SolarWorld Americas Inc is leading a project to bring safe drinking water to refugee settlements in Tanzania. The company is providing 1.2 megawatts worth of high-performance solar panels to three refugee settlements in Western Tanzania, used to power water pumps.
The project is being managed by Water Mission and funded by Poul Due Jensen Foundation (Grundfos Foundation). Water Mission is an engineering-centered nonprofit which designs, builds and installs safe water, sanitation, and hygiene equipment in developing areas of the world, along with supporting water needs in disaster areas. The Poul Due Jensen Foundation is responsible for funding sustainable and affordable water options to rural villages found in developing countries, along with refugee camps. Currently, the foundation is giving $5.3 million to help improve the living standards in the Nudta, Nyarugasa and Mtendeli refugee settlements.
The goal of the project is to pump water to the refugee camps using 100% solar power, though diesel generators will be standing by as backup. Water Mission has been using SolarWorld solar panels for their projects in some very harsh conditions all around the world, favoring the durability of the SolarWorld products.
“In the hundreds of projects that I have worked on, we have never had a service call for a defective SolarWorld panel,” says Water Mission’s Tanzania regional director, Will Furlong. “The company provides a level of confidence that’s hard to quantify because we wouldn’t be able to effectively maintain other unreliable power sources.”
Tanzania will be receiving an initial shipment of 780 290-watt solar panels, which will produce around 220,000 watts of power to run pumps and provide safe drinking water. Clean water is important in the camps, as it helps keep people and especially children safe from water-borne diseases. According to estimates by Water Mission, the project will pay for itself in about nine years by eliminating operating and maintenance costs associated with diesel generators.
“I believe that the longevity of each panel will surpass the company’s 20-year product warranty,” says Furlong. “Once the panels are installed, they run continuously at essentially zero cost. Based on the excellent quality and reliability of SolarWorld panels, we can’t afford not to use them on our projects because people need safe water to survive. Lives depend on them.”