Activism Sunwater

Published on May 15th, 2013 | by Priti Ambani


Paul Polak & Team Crowdfund To Bring Solar Pumps to Low-Income Farmers

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SunwaterPaul Polak is an internationally acclaimed social entrepreneur who wants to eradicate poverty using business and technology. He is the author of the book Out of Poverty and founded International Development Enterprises, an NGO that ended poverty for 17 million people. Now, Paul and his team is working on empowering low-income farmers with reliable irrigation systems.


Did you know that there are a billion people in the world that make just $2 a day? The vast majority of the families who live this reality are farmers in the developing world with small plots of land. They make just enough to survive and have difficulty investing in labor-saving equipment.

To break out of the poverty cycle, poor farmers need to grow cash crops to increase their income. Cash crops are irrigation intensive and farmers need a reliable, low-cost water pumping system to grow the extra food they need to make a poverty-busting profit.

Irrigation systems are expensive and incur maintenance costs. In addition diesel or electric pumps are both expensive and unreliable. Electric pumps can alternatively be powered with solar energy, but current systems can cost $5,000 or more, which is way out of the reach of poor farmers.


Paul Polak is working with a team of experienced design, construction and solar professionals. They want to build a cost effective solar water pump and system that will help improve the lives of 50 million people in developing countries. The solar pump is the key component of a complete water-to-crops irrigation system that is being designed by leading experts in the fields of irrigation, systems engineering, and solar energy. Using a method proven by Paul Polak, the system will be sold to farmers in some of the poorest regions in the world, enabling the farmers themselves to break their poverty cycles.

The team has the designs, the prototypes, and the motivation. Now they are crowdfunding to build a production model to take to field tests – Read more about the project here support the efforts-


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About the Author

Hi there! I am Priti and I specialize in strategy and communications for impact organizations that aim to create social, environmental and economic wealth for all stakeholders. Working from the ground up, I help these do-gooders craft effective programs for community engagement, outreach and profitability. Follow my work covering do-gooders, cleanweb, start-ups and Web 2.0 businesses on Ecopreneurist and at Crowdsourcing Week. I enjoy traveling with my boys, cooking up a gourmet meal from scratch and entertaining! Join my community for Social Entrepreneurs on G+ Follow me on Twitter, on LinkedIn and Google+

7 Responses to Paul Polak & Team Crowdfund To Bring Solar Pumps to Low-Income Farmers

  1. This a great news Priti! I can imagine how many lives will be touched by this project. Let’s all hope and aim for the best and the success of this project!

  2. Great effort and I hope this is really attracting more sponsorship!

    As a cooling note:

    What is the ground- well-water temperature of this watering?

    Could there be some pre-cooling or pre-heating or even a small refrigeration for Hot Water system receiving the water BEFORE it is watering…?

    If an efficient use of a refrigerator could be in train:
    a few GREENEST GeoThermal Full HW 100% and one patented heat reclaim in INSTANT HW.

  3. Pingback: Crowdfunding Solar Pumps For Low-Income Farmers | CleanTechnica

  4. Pingback: Crowdfunding Solar Pumps For Low-Income Farmers - Cleantech Reporter

  5. Pingback: Paul Polak & Team Crowdfund To Bring Solar Pumps to Low-Income Farmers | evolveSUSTAIN

  6. andy harris says:

    A billion people living on $2 dollars a day…that figure is almost too surreal to be imagined and yet it’s a reality that exists. Thanks to Paul Polak, hoping for the best for this project man. Thanks Priti for sharing this with us.

  7. Pingback: Solar Pumps help Low-Income Farmers | Clothes Drive America

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