02 August 2016

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Sun-watered Vegetables

Setting an important example for other farmers with a 7kw, solar-powered drip irrigation system

A solar-powered drip irrigation system offers the potential for increasing the income of small farms through reduced operating costs and improved productivity. The stand-alone energy system generates an estimated 9,800 kWh per year.

In 2015, one of the funds Finance in Motion advises, the Green for Growth Fund, signed a EUR 20 million loan agreement with Beograd-based ProCredit Bank a.d., Serbia’s leading green lender for retail and business clients. ProCredit is using some of this funding to support the country’s small-scale farmers such as Marko Čarnić, who grows vegetables in the town of Begeč.

A two-year, EUR 30,000 loan has allowed Čarnić to install a solar-powered irrigation system that reduces his operating expenses and increases crop income. Solar power is expected to completely replace the diesel currently fueling the system, which irrigates six hectares of farmland. Čarnić said his typical diesel consumption is 3,000 liters for the six hectares each season; replacing this with solar would result in an estimated payback period of 2.5 years for the system.

Čarnić has lauded the project and expressed his high level of satisfaction with the system. In fact, he said he will likely replicate the project on other tracts of his some 200 hectares of farmland. With simple operation and maintenance and no fuel requirements, the solar-powered irrigation drip system is cleaner, more reliable and more inexpensive than conventional pumps. 

Advantages of the system include:

• Saving about 3,000 liters of fuel per year

• Optimized water usage through a drip system and increased soil protection

• Eliminating CO2 emissions for the irrigation and reducing primary energy consumption

• Reducing pollution and the risk of diesel leaks in the fields

• Significant cost reductions transformed Čarnić’s farm into one of the most competitive in the region

For more information about the Green for Growth Fund, click here.