar pumps sold in 2018 were based on an AC power source, manufacturers are specifically working on this category. In addition, lack of service centers in various rural and remotes areas for the repair and maintenance of DC pumps continues to challenge their sales growth.
The future of solar pumps appears to be brighter in developing countries, especially in Asia Pacific, where a large part of the economy is centered around agriculture. As the industry is rapidly entering into a realm of solar or renewable energy, manufacturers remain focused on improving the potential of solar pumps in irrigation and related agricultural tasks. Several government efforts to initiate the widespread use of solar pumps that can aid in advancing sustainable development of these nations have also led to the realignment of the strategies of manufacturers.