Solar Pumping Technology by Franklin Electric Proves Itself in Africa

Published on April 22, 2014

Though the Kampani School and Clinic in the Zimbabwe’s remote Tsholotsho District aren’t far from the world famous Victoria Falls, it had been twenty years since either had a reliable source of fresh drinking water. Women and children walked an average of seven miles a day to haul surface water by bucket—and many of the clinic’s patients suffered from water-borne diseases. That all dramatically changed in 2013 when Franklin Electric’s Franklin Wells for the World Foundation (FWWF) installed five wells in the region powered by Franklin’s innovative new SubDrive SolarPAK pumping system. Now more than 12,000 people—many for the first time in their lives—have easy access to clean water.

According to Franklin CEO Scott Trumbull, “Five thousand children a day die in Africa of water-borne diseases. But that problem could be solved if they could get to the aquifers 200 feet under their feet. We established Franklin Wells for the World Foundation in 2009 to address that problem.”

Since then, FWWF has installed wells in Kenya, Sudan, Botswana and Zimbabwe using Franklin’s proven submersible pump systems powered by diesel generators. With the introduction of the new SubDrive SolarPAK in 2012, Franklin saw an opportunity to make new FWWF installations even more efficient and reliable.

“With the SubDrive SolarPAK system there are no moving parts other than the highly reliable pump that is 200 feet underground,” explains Trumbull, “So it will be a much longer lasting solution for those communities.”

In fact, SubDrive SolarPAK technology gives water pump installers and users the option to use solar as the power source on virtually any 4” well. The rugged, high-output system is capable of a wide range of applications, including irrigation systems, tank and cistern filling, renewable energy projects and rural water supply for villages, cottages and homesteads. Thanks to the SolarPAK’s variable frequency drive (VFD), the pump produces water even on cloudy days or with minimal sunlight.

Besides the Kampani School and clinic, FWWF also installed new wells at the nearby Jabulani, Jakalasi, Mpindo and Zigo schools. Because the SubDrive SolarPAK system is designed to deliver higher flow rates than most existing solar powered products, each one of the new Zimbabwe installations is able to fill large, above-ground water tanks at the rate of 5,000 to 10,000 liters a day.

“Each one of those will provide enough water for drinking, bathing and garden irrigation,” says FWWF Project Leader Attie Jonker. “For many of the people in the region—especially the children—that’s literally the difference between life and death.”

To view a video of the applications by Franklin Wells for the World in Africa narrated by Scott Trumbull, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVgOS38TL_I

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