Photograph courtesy iDE

Great Energy Challenge Innovator: International Development Enterprises (iDE)

Project: Renewable energy-powered irrigation pump for subsistence farmers

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal

Summary: iDE is scaling up production of its Clean Irrigation System (CIS), which is a renewable-powered pumping technology that is affordable to low-income subsistence farmers in developing countries. iDE aspires to create a system which will provide accurate and rapid feedback to the design, deployment, and marketability of the CIS technology. Working with the Great Energy Challenge will give iDE the opportunity to invest in a holistic two-method approach to improve and accelerate the design team's understanding of the end user's interaction with the CIS. The first method will be to utilize modern sensor technology to remotely and continuously monitor pump performance, meteorological factors, and farmer use patterns. The second method will be to apply Human Centered Design (HCD) tools to improve our understanding of customer needs and preferences.

iDE believes this approach will create a rapid and effective design feedback that will improve product performance, reliability, adaptability and marketability; ultimately allowing the technology to more rapidly reach a global scale.

Goal: To further the development of a practical, affordable, dependable, and desirable solar pump for subsistence farmers in developing countries

Project Participants:

International Development Enterprises (iDE)

  • Ryan Weber, irrigation engineer
  • Sarah Nuernberger, product development specialist
  • Bob Nanes, vice president of technology and innovation


  • Toby Hammond, managing director

PRACTICA Foundation

  • Gert Jan Bom, senior technical engineer

The Great Energy Challenge grant program, in collaboration with a distinguished group of scientists acting as the board of advisors, awards roughly a half-dozen grants per year. The goal of the grant program is to hasten the growth of promising, global energy solutions as a response to climate change, energy resource constraints and environmental limitations.

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