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Imperial College spin-out wins funds to develop solar pumps in India

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Oorja Development Solutions, a spin-out company from Imperial College London in the UK, has been awarded $100,000 (€89,000) to develop solar pumping systems in rural India.

The company was named the winner of this year’s Cisco Global Problem Solver Challenge for its work developing and operating pay-as-you-go community solar pumping systems in India.

Oorja, which was co-founded by Imperial College’s Dr Clementine Chambon from the Department of Chemical Engineering and social entrepreneur Amit Saraogi, is attempting to tackle energy poverty in rural farming communities by installing energy systems to power livelihoods.

The company provides solar-powered irrigation systems as an alternative to diesel pumps, which can be expensive and unreliable.

Once they’ve been installed, solar pumps are virtually free to operate and water is available year-round, which enables farmers to plant a wider range of crops, helping boost yields by up to 50%.

Since Oorja was established in 2016, the company has run three successful community solar pump pilot projects in the Uttar Pradesh region of India, with a service now planned for launch in Assam.