By Rishikesh Bhandary,Kyle Karber, Easwaran Narassimhana, and Bikash Pandey | October2020
Solar pumps have the potential to help meet household and agriculture-related water needs in Ethiopia. With Ethiopia’s electrification rate standing at only 45%, solar pumps would enable energy access and create multiple co-benefits.1 Currently, diesel pumps are used in most rural agricultural applications. This oil-based infrastructure not only generates carbon dioxide emissions but also requires costly fuel imports, thereby depleting Ethiopia’s limited foreign exchange reserves. The Ethiopian government has initiated publicly funded programs to provide solar pumps under a limited government procurement process that currently does not recover costs. To create a more sustainable program that can be widely scaled up, additional financing models will be needed for the largely unmet needs for water for both household and irrigation use across the nation.