The sunlight pump – a Life-Changing Technology for Developing Countries

ennos develops and distributes a highly efficient, portable solar water pump for smallholder irrigation and domestic water supply

Photo of Karin Jeanneret Vezzini
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

ennos ag

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Established (the solution has passed the previous stages and demonstrated success)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $500k - $1m

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 250 - 500

Organization type

  • Social enterprise

Secondary Focus Area

  • Water
  • Rural development
  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • Switzerland

Headquarters location: City

2560 Nidau Switzerland

Location(s) of impact

Kenya Uganda Rwanda Burkina Faso Tanzania Nicaragua Honduras


Facebook URL

Twitter URL

Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

Most smallholder farmers in developing countries still rely on traditional low productivity agricultural practices and on rainfall to cultivate their few acres of land and lack access to water for sanitation & hygiene. Often irrigation is done by hand. A burden that falls mainly on women and girls, a task that often entails long and backbreaking walks. Farmers who have access to diesel pumps face high operating and maintenance costs and CO2 emission. With diesel pumps fields mostly are flooded, meaning waste of water.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Labour time savings thanks to the mechanization and the automatic start/stop of the sunlight pump. After the upfront investment (pump and solar panel), there won't be any further running costs. No maintenance costs for electro-motor and electronic. Very low maintenance costs for pump head. Easy monitoring of the pump performance thanks to ennos App. Less flooding with the sunlight pump which prevents soil cracking, surface water runoff. Lower risk of the well drying out. Break-even compared to acquisition, running and maintenance costs of a diesel pump are achieved after about 1-2 years. After that, the sunlight pump runs for free. We set a high value on production quality, high degree on reliability, high efficiency and longevity of our product. In each target market, we work with selected partners who are familiar with the pump and its installation. Partners offer advices and after sale services to end-users. Our configurator tool on our website assists with setup datas.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

Impacts: ennos provides continuous theoretical and practical training to the local technicians with regard to application, installation, maintenance and repairs of the pump. The know-how transfer contributes to the establishment of a local sector for renewable energy technologies. The sustainable distribution of the pump is only possible, if local partners can build themselves an economic future. By availing the sunlight pump for irrigation, the dependency on rain fall will be reduced and the farming season will increase from 2 to 4, which generates more revenue. With a water tank installed on the roof of or next to the house, the pump can guarantee a continuous water supply in an urban or rural home (independent of unreliable electricity grid). One sunlight pump with a 300 Watt panel can save around 135 liters of diesel a year and around 380 kilograms of C02 if one calculates with a utilization rate of 50%. Production started in August 2017: since then, 400 pumps sold.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

- Bank loan, secured by a guarantee from the Federal Government (Technologiefonds, 60%) - interest-free loans (Bluetec Bridge, Kant. Wirtschaftsförderung Bern; 17.5%) - interest-free loan (Stiftung für technologische Innovation STI / privately liable by principal shareholder; 14%) - shareholders equity (5%) - credit in current account (3.5%) In 2016, the finances for development and distribution were ensured. Since August 2016, partnership with Jain Irrigation ( for production (Technology and License Agreement). Revenues coming from license fees and from sales. ennos should turn into profit in 2019. Since August 2017, 400 pumps sold. Expectations for 2018: more than 2000 units sold (not included sales from Jain in India).

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

For ennos it is of high importance to provide extensive before and after sales services to the end-users – something most competitors will not do. The users need to be supported in the design, installation and use of their solar pumping system in order to make sure that it can be used productively over many years. In order to guarantee these services, a pool of well-trained sales men/women and technicians are established. USP: high efficiency, ennos App for monitoring, ennos configurator

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

The sunlight pump vision is based on the experience of three personalities: Prof. Dr. Andrea Vezzini, from Berne University of Applied Sciences, who was working in India on different projects promoting the University's rich experience in the field of solar powered electric cars. Alois Müller, who was involved in the development of the Tara water pump in Bangladesh and has spent his working life helping small scale farmers improving their productivity through technology. Dr. Urs Heierli, who through his work in the development sector has shown that private initiative, self-help principles and market driven approaches are the key to sustainable development. They connected 2010 and combined their experiences and ideas. In 2016 partnership started with Jain Irrigation (, an Indian multinational company. ‘More Crop Per Drop™’ is their approach to water security and food security

Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?

  • Upon recommendation from others

1 comment

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Photo of Laila Risgallah

wonderful idea specially in countries that have sun all year round