According to the United Nations Human Development Report, more than 1.1 billion people have inadequate access to clean water. This number is growing, making access to fresh water an increasingly critical problem to be addressed, particularly in developing nations where electrical infrastructure is not available. Innovative solutions to help solve this problem have become a necessity, and one such solution is the Universal Solar Pump Controller (USPC), a unique “gridless” pump-controlling technology that converts solar energy to electricity for powering pumping devices.
The USPC, developed by AeroVironment, Inc. (AV), helps provide water to regions that have little or no grid-tied electricity. In the East African Republic of Uganda, much of the country remains unconnected to the electrical grid, and in the town of Kitgum, more than 300 kilometers north of Kampala, the capital of Uganda, the USPC provides water to the community using solar generated electricity.
The Austrian firm BBM built the solar water pumping stations for the town of Kitgum. AV’s USPC was selected to drive the water pumps, and two 10,000-Watt USPC units are now helping to provide Kitgum with fresh water daily. One is installed at the Kitgum Technical Institute, and this system now pumps more than 26,500 gallons of water per day. Another unit is deployed in a system that yields some 15,850 gallons daily at the Y.Y. Okot Memorial College.