Solar-powered irrigation is the future of UAE farms

Most farms in Abu Dhabi use diesel powered pumps to dig up the groundwater for crop irrigation. This operation is not only noisy but also unclean and very expensive.

Two Emirati engineers, Nasser Al Mansoori and Ali Al Taee have ­installed 28 solar panels, which generate 8.5 kilowatts of electricity, to irrigate a small section of the Khub Al Dhas forest in the Western Region. They want to make UAE farms greener by using solar plants rather than diesel generators.

It is the intention of Mr. Al Mansoori who is engineering and development manager at Handasa, a green energy company in Masdar City, to promote sustainability solutions in agriculture management.

According to him, solar energy in farms has to be promoted in ­daily operations. He has good reasons to believe that this renewable and clean energy is the future of the UAE.

The sustainable solar-propelled water pumping system will cut the operation costs by up to 60 per cent a year compared to traditional ­generators. Mr. Al Mansoori said that the system paid for itself within two years.

The Khub Al Dhas forest near Madinat Zayed is a very big place and it is managed by the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi.The solar system took about six months to develop and install and is monitored remotely from the agency offices.

It is hoped it will eventually replace the diesel-powered pumps that provide water for some of the thousands of the ghaf trees.

“We are going to expand this environment friendly project around the country as much as we can, and we are also in talks with other government entities” said Mr. Al Mansoori.

Wafa Al Yamani, a researcher in water management at the ­agency, said preliminary results of the project were positive and met Ead’s requirements.

“We seek to embrace new ­innovations to achieve sustainability in the use of water ­resources in the agriculture ­sector, as well as to support young Emiratis to continue research and development,” Ms Al Yamani said.

She added that the Ead team will continue to evaluate the project and put their recommendations by the end of this year.

Ead manages a 73 date palm farms across the emirate – 55 of which are in Al Gharbia – and these contain 361,584 palm trees.

The Western Region Municipality has also showed interest in using the technology in farms and forests.

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