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Move to replace diesel-run irrigation pumps with solar-powered ones

The government has initiated a move to adopt a roadmap for replacing diesel-run irrigation pumps with solar-powered ones across the country.

Under the roadmap, some 100,000 diesel-operated irrigation pumps will be replaced with solar-powered ones, according to official sources.

They said Solar and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda) has been working on preparing the roadmap.

"We have already accommodated the views of stakeholders on the issue through organising a national workshop," Siddique Zobair, member of Sreda and additional secretary of Power Division, told UNB.

He said Sreda is currently implementing a pilot project in Kustia in this regard.

"Once the project is completed and all the data on the pilot projects for technical and financial analysis are available, we will go for finalising the roadmap," he said adding, "Hopefully, the roadmap will be declared by early next year."

Zobair said irrigation through solar-powered pumps initially seemed to be costlier. "But in the final calculation, it was found to be cost effective and more economic than diesel-run ones," he mentioned.

Other officials said it was found in different studies that if the diesel-run pumps are replaced with solar irrigation ones, it will bring huge benefits for the country.

Specially, they said, solar pumps will reduce the use of about 50 percent of water now the farmers are lifting for irrigation.

Explaining the matter, they said, when farmers use a solar pump for irrigation, they normally try to lift 20 percent less waster compared to the diesel-pump use.

In the solar irrigation process, the water supply to the field will be through underground plastic pipes instead of conventional use of open canals, they mentioned.

According to them, such a process will reduce another 30 per cent as there will be no evaporation and sucking of water by soil.

Zobair said it was found in the study that when an open canal is used for irrigation, some 30 percent water is misused due to evaporation and sucking by soil.

So, he said, when all the positive things are considered, irrigation pumps are cost-effective and economic ones.

The Sreda officials also said one solar-run irrigation pump normally covers an area equivalent to one covered by four diesel-run irrigation pumps.

"So, if we install 100,000 solar-run irrigation pumps, it will ultimately replace 400,000 diesel-run irrigation pumps," said one of the officials preferring not to be named.

He said there were 1.35 million diesel-run irrigation pumps across the country and 1,350 have been replaced with solar-run ones.

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