Case study

FREDDAS Renewable energy sources for the Senegal River Valley sustainable development




The project aims to promote a sustainable development of the Rural Communities of Bokhol and Gouriki, in pre-desert area along the Senegal River. 60 ha of new crops, with drip irrigation, that allows a renewable use of water resources, powered by power pumps connected with an innovative integrated diesel-photovoltaic system.

Project Description

In rural Senegal, access to water, and conducting sustainable agriculture, are major challenges for local communities, particularly women. The project’s goal is to create a model of economically durable, and environmentally sustainable, agricultural development for people living in the Senegal River valley, increasing their access to, and conservation of, water. The project concentrates on gender equality issues, giving women chances for advancement in Senegalese society. Water scarcity in Senegal is due not only to climactic reasons but also the management of water, education of people and technologies used to access water.The project main goal is to promote a lasting and environmentally sustainable economic development of the population living in the Senegal River Valley by fostering employment and the increase of arable land. It includes the farming of about 60 hectares of un-cropped lands nearby Senegal River, in order to cover food needs by using renewable energy sources (solar and wind energy) for the pumping of irrigation water which represents an important competitive advantage thanks to lower energetic costs for soil irrigation, located in pre-desert areas.The project specific goals is to Increase beneficiary income and job creation by promoting a sustainable, balanced and lasting model of agricultural development of unused land with reduced and moderated use of the hydric resource coming from the Senegal River.


Direct beneficiaries are the 900 persons (500 women and 400 men) for whom additional jobs are planned, which meet the increasing demand for employment and in contrast with the important phenomena of migratory flows. Particular attention is paid to women employment promotion in Kanel Department.


The project contributes to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, in particular, sections: 1.A) Reduce the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day by half; 1.B) Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and youth; 7.A) Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources. This project model in the Gouriki Samba Diom and Bokhol villages, in these areas, will recover 60 hectares of wasteland for cultivation,complementing local food security and bringing economic benefits to agricultural workers. Solar panels covering 500 square metres will be installed, capable of producing 250,000 kw of electricity per year, and allowing farmers to reduce reliance on diesel-powered water pumps, in turn bringing about a 35% reduction in total production costs, and potential zero CO2 emissions. Results: 1. increased the availability of alimentary commodities, of the income and of the occupation for the beneficiary of the project, through the mass to crop of 60 new it environmentally has of uncultivated ground in way and emphatically sustainable. 2 - decreased the surface of the area of Matam, the water budget made sustainable, reseted l.uso of fuels fossils for lifting water (I don't use of 3 diesel pomps from 30 KW), decreased the quantity of CO2 for the next 25 years To these objectives a bystander it adds sprung in phase of realization: 3. realized a houses study on the economic convenience of the systems of pumping photovoltaic of power in comparison to the traditional diesel systems.

Business Model

Despite all the progresses achieved in the past few years in terms of economic development, with 5% of annual GDP growth, Senegal remains a poor country. The current food crisis (partly caused by the increasing demand on cereals), the lower yield rate and the increase of production costs (because of the high price of oil) generated riots all over the country. This led to the reduction of lands dedicated to subsistence farming as productive lands remained unused because of the lack of resources. Considering 42 he used by 500 beneficiary families in Kanel area, the installation of “drop by drop” irrigation system (PV + Diesel) allows to save 40.000 € diesel per year. The surplus from marketing of vegetables cultivated on this lands is assessable around 240.000 € per year. Thanks to this diesel saving, the beneficiaries are able to sustain the installed system future maintenance (around 3500 € per year) as the Pv up-grade to expand it on adjoining hectares.

Lessons Learnt

A deep analysis of demands and land agricultural specificity has allowed to define an appropriate plant design and its optimization. It permits to meet the need of irrigation for three cropping periods per year as to use energy produced by PV System, in lower demand period, for others important purpose like cold store for horticultural products storage. A careful design along with the choice of of high efficiency and quality components, have shown that renewables resources already ensure access to energy for rural communities at a significantly lower price than the diesel motor pump current cost. In addition to that, it is important to stress the huge environmental, occupational and social benefits that may result from the opening of a significant photovoltaic off-grid market across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Key Feature

The pumping system installed in the project FREDDAS framework represents a replicable virtuous model of economically and environmentally sustainable technology. Because of its goals of perennation and replicability, the project has involved several local partners, including institutional ones, at all stages: University of Saint Louis, CFP, CNTS, Ministry of Agriculture; In particular, nine young graduates from the Department of Physics 'University Gaston Berger, coordinated by the Department Director, have been trained and directly involved in the design phase, installation and monitoring of the two plants. Their shift working will ensure plants proper functioning even at the end of the project FREDDAS

Other significant information

The photovoltaic-diesel mix power system, more economically advantageous and easier to manage than traditional diesel motor pump, constitutes the innovative aspect of the technology used. The powers involved are absolutely new for Western Sub-Saharan Africa. Two immersed pumps 40 kw (Gouriki site) and three surface pumps 18 kw (Senegal River, in Bokol site) are joined to the electrical generation mixed system through adjustable speed inverter with constant pressure control. Pv strings and diesel generator are connected in parallel and a control system decides, according to available solar radiation and load request, when to integrate energy production with diesel. Low electric storage batteries compensate for slight variations in solar radiation, in order to minimize diesel generator action.

Main Donor


Implementing Actor

Green Cross Italia- ENEA (NGOs)