|Fig. 1: A solar water pump. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)|
Following its 2011 split with oil-rich counterpart South Sudan, Sudan has been seeking new sources of energy to reduce reliance on its now markedly-reduced oil reserves. Due to the oil losses, the nation is looking to diversify its power production capabilities from its sizable reliance on oil, preferring renewables if possible, according to investment minister Mubarak Al-Fadil. 
Agriculture, which in 2006 constituted 39% of the country's gross domestic product, is an industry that has recently come under threat as well.  The country's Minister of Environment, Forestry and Physical Development, Hassan Abdel-Gadir Hilal, outlined the threat that climate change poses to vital industries such as agriculture in the country's National Adaptation Plan. Worries include increasingly severe flooding and droughts/desertification, which will only serve to intensify ongoing food insecurity.  Electricity is essential to Sudan's agriculture industry, notably for irrigation purposes. About 30% of the Sudanese population has access to electricity, and this is mainly in urban areas due to the nation's inadequate national power grid. 
In a bid to improve power infrastructure and aid both its citizens and agriculture industry, Sudan has decided to move forward and increase investment in renewable energy, notably solar power. The country's geography makes it a great candidate to leverage solar power, since solar radiation intensity is high. A study researching the feasibility of solar irrigation pumps as a renewable energy application found that the levelized energy cost for photovoltaic solar water pumps, which have the advantage of using direct and indirect solar radiation, was .033 $/kWh in their study's base case.  These pumps have arrays of cells that convert the radiation into direct current electricity. 
Currently, Sudan's government has partnered with the United Nations Development Program to replace diesel water pumps with solar-powered water pumps. The project, which began in 2015, looks to install 1422 pumps, like the one shown in Fig. 1, through 2019.  Other efforts to expand solar energy infrastructure within the country include the development of new solar farms. The country is now in discussions with Scatec Solar to build what would be the countrys largest solar power farm, at a capacity of 400 MW, with initial cost estimates sitting at $450 million. Other efforts to expand solar energy infrastructure within the country include the development of new solar farms. The country is now in discussions with Scatec Solar to build what would be the country's largest solar power farm, at a capacity of 400 MW, with initial cost estimates sitting at $450 million.
Recent developments within Sudan have the country well on its way toward addressing its underutilization of solar power. Increased investment in solar water pumps and farms will ease electric shortages afflicting the country, and promote a more sustainable, climate-friendly energy source, improving agricultural productivity and quality of life for the country's citizens.
© Ahmed Mustafa. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.
 L. Karagiannopoulos, "Sudan in Talks with Norway's Scatec Solar to Build Solar Farm," Reuters, 3 Nov 17.
 Ali, Babkir, "Comparative Assessment of the Feasibility for Solar Irrigation Pumps in Sudan," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 81, 413 (2018).
 "National Adaptation Plan," Republic of the Sudan, July 2016.
 A. M. Omer,"Renewable Energy Resources for Electricity Generation in Sudan," Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 11, 1481 (2007).
 A. O. Elzubeir, "Solar Energy in Northern State (Sudan): Current State and Prospects," Am. J. Modern Energy 2, 31 (2016).