CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The Department of Agriculture’s (DA) pilot project, a solar-powered irrigation under the rice program, is set to be inaugurated in May at Barangay Caridad Norte, Llanera, Nueva Ecija.

DA information officer Ozanne Ono Allas said that the Caridad Norte and Sur Solar Powered Irrigation System (SPIS) is the first of its kind in Central Luzon.

“The SPIS is an irrigation system powered by solar energy, instead of fossil fuel or electricity. It consists of one or more solar panels (also known as solar modules or solar plates), a pump, electronic controls or a controller device to operate the pump, storage tank, and conveyance structures,” Allas said.

Allas added that the beneficiary of the project is the Caridad Norte and Sur Irrigators Association (CNSIA) with 125 Nueva Ecija rice farmers.

CNSIA Chairman Roger Bautista thanked Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol through the Department of Agriculture in Central Luzon for awarding them the said project.

“We thank the Department of Agriculture headed by Secretary Manny Pinol because we can now have a second cropping. If there is no irrigation, we will have no income and this solar pump is a big help to us since we will not be using diesel anymore,” said Bautista.

With a project cost of 7.2 million pesos, the technology could irrigate 50 to 65 hectares of rain-fed rice areas and can continuously operate for six hours daily, according to the DA.