Solar irrigation for Agriculture Resilience (SoLAR)

Farmers increasingly rely on irrigation to counter rising temperature and rainfall variability, leading to growth in energy demand and depletion of groundwater resources. The project aims to promote solar irrigation as a water-energy solution for climate-resilient and socially inclusive agrarian livelihoods in South Asia. Swiss innovation in groundwater monitoring through electricity use, efficient solar pumps and smart micro grids will be applied in the partner countries.

Pays/région Thème Période Budget
Changement climatique & environnement
Agriculture et sécurité alimentaire
Production d’énergie renouvelable
Conservation des ressources en eau
Ressources en eau à usage agricole
01.08.2018 - 30.06.2024
CHF  5’570’000
Contexte With 20.4 million pumps, the irrigation economy in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan in South Asia is overwhelmingly dependent on groundwater. The intensity of groundwater extraction is influenced by access to subsidized electricity. Groundwater irrigation in the region accounts for upto 1/5th of total carbon emissions from agriculture. The project rationale is to promote shift to solar irrigation pumps for climate resilient agriculture to reduce the carbon footprint of irrigation, coupled with incentives and policies for the sustainable management of groundwater in South Asia. Besides country efforts, the project will collaborate with the International Solar Alliance which has identified solar water pumps as one of its priority technologies.
Objectifs The main goal of the project is to contribute to climate resilient, gender and socially inclusive agrarian livelihoods in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan by supporting Government efforts to promote solar irrigation.
Groupes cibles The project will work with government agencies in northwest Bangladesh; in Gujarat state in India, in Tarai provinces of Nepal and in Punjab Province in Pakistan, to influence policies so as to enhance the outreach of solar irrigation pumps among the vulnerable groups including women farmers. The project will directly reach out to 29000 farming households in the project countries (160’000 individuals) during the project period. The project will also train approximately 300 male and female youth as solar technicians. Through the innovation grants, the project hopes to reach out to 6-8 innovators, whose work in turn, if up-scaled, can impact thousands of additional farmers.
Effets à moyen terme

·    Improved empirical evidence supports development of climate resilient, gender and socially inclusive and groundwater responsive solar irrigation policies.

·    Innovative actions and approaches for gender and socially inclusive and groundwater aware solar irrigation are validated.

·    Increased national /global knowledge and capacity for gender and socially inclusive and groundwater responsive solar irrigation policies and practices.


Principaux résultats attendus:  

·    Impact of solar pump adoption on livelihood, and climate resilience documented.

·    Impact of large-scale solar irrigation pump  adoption on groundwater sustainability documented

·    Gender responsive, pro-poor and groundwater aware solar irrigation models demonstrated

·    Technical and institutional modalities for grid connection of solar irrigation pumps demonstrated

·    A cadre of women and men technicians trained; and water-energy-agriculture experts sensitized about cross-sectoral interlinkages

·   Multi-stakeholder forums for global and regional exchange of knowledge on best practices in gender and socially responsive and groundwater aware solar irrigation practices and policies.

Principaux résultats antérieurs:  

Policy mapping: mapping of  the existing policy and program landscape of solar irrigation and groundwater management in the region. Despite availability of high subsidies in most countries, less than 10% of the solar irrigation pumps at are owned by small and marginal farmers. In case of women farmers this number is only 5%.

Stakeholder Consultations: with lead agencies in the four countries, a regional workshop and the International Solar Alliance.

Identification of strategic interventions: in agreement with the national entities.

Direction/office fédéral responsable DDC
Crédit Coopération au développement
Partenaire de projet Partenaire contractuel
Institution universitaire et de recherche étrangère
  • Groupe consultatif pour la recherche agricole internationale

Budget Phase en cours Budget de la Suisse CHF    5’570’000 Budget suisse déjà attribué CHF    2’781’533