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FARM GENERATORS FOR AGRICULTURE PURPOSES – WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

The agriculture industry is critical to our nation’s economic health and impacts every Zimbabwean’s personal survival. To ensure farms and fields produce healthy crops and livestock and remain in operation, agricultural businesses require a dependable supply of electricity. That’s why backup farm generators are vital.

If you are a Zimbabwean farmer, you know how essential an uninterrupted electrical supply is to support your livelihood. Continuous electrical power is mandatory, especially in today’s increasingly automated agricultural world where complex systems are helpless when the power grid drops off. However, that would not be a problem if you have a backup generator for your agriculture business.

AUTOMATION NEEDS IN AGRICULTURE

In the centuries since the Industrial Revolution caused the Agricultural Revolution, farm mechanization allowed increased yields with less human effort. Harnessing electricity and delivering it through a nation-wide grid system allowed distant areas to capitalize on generated power. Reliable electricity helped develop automated agricultural equipment to increase productivity and profits. The key to successful electric farm automation was making sure the power supply was dependable.

Today, Zimbabwean and at large, world agriculture is a huge economic generator. Because of automation, farmers can parlay their human and mechanical assets into greater yields than possible even a few decades ago. Statistics establish how important employment is in the agricultural and farming sector. Overall, the bigger umbrella of agriculture employs thousands of workers while the farming subsidiary also supports thousands of people, which makes up a chunk of the entire Zimbabwean workforce. This wouldn’t be possible without electricity supporting advanced automation in every agricultural facet.

THE RISKS FARMS FACE WITH POWER OUTAGES

The farming industry depends on an immense electrical power supply. Farming and agricultural business use automated systems to keep production running. Automated processes have shifted over time, and today’s automation is highly evolved. Because automated agricultural systems are so intertwined with core business functions, it’s never been more necessary to back up the electrical supply.

A modern automated farm can’t allow their electrical flow to be interrupted. Even short term electrical outages can have devastating effects on livestock and crop survival. Although automation has improved almost every farming process, high technology has created an Achilles’ heel for the modern agricultural industry.

Fortunately, there’s a proven solution to this problem. You can easily protect yourself and your business from the electrical stoppage vulnerability by incorporating a generator into your farm’s infrastructure. A backup generator lets you continue regular operations while waiting to tie back into the communal grid.

BACKUP POWER GENERATOR FOR FARM USE

Backup power generators are necessary for farms and other businesses involved in agricultural production. Investing in a backup farm generator is just as critical as carrying general insurance policies that cover farm buildings, production equipment, and living assets.

Electrical power interruptions will cause immense grief to plants and animals being raised in human-created artificial environments. Defending crops and livestock from power loss is a top priority for responsible farmers. In fact, no farm incorporating an automated production system should be without an auxiliary power generator.

Successful farming means that electricity keeps flowing when the regular power supply stops. The main reason for commercial power outages is Mother Nature. Harsh weather creates high winds, heavy rains and storms that sever transmission lines. Although you can’t do anything about the weather, you certainly can protect your farm or agricultural operation from power loss with a backup generator.

Power interruptions also happen from grid overloads that cause rolling brownouts. These happen when electrical demand on a grid exceeds the supply at a given time. Brownout periods will likely increase as areas of the country grow, placing more draw on a maximum-capacity electrical grid. Having a backup generator protects your farm against brownout interruption or other electrical downtimes.

WHO DO FARM POWER OUTAGES AFFECT MOST?

Farming is a primary contributor to the agricultural industry, even though not all agricultural activities happen directly on farms. However, it’s frontline farmers who suffer the most when their automated systems fail from power outages. Power failure affects both of these two primary farming segments:

  • Crop producers: Farmers produce a wide array of crops that require electrical support. Many greenhouse operations are fully automated with electrically controlled lighting, irrigation, nutrient, and ventilation systems. Crop producers can’t afford electrical interruption and must have generators backing up their power supply.
  • Livestock producers: Many livestock farmers raise their animals in indoor conditions where life support systems depend on electrically powered automation. Live creatures in close quarters are at the mercy of mechanical components. Most livestock can’t survive for long when an electrical failure happens. Back-up generators are a livestock lifesaver.

Although living crops are vulnerable to power loss, their health risk isn’t as severe as livestock. Artificially grown crops like vegetables and flowers quickly distress from a lack of light or water. However, crops are nowhere near as risky compared to livestock such as poultry, meat, and dairy stock.

Losing any living animal on a farm due to unnecessary electrical downtime can cost an agricultural business a lot of money. Prolonged power loss could be fatal to a farm’s bottom line through losing an entire crop or barn full of livestock. Backup generators will protect you from a loss no matter what agricultural sector you operate in. Here are principal agricultural segments that benefit from farm generator use.

1. DAIRY

Automation has revolutionized the dairy industry. Since the milking machine was invented, technological advancements led to computerization and automation of dairy production. Today, every part of a modern dairy farm depends on an unbroken electric supply to keep production steady and safe.

Electrically powered computer systems track cow location, milking schedules, and feeding timelines. Electricity also keeps milk storage facilities at a healthy level. Any power loss in a dairy farm would have a serious economic impact, and this can easily be prevented with an auxiliary electrical generator.

2. POULTRY

Farm-raised poultry like chickens and turkeys also depend on electricity for survival. Many birds raised for meat and egg production reside in tight quarters that contain automated systems controlled by electrically powered components. Poultry farms implement complicated feed and watering systems.

Automated farms also require continuous ventilation and air conditioning controls to keep healthy stock. Even short electrical interruptions in a poultry barn could have fatal consequences. That risk is completely managed by having a backup generator for poultry farm automation.

3. GREENHOUSES

Technological advancements in the greenhouse industry allow for higher crop yields in smaller areas than growers can achieve under natural field conditions. Automation drives greenhouse efficiency, which results in higher profits from denser settings. Automated greenhouse features like light control, precise heat settings and intricate ventilation systems are vital supports to greenhouse operations.

Computerized water and nutrient supplies also increase crop yield. Greenhouse automation and plant health depend on uninterrupted electrical energy flow. For that, a backup generator for greenhouse operations is mandatory. Generators ensure crops never fail from power loss and that supports a greenhouse business’ bottom line.

4. ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Animal husbandry is the science of breeding farm animals as well as caring for their welfare. Farmers who raise meat animals like hogs and cattle have a lot invested in their livestock. Many modern animal husbandry farms have sophisticated automation systems assisting their operations. Every automated system depends on continuous electricity for animal welfare.

Total confinement facilities are highly productive for livestock like hogs. While confined pens and corrals allow easy stock management, they pose extreme risks to the animals’ health and survival when the power supply stops. That’s because confined facilities have precision heat and ventilation controls, and animals can quickly overheat or suffocate from dangerous air conditions. Looking after animal husbandry responsibilities is a principal benefit of farm generator uses.

5. HARVESTING

Automation makes harvesting crop yields and livestock returns highly efficient. Electrically powered automation systems help dairy farmers milk cows, hog farmers harvest stock, and egg producers gather inventory. Automation also helps greenhouse growers harvest crops quickly and profitably.

While automated systems are invaluable when it comes to harvest time, they also have to be dependable and available. Harvests can be delayed or destroyed because of sudden and unexpected power stops. Investing in a backup generator prevents delays or destruction, and lets harvests proceed as planned with produce delivered to the market on time. Without a doubt, generators for harvesting are excellent investments.

POWERING AREAS OFF THE GRID

As the agricultural industry expands, it moves into areas that are off the grid. Those are untapped regions where land is available but conventional electrical supplies are not. That used to be a major restriction for expanding farmers while they waited for commercial power suppliers to extend their grid.

Grid restriction isn’t as big an issue as it was in the past. Today, many enterprising farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs choose off-grid locations because they have a reliable and economical power alternative. These energy alternatives are technologically advanced electrical generation systems that run independently of a high-voltage power grid.

Powering Areas off the Grid

Off-grid locations also include specialized zones where economic benefits make farming attractive despite having no available electrical grid. Benefits include plentiful water supplies, the right weather conditions, and even tax breaks. Many off-grid farmers also benefit from the solitude that remote farms offer and capitalize on the get-off-the-grid factor.

Off-grid agriculturalists are resourceful people. They choose this lifestyle for personal reasons. Some like the freedom of off-grid life. Others enjoy the challenge of developing non-traditional farming methods and make the most out of challenging conditions.

Growing crops and raising livestock off the grid still requires some sort of power. Some resourceful off-grid farmers experiment with alternative energy sources like water, wind, and solar power. While these use natural energy sources to convert into electricity, the cost of infrastructure can be prohibitively expensive. That’s not to mention intermittent interruptions and general unreliability that alternative energy production offers.

CONTAINED GENERATOR SYSTEM – BEST CHOICE FOR OFF THE GRID

The best choice for off-the-grid agricultural electrical energy needs is a contained generator system. There is no better alternative electricity provider than a quality generator that’s carefully chosen and properly sized for your off-grid farm. Today’s high-tech generators provide you with a continuous and dependable electrical supply. That’s regardless of weather conditions or how far in the future the mainstream electrical grid reaches your location.

Off-grid farmers usually choose diesel-powered generators. Stand-alone electrical generators using diesel fuel to run engines driving generation units are efficient, economical and safe.

If you’re an off-grid farmer, your best choice for continuous and dependable electricity is a generator. You can certainly experiment with wind, water or solar alternative energy sources, but you’re wise to mix in a mainstay diesel-powered generator. Your crop and livestock lives depend on it.

DOES MY FARM NEED A GENERATOR?

Your farm will benefit from a generator whether you’re on or off the electrical grid. As a large capacity farmer who depends on a commercial electrical supply for mainstay power, you still need a backup generator for those inevitable moments when the grid goes down. When your diesel or natural gas-powered generator kicks in, your operations continue as normal.

The same applies if you’re a smaller scale farmer making a living off the grid. Your farm needs a dependable generator to keep you running on a day-to-day basis. Your generator becomes the backbone of your agricultural operation, and you can’t prosper without it.

There’s a lot at stake for all farmers when they don’t invest in backup generator insurance. Even short and temporary power outages can have devastating effects on livestock and crops. You might not be able to financially recover from losing your animals due to heatstroke or suffocation and your crops from cycle interruption shock.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT GENERATOR FOR AGRICULTURE PURPOSE

Investing in a backup generator prevents lost revenue and unnecessary agricultural waste. Whether you choose a new electrical generator or a premium used generator, a high-quality generator is a perfect solution to power problems no matter where you are.

There are two crucial factors in choosing a backup generator for your farm or agricultural application. One, make sure your generator is the correct size for your current and future needs. The other critical factor: partnering with the right electrical generator supplier. Your next step is finding that right supplier.

TECH AFRICA IS YOUR AGRICULTURAL GENERATOR SUPPLIER

TECH AFRICA is your agricultural generator partner. We specialize in selling new high-quality generators in Harare, Zimbabwe. At Tech Africa, you can choose from a wide range of diesel and petrol powered generators in sizes from 2KVA to 1000KVA.

 

To learn more about how TECH AFRICA can help you with agricultural electrical generating problems on and off the grid, call us today. We’ll help you assess your specific needs and find the right agriculture generator.

Call and ask to speak with Daniel on +263772156504, or you can always reach us through our online contact form.

Categories: News
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Visit our Tech Africa Stand at Halsted Brothers Simon Mazorodze Official Opening on the 28th March 2020 and stand a chance to win various prizes.

Tech Africa will be offering the below on the day
– Live demos
– Product Quizzes
– Technical Advice

Big Announcement
There will be a Tech Africa TGP50 Petrol Water Pump on the Deluxe Draw (3rd Prize draw) on offer

1 purchase = 1 entry, no value limit and 10% off all stock for 1 day only.

12:30pm live draw – BE THERE TO WIN

SEE YOU THERE

#FUNDAYATHALSTEDMAZORODZESTORE
#TECHAFRICATRUSTEDBRANDS
#DELUXEDRAW                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Halsteds Promotion with Tech Africa

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Solar Water Pumping: The Most Ecological and Economical Way To Pump Water

Solar water pumping is the name given to the pumps that, instead of being powered by electric current, use solar energy. Our country has areas that are suffering from serious problems of desertification, access to water is unequal and unfortunately, there are areas where it is scarce. On the other hand, there are also areas in which there is no electricity supply because they are rural zones that are not urbanized and where it is not possible to obtain energy from the grid.

Solar submersible pumps are ideal for use in many environments – after all, many of the most remote areas in this country get plenty of sunshine. Solar pumps are a popular choice for watering livestock, crop irrigation, industrial water supply, and even residential and swimming pool applications. So what are the benefits?

  • Solar panels can be reliable, even in regional and remote areas.

They make an ideal choice when grid power is irregular or unavailable. When properly serviced and maintained and with adequate water storage, solar pumps offer great reliability. Some systems even offer apps to help you remotely monitor performance and flow rate.

  • They have extremely low operating costs.

One of the major advantages of a solar pump is that its energy comes straight from the sun, lowering operating costs and its environmental footprint.

  • They’re easy to transport and relocate.

Need to move a large mob of stock, or change your pump location based on the seasons? Depending on your system and site, solar water pump systems can be shifted relatively easily.

  • Solar pumps are generally low-maintenance.

Upkeep is typically minimal compared to grid power or generators – an important factor when these pumps are often used hundreds of kilometres from service bases. If PV panels lose efficiency, they can be replaced separately to the whole system.

  • Productivity increases in times of need.

When it’s hot and sunny people tend to use more water, and livestock will hang closer to water troughs. A solar water pump moves more water in sunny weather and slows appropriately when it’s overcast or raining, with the option to store a backup supply if your storage tank is adequately sized.

 

The possibilities for solar pump systems

Solar panels can be designed in almost any configuration, including borehole or surface configurations, and with centrifugal or positive displacement pumps. Surface pumps work well for dams, tanks, creeks, and ponds as long as the pump can be located under 6 metres above the water level. Borehole or submersible pumps can perform very effectively with solar panels as long as the system is correctly planned.

In less sunny areas there may be a benefit in installing a passive (non-motorized) or active (motorized) tracker that will shift the PV panel to gain the most energy as the day progresses. Generators or batteries can also be integrated into the system as a backup for cooler days.

Of course, the reliability and performance of your solar pump depend on the quality of your pump service. To enquire about an onsite or in-house pump service for your solar pumps, contact the Tech Africa team on +263772156504

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Solar Water Pumps- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are solar water pumps? What are their advantages over traditional water pumps?

Here are the answers to all your questions on solar water pumps.

This is a simple guide that answers some of the most popular questions related to solar water pumps. This list of Q&A will help you understand what they are and their growing importance these days. Please click on a question for detailed information.

  • What are solar water pumps?
  • What is the use of solar water pumps?
  • How does a solar water pump work?
  • How are solar water pumps more useful than conventional electric pumps?
  • What are the different types of solar water pumps?
  • How does one know if they should use a submersible or a surface pump?
  • Which is better–a DC or an AC pump?
  • Are there any criteria for selecting where to install solar water pump sets?
  • How much area can a system irrigate?
  • What are the capacities at which solar water pumps are available and what is the average discharge?
  • Once installed, is it possible to relocate the solar pump system?
  • Does a solar water pump work during cloudy and foggy days?
  • Can hail storm and/or lighting lead to the damage of the panels? What precautions should be taken during cyclones/storms to save the panels?
  • What maintenance is required for a solar-powered pump? Does the performance of the solar water pumps get affected over the years of use?
  • Where do you get solar water pumps in Zimbabwe?
  1. What are solar water pumps?

A solar water pump or a solar photovoltaic water pumping system is a system powered by solar energy. It is just like the traditional electric pump with the only exception that it uses solar energy instead of fossil fuel or electricity. It consists of one or more solar panels, also known as solar photovoltaic modules, a motor pump set, electronic controls or a controller device to operate the pump, the required hardware and in some cases, other items like inverters, batteries, etc.

  1. What is the use of solar water pumps?

A solar water pump is used for extracting water from ponds, rivers, borewells or other sources of water which are then used to meet the water requirements for irrigation, community water supply, livestock, and other purposes.

  1. How does a solar water pump work?

As mentioned earlier, it works like any other pump set with the only difference being the solar energy used instead of nonrenewable energy for its operation. When sunlight falls on the solar panels it produces direct current (DC) which then feeds the motor to pump out the water. However, in the case where the motor requires an alternating current (AC), the DC produced by solar panels is converted to AC using an inverter.

Watch this video to know more about how a solar water pump works.

  1. How are solar water pumps more useful than conventional electric pumps?

The advantages of solar water pumps over conventional electric pumps are given below:

  • Solar water pumps do not require any fuel or electricity to operate. Once installed, solar water pumps do not incur the recurring costs of electricity or fuel.
  • It does not get affected by power cuts, low voltage, single-phase problems or the motor burning.
  • It can be installed in remote areas where electricity is unavailable or diesel is difficult to procure.
  • Incurs low maintenance costs as solar water pumps have fewer moving parts as compared to a diesel-powered pump and thus, fewer chances of wear and tear.
  • No lubricants are required for operation and hence no chances of water/soil contamination due to the lubricants.
  • Easy to operate
  1. What are the different types of solar water pumps?

There are several different types of solar-powered pumps depending on how they have been classified. But primarily there are four types of solar water pumps–submersible pumps and surface pumps, direct current (DC) pumps and alternate current (AC) pumps.

Submersible pumps: As the name suggests, a submersible pump is located deep below the ground level and remains submerged underwater. The suction head of the submersible pump is beyond a depth of 10 meters. The installation of these pumps is done by digging a borewell, which leads to an increase in its installation and maintenance cost.

Surface pumps: The surface pumps remain out of the water and in the open. They are installed where the water table is within a depth of 10 meters. As they need to be on the surface, these pumps are easier to install and maintain. They are, however, not apt for the deep water table.

DC pump: This pump runs on a motor that operates on direct current, therefore no battery or inverter is needed in this type of pump.

AC pump: The motor of this pump operates on alternating current, which means the direct current produced by the solar panels gets converted to AC using the inverter. The conversion from DC to AC leads to loss of power from generation and consumption.

  1. How does one know if they should use a submersible or a surface pump?

The selection is based on the groundwater level and the water source. In the case of a borewell with a water table deeper than 10-15 meters, a submersible pump is used. If it is an open well, pond, etc, then using a surface pump is better. Also, the surface pump is installed when the water level is less than 10 meters.

Based on the classification, the following types of motor pump sets are available:

  • Surface-mounted motor pump set
  • Submersible motor pump set
  • Floating motor pump set
  1. Which is better–a DC or an AC pump?

Although DC pumps have an advantage over AC pumps in terms of higher efficiency and no requirement of an inverter for operation, the cost of DC pumps is higher. Also, the repair and maintenance of DC pumps are difficult in rural and remote areas due to the lack of service centers in these areas.

  1. Are there any criteria for selecting where to install the solar water pump sets?

Yes, there are certain criteria for selecting the location for both the solar panels and the pump. In the case of the solar panels, they should be installed in an area which is shade free and has no dust or dirt, has a low incidence of bird droppings and which can provide space for unrestricted tracking movement (keeping the orientation of the solar panels in the direction of maximum solar irradiation). Also, the surface where the panels are mounted should be even. Panels should be easily accessible for cleaning and should be as close as possible to the pump and water source.

The pumps should be located close to the solar panels but within the area to be irrigated. The suction lift for the pump should be low. If there are multiple water sources, the source with the highest water table should be chosen for placing the pump.

  1. How much area can a system irrigate?

Generally, it is said that a 2 HP pump can cater to about two acres of land and a 7.5 HP is said to cater to 10 acres of land, but this data varies depending on the groundwater levels and the type of irrigation required for a particular crop.

  1. What are the capacities at which solar water pumps are available and what is the average discharge?

The motor pump set for irrigation and domestic drinking water should have a capacity in the range of 0.1 HP to 5 HP. Although, municipal and rural community applications could choose a higher capacity solar pump.

For a DC motor pump set, the discharge varies from 14 – 100 liters of water per watt peak of PV array while for AC motor pump, the discharge varies from 13 – 19 liters of water per watt peak of PV. The average discharge, however, depends on solar intensity, location, season and other factors.

  1. Once installed, is it possible to relocate the solar pump system?

The relocation of the solar pump system is not advisable. However, the system can be relocated using a mobile mounting platform but the process is expensive and may also cause damage to the system.

  1. Does a solar water pump work during cloudy and foggy days? 

No. Lack of sunlight affects the working of solar water pumps. On such days, however, a hybrid power supply can be given to the pump. The pump can be connected to the state electricity grid or a diesel generator set after making proper adjustments in the controller. But such an arrangement should be made only after consulting the manufacturer of the solar water pump.

  1. Can hail storm and/or lighting lead to the damage of the panels? What precautions should be taken during cyclones/storms to save the panels?

The modern-day solar panels have adequate safety features and are very unlikely to be damaged by a hail storm. However, in rare cases, a direct lightning strike might cause considerable damage to the solar panels. But the risk of a lightning strike can be mitigated by the integration of an external lightning protection system with the solar array.

During a storm or a cyclone, the panel gets damaged only if the surface on which it is mounted collapses. In areas prone to cyclones and storms, special consideration should be given to building strong foundations for the installation of a fixed panel. Also, as a precaution during storms or cyclones, the array should be kept horizontally at 180 degrees so that minimum resistance is offered to the wind.

  1. What maintenance is required for a solar-powered pump? Does the performance of the solar water pumps get affected over the years of use? 

The system needs very minimal maintenance which includes cleaning of the panels on a regular basis. Cleaning maintains the efficiency of the panel without which the panel’s surface gets reduced exposure to irradiation from the dust and dirt on it.

In comparison to diesel pumps, solar water pumps have a significantly longer life expectancy and continue to produce electricity for even longer than 25 years.

  15. Where do you get solar water pumps in Zimbabwe?

Here at TECH AFRICA, we supply Zimbabwe with the best Solar Water Pumps. We have partnered with THE PUMP HOUSE on the installation part. With experience that spans over 5 years, they will do a great job to make sure your pump is fully functional.

 

Categories: FAQs
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