Innovators in Action: Earth Institute at Columbia University, Senegal

Published: Apr. 19, 2016

About Powering Agriculture

Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development supports the development and deployment of clean energy innovations that increase agriculture productivity and stimulate low carbon economic growth in the agriculture sector of developing countries to help end extreme poverty and extreme hunger.

PAEGC visited three central solar PV systems that were installed by the Earth Institute in Gabar, Senegal to power 21 irrigation pumps. The farmers reported the biggest advantages of the solar pumps were time savings of up to 6 hours a day, cost savings based on reduced fuel usage, and improved quality and quantity of grown produce. Four vegetable farmers in Gabar, Senegal, reported that they have been able to increase their agricultural production by 4.3 percent because of Earth Institute’s solar powered irrigation innovation. Additionally, one of the participating plots was given to a women’s collective, comprised of 128 women living in the community, who plan to use the additional earnings from the agricultural production to purchase communal household items and to start offering loans to the women in the village.

Related News & Events: 
Sep. 7, 2016

The Earth Institute at Columbia University just celebrated the first anniversary of Acacia Irrigation, their shared irrigation system in Senegal. Three systems, each serving seven farms, are up and running; all three have seen high usage since installation. Farmers are already seeing the benefits. 

Jun. 7, 2016

The Sustainable Engineering Lab at Columbia University started with a question: Could a single system provide electricity or water to multiple farmers? To find out, they set up a system comprised of three solar photovoltaic arrays to power irrigation pumps in Gabar, Senegal.

Apr. 23, 2016

Harnessing the sun’s power is once again at the forefront of energy technology as an increasingly affordable method of generating electricity. In developing regions of the world, solar is not only a clean energy solution but sometimes the sole source of power for smallholders.