Regional Forum

Solar Irrigation for Agricultural Resilience (SoLAR) in South Asia, a four-year project spanning from December 2019 to November 2023, is a new regional partnership program of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and other national partners in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. The project aims to sustainably manage the water-energy-climate interlinkages in South Asia by promoting solar irrigation pumps (SIPs). The project’s primary goal is to contribute to climate-resilient, gender and socially inclusive agrarian livelihoods in South Asia by supporting national government efforts to promote solar irrigation. In the process, the project will also pave the way for sustainable and equitable groundwater governance by tackling some of the policy distortions, such as perverse electricity subsidies, which have created the current negative interlinkages between water and energy sectors in South Asia. Many government and non-government stakeholders are involved in this project to implement targets and activities in the four countries smoothly.

Energizing Agriculture and Enabling Just Energy Transitions in South Asia

SoLAR Regional Knowledge Forum 2023 

Agriculture remains critical for livelihoods and food security in South Asia. Over the last 50 years, agriculture in the region has become more energy-intensive due to the rapid proliferation of groundwater irrigation. The region is home to nearly 25-30 million agricultural pumps, the largest worldwide. These pumps, powered by either dirty diesel or electricity, have been critical for enhancing agricultural production and supporting livelihoods, but cause substantial carbon emissions in the process. Replacing these fossil fuel-based pumps with solar irrigation pumps (SIPs) is an effective mitigation strategy. While agriculture is a source of emissions that causes climate change, the sector is also highly exposed and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As such, climate action in agriculture needs strategies that combine adaptation and mitigation actions. Just Energy Transition is one such strategy, which involves moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, while not compromising the adaptive capacity of the farmers.

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), with other partner organizations, is hosting a Regional Knowledge Forum on Energizing Agriculture and Enabling Just Energy Transitions in South Asia. This event is a part of IWMI’s project titled Solar Irrigation for Agricultural Resilience in South Asia (SoLAR), funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Theme 1: Solarizing Smallholder Irrigation: Policy landscape and empirical evidence of the impact of solar irrigation pumps (SIPs) on farmers’ incomes and livelihoods
Theme 2: Conserving Groundwater Through Solar Irrigation: Empirical evidence and future projections
Theme 3: Connecting Off-Grid to the Grid: Pilots and lessons from grid-connected solar irrigation projects.
Theme 4: Renewable Energy in Agricultural Value Chains: Institutional models, policies, and case studies on livelihoods and impacts
Theme 5: Making Energy Transitions Inclusive and Equitable: Is renewable energy transition in South Asia GESI (gender, equity, and social inclusiveness) compatible?


Agenda Booklet

Concept note

Event Presentations and Recordings

Date(s):  February 06 to 08, 2023 

Location: Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IIT-GN), Gujarat

Event photographs






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