The Philippines' National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has commissioned this week two solar water pumps in the Province of Nueva Ecija, which is located in the Central Luzon region. The two facilities have a combined capacity of 90 kW and will benefit 273 farmers spread across the municipalities of San Isidro and Peñaranda.
The solar pump in San Isidro, which was built at a cost of PHP 17,780,519 ($356,540), will serve an area of 323.3 hectares and benefit 159 farmers. The facility in Peñaranda, for which PHP 20,461,286 ($411,940) was invested, will cover 228.9 hectares and have 114 farmer-beneficiaries.
The NIA explained that, although solar pumps have higher upfront costs compared to conventional water pumps based on fossil fuels, the new facilities will be almost maintenance-free and will work for more than 25 years.
The agency is also planning to invest in more floating PV projects, as well as hydropower, to improve the water supply for irrigation. It said last year that floating solar projects will be encouraged as they have less environmental impact during construction than hydropower infrastructure and require minimal use of heavy equipment. The Pantabangan and Casecnan dams, in the province of Nueva Ecija in the Central Luzon region, were identified as ideal locations for floating solar.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization recently said it was seeking to support the seaweed industry on the Philippine island of Tawi-Tawi – in the Bangsamoro autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao, at the southernmost frontier of the country – through aquavoltaic projects. The organization is bringing power access to one of the least electrified areas of the archipelago, with solar-plus-storage chosen as the cheapest and most efficient source.
*The lead text of the article was amended to reflect that the total surface covered by the solar pumps is 500 hectares.
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