Solar-powered Drip Irrigation System for the Centeno Family Farm

Sprinkler irrigation
Reliable irrigation pumped with solar electricity for the Centeno family farm.

The Centeno family lives in Jinotega, Nicaragua.  They have been farmers all their lives, cultivating beans, corn, tomatoes, and jalapeño peppers. The family currently waters their one-acre farm using a gas-powered pump.  Solar irrigation will replace the pump, saving the family money, displacing gasoline, and reducing air and noise pollution at the farm. 

Centeno family

Farming is a year-round commitment for the Centeno family. They strive to diversify their crops and work together. The family has observed their fellow producers have exponential growth due to solar-powered irrigation, and they aspire to have the same impact on their farm.  Solar will save them money, and the value of solar can provide access to better financing so they can implement more advanced agro-ecological practices.

farm field

Yearly irrigation increases crop yields and diversity, helping small-scale farmers increase their income and displace fossil-fuel powered alternatives.  When frequent droughts occur in the region, farmers cannot rely on rain to water crops and gas-powered pumps are expensive and pollute the air.  Hand watering crops is labor-intensive and does not provide the frequency plants need to flourish. Solar-pump irrigation is an ideal solution to move water, so small-scale farmers can irrigate their crops all year round.  Cost savings and additional income means more food for local markets and more local jobs. 

GRID aims to bring an off-grid pole-mounted solar-powered drip irrigation system to the Centeno Family.  The system consists of 2.8kW of photovoltaic modules, a water pump that moves water into a water tank mounted on a metal structure, and drip irrigation tubes to feed water to the plants on a regular basis.