MANILA -- Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel "Manny" Piñol on Thursday led the ceremonial turnover of a Solar-Powered Irrigation System (SPIS) to the Caridad Norte and Sur Irrigators’ Association in Llanera, Nueva Ecija.
“This is the fulfillment of a promise we made last April 2017,” Piñol said during the ceremony.
He stressed that the irrigation system aims to improve the productivity of rice farms in the municipality, lower poverty incidence, and regain the public’s trust towards the government.
The Llanera SPIS, valued at PHP7.2 million, is powered by 140 solar modules, which generate 30 to 50 horsepower (hp).
With the SPIS in place, Piñol said, rice production in around 120 hectares is expected to increase.
“With the diesel pump before, we could irrigate 70 hectares of farm, but with this technology, we have expanded production to 50 hectares more,” said DA Region 3 OIC-Regional Director Crispulo G. Bautista Jr.
Baustista explained that farmers have started using the SPIS during the last cropping season. This has led to an increased yield of 120 bags per hectare from only 80 bags during before the introduction of the SPIS.
The SPIS, which can be operated for a maximum of nine hours a day, has a capacity output of 1,280-2000 cubic meter (m3) per day with pump flow rate of more or less 241 m3/hour.
To minimize production cost, Piñol recommended the installation of additional solar panels so that more areas will be irrigated.
Aside from delivering the SPIS, the DA chief committed to extend loan assistance amounting to PHP5 million to Caridad Norte and Sur farmers.
“From this amount, PHP4.2 million will be allotted for the 210 hectares rice area of Caridad Norte while the remaining PHP800,000 can be borrowed by vegetable farmers,” he said.
He also committed two units of mini tractors and a unit of combined harvester for the irrigators’ association.
Considered as the first and biggest solar powered irrigation system in Luzon, the facility is composed of 140 Lorentz solar panels, a 40-horsepower Lorentz submersible pump, state-of-the-art electronic control devices, highly reliable flow meter gauge, concrete storage tank, and irrigation distribution pipelines.
The photovoltaic (PV) panels were installed on precision-engineered aluminum frames to withstand extreme weather conditions, which were anchored on dependable concrete posts.
Solar-powered irrigation systems are designed to help farmers in the remote areas to irrigate their farmland, which will eventually increase their production during the dry months. (PNA)