Addis Ababa August 19/2022/ENA/ Precise Consult has announced a program to enhance the supply of solar energy technologies with a view to expanding irrigation development in Ethiopia.
The program will be carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands and the Ministry of Water & Energy.
The new program will support the initiatives of the two ministries by enhancing solar appliance manufacturers in Ethiopia.
The program targets to assemble and manufacture 250,000 Solar Home Systems (SHS) and 25,000 Productive Use Energy (PUE) appliances, the latter with a focus on solar pumps, according to a statement.
The program will be implemented in Amhara, Oromia and other regions, it was indicated.
Expanding irrigation is an important goal for the Government of Ethiopia. Studies show that upto 7 million hectares of smallholder farms can be irrigated using solar pumps from shallow ground water and surface sources.
During the launching ceremony on Thursday, Ministry of Irrigation and Lowlands, Aisha Mohammad noted that irrigation development is one of the strategies being implemented to ensure the food security of the country.
The Ministry is working to build the capacities of farmers engaged in small scale irrigation activities in addition to the support being provided to large and medium scale irrigations in the country by using renewable energy, she added.
According to a study by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), electrifying irrigation has the potential to create annual value of 1.2 billion USD by 2025.
Since almost all solar appliances are currently being imported from overseas, the lack of foreign currency is a major obstacle standing in the way of achieving these worthy government objectives.
For instance, to meet the universal electrification target by 2025, 1.4 billion USD is needed in new forex plus USD 1.8 billion in local currency working capital for a total capital of 3 billion USD.
According to Precise Consult, local assembly and manufacturing can help increase availability of solar appliances by optimizing the available forex.
Studies have shown that doing so can save 20- 25 percent in forex, possibly saving the nation hundreds of millions while expediting access.
In the meantime, a growing manufacturing industry can help create jobs, and ensure knowledge transfer to young skilled experts to maintain and fix malfunctioning solar systems in the country.
The Solar Appliance Manufacturing program which is funded by Shell foundation will work with key stakeholders to solve the key bottlenecks of the off-grid manufacturing sector.
Precise is a mission-driven consulting firm that works on Private Sector Development specializing in the areas of Sustainable Agro-industrial Value-network Innovation, Off-grid Energy Innovation, and Development Policy Innovation, in Ethiopia.