The Economic and Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy in the Agricultural Sector: The Case of Morocco
Keywords:Solar energy; Groundwater; Emissions; Subsidy, Morocco
The main purpose of this research was to analyse the potential of solar panels to replace both LPG (butane gas cylinders) and diesel currently used in Morocco for agricultural irrigation. A swap would help Morocco to conserve the environment by using cleaner energy, as well as moving towards meeting Morocco’s emission targets. For this purpose, we surveyed 112 farmers in two Moroccan regions, Sidi El Aidi and Fquih Ben Salah. We found that pumping one cubic meter of groundwater with solar energy was in average 33.3% cheaper in Sidi El Aidi, and 60.6% cheaper in Fquih Ben Salah than pumping using LPG.
Net present value estimates suggest that investing in solar panels is profitable. Environmental analysis suggested that switching from LPG or diesel to solar energy would save the equivalent amount of energy used by 13–25 million 60-W electric bulbs per year. The government, farmers and the environment would gain by replacing LPG with solar energy. However, once solar panels are installed, pumping cost is virtually zero. Farmers may be tempted to overuse irrigation water, and consequently accelerate the depletion of groundwater. Implementing groundwater regulations to control the amount of groundwater pumped should precede any government program intended to promote solar energy.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Roberto Ariel Telleria Juárez, Hassane Serghini Idrissi, Ampaitepin Singhabhandhu, Aden Aw-Hassan, • Abdelali Laamari
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