Small producers in Chile are reaping the benefits of the sun improving their crops. The Ministry of Energy of Chile and the Foundation for Agricultural Innovation (FIA) of the Ministry of Agriculture, are leading the National Program for Photovoltaic Pumping. They have invested more than 2.2 million dollars for installing more than 1,000 solar panels to benefit small farmers. The project is expected to generate 255,500 watts of power for agriculture throughout the country. These programs are strategic, as the country has few natural resources to produce electricity, and the incorporation of renewable energy provides farmers with stable and sustained irrigation. The solar irrigation guarantees crops will have water, especially in the dry season.

The Chile Foundation also takes advantage of the solar energy, mainly in the Valley of Lluta, and they have pilot projects in the mining camp of El Salvador in Atacama. The desalination technology using solar energy generates the water required for agricultural processes without using much energy. Having more water and more energy means the farmers can have a greater quantity and variety of crops.

Various projects are helping to improve food production processes and, besides using a cheaper energy, they create a difference that can increase the country's competitiveness in the production and quality of this Clean Energy of the 21st century.

These techniques are being promoted and introduced in agricultural schools in Chile, as in the case of the Agricultural School Duao, where students developed and are using the solar energy for educational purposes. This university in Maule installed solar panels so they can water ten acres of onions, allowing students to experience firsthand the benefits and the various applications of clean energy.

Source: Energia Limpia XXI