Men installing solar power panels

Changing how we provide water to communities in need

While donors are most familiar with our hand pump and deep wells, we are encouraging donors to learn about and contribute to our more sustainable Thirst Relief programming, such as our Solar Panel Water and Power Centers.

By Shafaq Zia, Director of Programs, Penny Appeal USA

Billions of people around the world continue to live without safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene services, which are critical for protecting the health and safety of individuals. Access to safe water isn’t the only challenge – countries also have to deal with water pollution, degraded water-related ecosystems, and water scarcity caused by climate change. 

Through Penny Appeal USA’s Thirst Relief programs, we’re providing safe water to enable communities to drink, wash, clean and irrigate their crops as well as hydrate their animals. Our Thirst Relief programs lead to healthier lives, better-educated communities, and a route out of poverty. 

While donors are most familiar with our hand pump and deep wells, we are encouraging donors to learn about and contribute to our more sustainable Thirst Relief programming, such as our Solar Panel Water and Power Centers. 

This amazing technology is a complete facility shared by a village and uses solar energy for its power source. Within a village, we build a water tanker with faucets connected to solar panels. These panels work under low light conditions at reduced power without stalling or overheating. 

With Solar Panel Water and Power Centers, the process is all automated through an internal motor that is powered via the sun’s solar energy. Since the wells are in the sun-drenched desert, there is never a shortage of sunlight and these make great investments because:

  • There is no need for fuel or electricity, making the wells ideal for rural communities
  • There is low maintenance cost and easy to operate
  • The panels, converters, and batteries that store the energy can survive up to 25 years, therefore, ensuring the sustainability of water access

The purpose of the solar wells is to provide safe drinking water through solar energy which will provide a water supply to public places through pipes and gravity. By allowing accessible water supply to local public places, women and children no longer have to walk miles to access water from neighboring villages. 

While these do require a higher investment ($30,000 per Center), building this structure ensures long-term safety and clean drinking water for the whole community! Traditional Wells require women and children to spend hours pulling levies to fetch water. Fetching water in the > 100°F weather is extremely exhausting for women and children, who are often burdened with the task. 

Solar Wells automate the process, supplying electricity to an internal motor that pulls water up from beneath the ground with the simple turn of a faucet, supplying more people with clean water in less time. Both women and children now have time to focus on other priorities! Children can spend more time learning, while women can tend to their vegetation and other forms of economic independence. 

Moreover, traditional Wells are often “open” tops, causing dirt to infect the water which could lead to water-borne diseases. Our solar-powered wells are “closed” meaning nothing (and nobody) can fall into the water system accidentally.

Finally, runoff from the Solar Powered Well System collects in a pool directly outside the gates of the facility, allowing animals to drink from it and for it to be used to feed villagers’ crops. 

These incredible feats of engineering not only provide running water to the homes of up to 1,500 people and 1,000 livestock but also supply electricity and power to schools and places of worship as well. Placed in desert areas, the Solar Water Panel and Power Center can fill a reservoir that holds three days’ worth of water to ensure they don’t go without it on those cloud-covered days.

It’s a humanitarian’s dream come true! You can learn more about our Solar Panel Water and Power Centers on our website