EFIC has finalised financing for BP Solar Pty Ltd’s A$21.2mn project to supply 5,000 Australian-made, solar-powered drip irrigation systems to the Sri Lankan ministry of agriculture, livestock, land and irrigation. Working with Citibank, who funded the project, EFIC provided a A$18.3mn guarantee to the bank.


The project will be implemented by the Sri Lankan ministry of agriculture, livestock, land and irrigation through an outreach programme designed to supply low-cost irrigation kits to farmers to increase crop yields while conserving water and energy.


BP Solar is one of the world’s leading solar electric manufacturers. The supply of the irrigation systems is the first stage of a two-phase contract potentially valued at US$42.5mn.


“This is the first time the world has seen a solar-powered drip irrigation system being used on such a large scale. And in light of recent events, it is good to know that this project will positively impact the people of Sri Lanka,” says Les Poole, director, large projects for BP Solar.


According to Poole, 5,100 Sri Lankan families will benefit from the first phase of this project. Additionally, installation of the new irrigation systems will result in a reduction in the fossil fuel alternatives currently used, soil erosion associated with previous flood irrigation methods and the dangers associated with transporting and running kerosene fuelled pumps.


“EFIC has worked with BP Solar and its overseas buyers in the past on a number of projects providing solar-powered homes and community lighting in remote areas of Sri Lanka, Indonesia and the Philippines. We are pleased that we were able to assist BP Solar with such a worthwhile endeavour,” says Peter Swan, director, Structured Trade & Project Finance for EFIC.