Solar-powered Drip Irrigation Technique for Agriculture

As new irrigation technology becomes increasingly common, manufacturers will need to stay aware of these trends and upgrade their equipment to keep up with customer demand. Drip irrigation pipe must still be produced in an efficient manner and will need to operate with smart systems. Further, manufacturers will face the challenge of educating consumers about the advantages of new technology and how this technology helps reduce their costs.

Increasing production of crops while minimizing water use is key to operations that want to be both cost effective and environmentally friendly. Water is a critical resource and its preservation requires irrigation systems to optimize their approach. Smart irrigation system design must take into account not only the plants being treated and the amount of water and fertilizer they need, but also the climate of the area, the current and forecasted weather, ground water levels, the current growth stage of the plants, and more.

Second thing is Advantages of Drip Irrigation:

1. Maximum use of available water.
2. No water being available to weeds.
3. Maximum crop yield.
4. High efficiency in the use of fertilizers.
5. Less weed growth and restricts population of potential hosts.
6. Low labour and relatively low operation cost.
7. No soil erosion.
8. Improved infiltration in soil of low intake.
9. Ready adjustment to sophisticated automatic control.
10. No runoff of fertilizers into ground water.
11. Less evaporation losses of water as compared to surface irrigation.
12. Improves seed germination.
13. Decreased to tillage operations.

Now keeping in eye the above factors of minimizing cost, environmental friendly solutions, solar integration with drip irrigation will be more efficient in its output. And there are many successful experiments practically in India in remote places where irrigation facilities are scarce because of the geographical and topographical factors existing there.

Transforming agriculture in a remote village of Sunderbans is a good step in technological advancements in irrigation practices. The Gosaba island situated in the sunderbans region of west bengal in india is surrounded by tidal rivers connected with the bay of bengal, bringing water of high salinity (more than 30 dS/m), which is not suitable for irrigation in agriculture. Good-quality groundwater is also unavailable for irrigation due to various technical reasons. Due to these difficulties, farmers in this village are unable to grow Rabi crops. Farm ponds, which harvest the rainwater during monsoon, are the only source of water for irrigation in the post-monsoon period.

To increase the cropped area, solar-powered drip irrigation technology has been introduced in the island under the CSI4CZ project. Analysis of monthly weather data available at Canning Town shows that the average bright sunshine hours(BSH) during the Rabi season is 7-9 hours a day, which is sufficient to harness the solar energy for use in agriculture.

Under this technology, solar panels were installed near the pond and a nano pump(0.1 hp) was used for lifting water from the farm pond t a tank (1,000 litre capacity) placed at 2.5 m height on a platform. During the day time, water is applied to high-value vegetable crops through drip irrigation system by gravity method. The drip discharge rate was 2.4 litres per hour. The field was divided into different plots, each plot was controlled by a valve, which facilitated crop diversification.