Mapping the Potential of Photovoltaic Energy for Groundwater Pumping in Africa

With Sustainable Development Goal 6, "Clean Water and Sanitation", the United Nations aims for a universal access to safe and affordable drinking water. However, in 2017, 800 million people still lacked access to basic drinking water services, especially in rural areas. Photovoltaic water pumping systems (PVWPSs) are an interesting solution to improve water access, as they are economically competitive in isolated areas and have low maintenance requirements. Recently, we have implemented a first model that uses data on solar and groundwater resources to simulate the performance of PVWPSs, in terms of abstraction capacity, for any location in Africa. At Stanford University, the first objective will be to finish the mapping of the potential of photovoltaic energy for groundwater abstraction in Africa. The second objective will be to consider sustainability aspects by comparing the abstraction potential to hydrogeological constraints such as the groundwater recharge and storage in order to prevent any water stress situation. Finally, we will propose recommendations, based on our work, to governments, companies and institutions that deploy PVWPSs. This project will not only contribute to increasing sustainable water access in Africa through PVWPSs but the developed method could also be applied to other continents (e.g. Asia, America). 


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