I am 31 year old Yacouba Toussaint from the village of River Sallee, St. Patrick, Grenada West Indies. I attended the Mac Donald College high school (1997-2002), and then moved on to T. A. Marryshow Community College (2002-2004) where I studied Electronics.
My primary business is agriculture, therefore I am an agripreneur. I run a farm in my village. The project I propose is the conversion of a fossil fuel sustained irrigation system to a sustainable Grid-connected Solar PV renewable energy system. The irrigation system will be all electronic, the electronic water pump which in will send water to a storage tank. The water is then distributed to the crops via drip irrigation lines.
This Grid-connected Solar PV renewable energy system will be used primarily for agriculture. The way this system works is: during the day, the production of the solar and wind energy is usually higher than the consumption on the farm. As a consequence, the excess electricity is fed into the utility power line, i.e. one gives electricity to the public power company (GRENLEC) in Grenada – the meter spins backwards. During the night, the solar energy is absent but the wind turbines will still produce energy. In a case where the system produces no electricity from wind or the sun the required electricity will be taken from the power line, i.e. one gets back electricity from the public power company the meter spins forwards. At the end of the month the electricity bill is reduced by the amount of electricity generated by the solar and wind turbine system – and that translates directly into savings. These systems will be used primarily for sustaining agricultural systems, like electronic irrigation.
I have already set up the drip irrigation system which is currently sustained by a gas driven water pump which is unsustainable and expensive to operate and maintain by myself. Now I am seeking finance to convert the system to sustainable a Hybrid Grid tie wind & solar PV renewable energy system.
The energy conservation measures which I want to apply to my irrigation system can be applied to various other systems which require electric power, for domestic and commercial use. The foremost concern facing the agricultural sector, even in Grenada, is the high cost of energy. Furthermore, energy produced by the use of fossil fuel releases excessive amounts of GHG emissions which contribute greatly to climate change. As a result, at the current rate of emission, plant and human life would be unsustainable in the next century.
This project is realistic and sustainable, and will curb the first problem by creating a cheaper, alternative source of energy and will address the second problem by sustaining agricultural ventures without the large carbon footprint. The application of this innovation in the agriculture sector will ultimately reduce the cost of production and will encourage the growth of agriculture locally and around the world. Increased production will create a higher demand for labour, fostering employment opportunities in my community for young men & women thus creating a positive socio-economic impact in the community.
The idea of farming in an environmentally friendly way was founded from one main experience in my childhood. As a child, I spent a lot of time watching a television show entitled “Captain Planet” in which the protagonist, Captain Planet, fought incessantly to save the environment. This inspired me to want to play my part to preserve our natural environment.
Coupled with this, my love for electronics fuelled me to construct electronic devices, one of which was a miniature wind turbine to generate electricity. Consequently I want to convert a part of my farm to use an eco-friendly renewable energy system that would be able to sustain my farming venture’s irrigation needs. Once I have converted, I will encourage more farmers to convert existing gas and diesel drive irrigation pumps, creating a better environment in the community as this system produces minimal (GHG) greenhouse gasses emission, thus providing a clean, renewable source of energy for agricultural uses.
The most impressive feature of this system, as I have indicated, is its inconsequential GHG footprint. It is more appealing than fossil fuel energy systems because it significantly reduces pollution and increases economic growth. This system combats climate change in a three-fold manner: by reducing GHG emissions, conserving energy and increasing energy and food security. This will give the farmers the power to grow and expand at a faster rate due to the low energy costs.
The only disadvantage is the small percentages of GHG which are released during manufacturing and maintenance of wind turbines and solar panel. Emissions associated with generating electricity from solar and wind technologies are negligible because no fossil fuels are combusted. The wind turbines and solar panels, themselves, do not emit GHGs while they are producing electricity so there is no carbon footprint created directly by their operation. Systems like these are the future of agriculture and of the planet. If everyone comes onto the renewable energy train, then our planet’s future will be secure.
The first step at this point is seeking to finance a Hybrid Grid tie wind & solar PV renewable energy system. Upon receiving that financing I will prepare specifications and drawings of the system. Then the system would be ordered and installed at which point it will start producing crops.
The measurable success factors to my project are to obtain finance for the project; to set up a Hybrid Grid tie wind & solar PV renewable energy system; to connect the electrical water pump. We will than start producing crops, and monitor and evaluate the economic impact of locally produced food for the project members and in the long run on the country’s economy in relation to imports.
I will also offer some teaching time for other farmers who want to learn how to convert to carbon free energy systems and educate them about climate smart agriculture.
Line- Items Cost USD Time Frame
Solar PV Renewable energy system……….………………………$4400.00 Week 1- 8
Site Preparation ……………………………………………………$125.00 Week 6 – 8
Solar PV Renewable energy system installation ….……………….…$325.00 Week 9-11
Maintenance, Monitoring & evaluation of system…………………$150.00 Week 12- 52
Total Cost (USD)………………………………………………….$5000.00