Shell Solar and WorldWater claim world's largest solar irrigation pump

The world's first solar-powered 50 horsepower irrigation pump was unveiled at a commissioning ceremony Thursday at the D.T. Locke Ranch in Mendota, west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

Mar 27th, 2003

CAMARILLO, Calif., March 27, 2003 -- The world's first solar-powered 50 horsepower irrigation pump was unveiled at a commissioning ceremony Thursday at the D.T. Locke Ranch in Mendota, west side of the San Joaquin Valley.

The proprietary state-of-the-art solar irrigation pump system -- the only one of its size in the world -- provides several benefits for agriculture, including a "clean air" alternative energy source such as solar electric, utilizing Shell Solar panels, for pumping groundwater, as well as long-term economic savings in energy costs.

"This project we've done with WorldWater is very unique in that it has a dual function -- it is grid-connected, and if the grid fails, the solar will power the pumps when the sun shines," stated Raju Yenamandra, director of sales for Shell Solar.

"This system can play a key role in the long-term viability of California's great agricultural industry," said Quentin Kelly, president and CEO of WorldWater Corporation, designer and builder of the system.

"Solar power offers farmers an alternative energy source that is reliable, affordable and clean, which is a significant plus for air quality in the San Joaquin Valley."

Joining WorldWater Executives Dr. Guy Phillips, president and CEO of WorldWater's West Coast division, WorldWater-California, and Kelly at the event was California Energy Commissioner Robert Pernell.

Also participating in the event were California Farm Bureau President Bill Pauli and International Center for Water Technology Director Dr. David Zoldoske.

The event showcased WorldWater Corp.'s hybrid solar water pumping system, "AquaMax™," which features a 108-foot-long solar array that captures the sun's energy to power a three-phase 36-kilowatt, 50-horsepower irrigation pump.

The controller converts solar DC current to AC, which powers the pump from either the solar array or from the electrical grid, or from both sources in combination if necessary.

The proprietary system works in automatic coordination with the electric grid, causing the electric meter to "spin" backwards, called net metering, when the self-generating electricity isn't used in the field.

Because of its independent energy-producing abilities, the system provides farmers with an energy source for continued irrigation during an electrical black- or brown- out.

The Mendota system also provides solar energy to power the nearby farm shop, a house and domestic water well.

The AquaMax™ system offers a whole new approach and a significant change in the economics, as well as the air quality of irrigation and power pumping for farms, ranches, dairies, water districts and food processing companies, said Kelly.

WorldWater Corporation is a solar engineering and water management engineering company active in the U.S. developing countries around the world.

In addition to designing, developing and marketing solar technology, WorldWater Corporation's full-service management capabilities include advising and supplying farms, dairies, ranches and water authorities on all phases of the water cycle, from finding to pumping to delivering this precious resource.

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