Solar pump brings running water to a Gambian school

Mono's UK sales manager Mark Viner was part of a team to visit Gambia and install a solar pump in a school. Here he explains

Pump manufacturer Mono NOV has teamed up with Southlands High School in Chorley, Lancashire, to bring running water to a school in Gambia.

The project was developed by teachers and pupils at Southlands, who raised enough money to buy one of Mono's solar pumps. These are designed to run in remote locations, where electric and diesel power is unavailable.

Mono sent a team out to Gambia to install the Sun-Sub system, PC pump and control panel, accompanied by teachers and pupils from Southlands. Within a week, they were able to bring running water to Bijilo Lower Basic School to vastly improve sanitation in the staff toilets and near the children's latrines, as well as water for its kitchen garden. Three standpipes were also installed to provide water for the local community.

Previously, the gruelling task of pumping and transporting water to the garden had been the responsibility of the school children. Several times a day, they were required to walk to a pump to collect water and then carry it back to the garden in a bucket.

Before their trip to The Gambia, the group of pupils from Southlands High School visited Mono's manufacturing facility to learn more about how a Mono pump is made, how it works and how the company is using this innovative technology to help other African countries.

The Sun-Sub, which incorporates a range of technically advanced features, consists of four main units - a solar array, a controller, a submersible brushless DC motor and a positive displacement pump.

The system utilises solar modules, which are manufactured from high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon cells. These modules can be mounted on a stationary array but are more frequently mounted on a global positioning satellite (GPS) tracking array, which is designed to track the sun throughout the day.

The GPS tracking array ensures that the solar panels are always facing the sun and the GPS sensor provides precise latitude, longitude and time (operating on GMT), enabling the controller to always position the solar array correctly. The GPS system is so effective, it can produce 30% more water per day.

The Sun-Sub will only pump as long as water is needed and will stop once tanks and troughs are full, preventing wastage of water or excess wear of the pump. It also returns to its starting point at the end of the day, ready for dawn the next day and will continue to track the sun even in overcast conditions, waiting for a break in the clouds.

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