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Sustainable water pumping in refugee camps: costs and benefits of over-sized solar PV systems

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conference contribution
posted on 12.02.2018, 15:11 by Brendon Harkness, Peter Guthrie, Murray Burt
Residents of refugee camps often face challenges to accessing efficient energy for domestic needs and livelihoods. This paper presents a case study from Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in Tanzania, where a water pumping system was powered by a solar PV / diesel hybrid system, and considers optimising energy generation and valuing surplus energy, so the surplus can be utilised to provide social benefits to residents. The results provide validation of solar energy data sources and projected PV installation costs, and show the marginal capital cost/kWh of over-sizing a solar PV system is attractive beyond 50% surplus capacity where cost/kWh levels slightly below $0.10/kWh. The proposed sustainability assessment framework includes new parameters; Gross Productive Energy (GPe) and Productive Energy Index (PeI), which provide a means of quantifying surplus energy utilisation, and examples successfully assessed included school computers, mobile handset charging, and an ‘enterprise hub’ building which could support social cohesion, knowledge transfer and income generation initiatives.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

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  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


HARKNESS, B., GUTHRIE, P. and BURT, M., 2017. Sustainable water pumping in refugee camps: costs and benefits of over-sized solar PV systems. IN: Shaw, R.J. (ed). Local action with international cooperation to improve and sustain water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services: Proceedings of the 40th WEDC International Conference, Loughborough, UK, 24-28 July 2017, Paper 2623, 7pp.


© WEDC, Loughborough University


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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