International Journal of
Water Resources and Environmental Engineering

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Water Res. Environ. Eng.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-6613
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJWREE
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 304

Full Length Research Paper

Performance evaluation and economic analysis of solar photo-voltaic water pumping systems: Case of Abakore borehole water supply system in Kenya

James Origa Otieno
  • James Origa Otieno
  • Department of Environmental and Biosystems Engineering, University of Nairobi, P.O.Box 3019 Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Christian Thine Omuto
  • Christian Thine Omuto
  • Department of Environmental and Biosystems Engineering, University of Nairobi, P.O.Box 3019 Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar
Antony Ayub Gitau
  • Antony Ayub Gitau
  • Department of Environmental and Biosystems Engineering, University of Nairobi, P.O.Box 3019 Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 23 January 2018
  •  Accepted: 16 March 2018
  •  Published: 30 September 2018

Abstract

A solar photovoltaic (PV) water pumping system was investigated to determine performance and economic viability. An in-built data logger was used to collect real time data on key performance parameters. Performance indicators were defined and determined, while economic viability was analyzed using life-cycle cost (LCC) method and these costs were compared with a diesel generator pumping system. Solar irradiance varied from 63 W/m2 to a peak of 857 W/m2, corresponding to a maximum power output of 11.75 kW. PV array efficiency of 12.1%, sub-system efficiency of 91.82% and overall efficiency of 5.14% were obtained, which are well comparable to the efficiencies reported elsewhere for similar systems. The LCC analysis showed a 20 year average unit water cost of 0.25 US $/m3 for solar PV system and 0.6 US $/m3 for diesel genset system. Solar PV system is found to be more cost effective and suitable for use over conventional sources.

Key words: Photovoltaics, water pumping, life-cycle cost analysis, efficiency, unit water costs, diesel generator.