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A review of sustainable solar irrigation systems for Sub-Saharan Africa

Wazed, Saeed Mohammed; Hughes, Ben Richard; O'Connor, Dominic; Calautit, John Kaiser

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Saeed Mohammed Wazed

Ben Richard Hughes

Dominic O'Connor


This investigation focused on the research undertaken on solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal technologies for pumping water generally for irrigation of remote rural farms specifically considering the Sub-Saharan African region. Solar PV systems have been researched extensively for irrigation purposes due to the rise in Oil prices and the upscaling in commercialisation of PV technology. Based on the literature the most effective PV system is presented for the irrigation of a small scare remote rural farm with respect to the cost, pumping capacity and system efficiency. Similarly, solar thermal systems are reviewed and the most effective system described. Unlike PV technology, solar thermal technology for water pumping is lacking especially in small scale operations. However, with the possibility of local production, low investment cost, easy maintenance and lower carbon footprint, solar thermal water pumping technologies may be able to overcome the shortcomings of the PV technology that has stopped widespread use of the technology for irrigation applications. Taking into consideration recent developments in concentrated solar technologies using the Stirling engine, novel solar thermal water pumping systems may be developed. This review also highlighted the different methodologies such as modelling, used to investigate and optimise the performance of solar powered systems.


Wazed, S. M., Hughes, B. R., O'Connor, D., & Calautit, J. K. (2018). A review of sustainable solar irrigation systems for Sub-Saharan Africa. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 81,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 12, 2017
Online Publication Date Sep 11, 2017
Publication Date Jan 31, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 23, 2017
Publicly Available Date Sep 12, 2018
Journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Print ISSN 1364-0321
Electronic ISSN 1364-0321
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 81
Keywords Solar energy; Solar water pumping; Photovoltaics; Concentrated solar thermal; Stirling engine; Irrigation
Public URL
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