plan 456Cambodia SOLAR WASHOBA Pilot

Summary

The Cambodia SOLAR WASH Pilot aims to address the issues of potable water for households in challenging environmental areas in Kampot province. Currently EMW is working in this area on sanitation from funding supported by the Gates Foundation. Thus, to

  • Thumb_fcubed

Background

Cambodia has one of the lowest rates of access to improved water and sanitation in the Southeast Asia region and is heavily reliant on donor finance. In fact, access to rural clean water and sanitation is only at 58% and 20% respectively (WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Report, 2010). Among the difficulties in working in rural clean water and sanitation including reliable electricity and related increasing costs, there is the concern of households located in challenging environments where the cost of developing a water system is often cost-prohibitive. Consistent with the Ministry of Rural Development’s (MRD) comprehensive and ambitious strategy for 2010-2015 Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene, many stakeholders in the WASH sector are looking for innovative solutions to not only increase water and sanitation access, but also focus on capacity building and strengthening institutional arrangements, particularly between public-private partnerships, with expected expansion of services to follow from 2015.

Location

, , Cambodia

Attachments

  • Doc Final_Re...
  • Docx Attachme...
  • Docx Attachme...

Focus

Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Households
Secondary Focus: Drinking Water - Schools

People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 500

School Children Getting Water: 250

People Getting Sanitation: 0

People Getting Other Benefits: 500

Application Type: Project Funding

Start Date: 2013-02-04

Completion Date: 2014-02-03

Technology Used:

SOLAR WASHOBA Approach
In the spirit of piloting sustainable rural clean water access, the East Meets West Foundation (EMW), a US-based INGO with over 24 years of international development experience with operations in Cambodia since 2008 is partnering with the Kampot Province Department of Rural Development (Kampot PDRD) to spur potable clean water access for households located in challenging environments using solar powered household systems called the Cambodia SOLAR WASHOBA Pilot (Pilot) over a 12-month period to reach 2 schools and 100 households, approximately 1,000 people in total, in a challenging environment area of Kampot.

One of the key features of the Cambodia SOLAR WASHOBA Pilot is its use of US$160 reimbursement subsidy, about half the total cost of the Fcubed household system. This feature is built-in for a variety of reasons. First, the overall goal is to reach 100% commercialization for public consumption. Therefore, the subsidy in the Pilot is considered a rebate during a one-time, trial period to further testing and adaptability. Second, learning from the Pilot is critical for long-term success to ensure adequate capacity building and technical lessons learned in the field from the perspectives of implementer, beneficiary and government authority involvement. Last, given the current rural clean water situation in Kampot where a piped rural clean water system is cost-prohibitive and the target community lacks reliable electricity, the technology employed by the Pilot offers clean water benefits that can help stakeholders in the WASH sector learn the critical gaps to truly reach 100% water access.

Goals:
1. Reach 100 households to provide potable drinking water in a challenging environment in Kampot, typically communities with low clean water coverage, no/unstable electricity, and hard/dirty water.
2. Reach 2 schools to provide potable drinking water in a challenging environment, preferably within the same community as targeted households.
3. Build awareness on hygiene behavior and increased local leadership capacity on clean water issues.

Deliverables:
1. 100 households with installed FCubed unit.
2. 2 schools with installed FCubed unit.
3. Evaluation report that combines measured technical results, process evaluation on implementation and learning from the consumers, suppliers and involved implementation partners

EMW provides considerable experience in the rural clean water and sanitation sector with extensive expertise in output-based aid (OBA) approach to design, train and implement the Pilot that targets household beneficiaries. Accordingly, EMW’s role is to train Kampot PDRD in OBA methodology, design and implement monitoring tools and provide a thorough evaluation of the Pilot to be shared with other stakeholders in the WASH sector. At the same time, Kampot PDRD provides the WASH sector policy oversight, trainings to local authorities and leaders and strategic implementation coordination at the district and commune levels.

The Cambodia SOLAR WASHOBA Pilot adopts output-based aid methodology with a combination of four development techniques, largely derived from EMW’s experience in sanitation, to provide a holistic approach for households to not only procure solar powered household clean water systems, but also adopt communitywide hygiene behavior change:
1. Hygiene promotion and demand triggering. This step involves both information, education and communication campaigns to realize community demand for clean water. The Kampot PDRD also conducts a communitywide campaign through door-to-door engagement, community awareness meetings and trainings in the community vis-à-vis village chiefs and grassroots workers.
2. Hygiene and clean water marketing. This step involves identifying and building up supply networks in the local community. Training suppliers while furthering the network to include local stakeholders including local authorities, community leaders and volunteers to help connect clean water supplies with household demand. The Kampot PDRD will organize suppliers and provide technical assistance through MRD and possibly other INGOs including WaterShed Cambodia and IDE.
3. Access to finance. This step involves identifying sources of micro-credit loans in addition to other forms of credit including informal lending, credit from suppliers and/or builders and sometimes material donations/volunteer labor to help poor households. The Kampot PDRD will work with local microcredit institutions, NGOs with microcredit programs as well as informal lenders in the area.
4. Household Rebate. This step involves providing a partial smart subsidy of US$150 or about 50% rebate of the total cost of the solar powered household system only after results can be verified. Results are determined on physical inspection of the system facilities for both proper installation and usage.

Technology
EMW has been testing innovative solutions to ensure that its impact, particularly in the rural clean water sector, can match the growing challenges of the 21st century. To this end, EMW has explored a number of solar powered water systems including a household model designed by FCubed, an Australian-based company. The FCubed water treatment system consists of one or more solar panels which use heat from the sun to distill impure water from almost any water source by means of accelerated evaporation. The system receives impure water by either pressure or gravity feed systems that distribute the water evenly over the surface of the solar panel. Solar energy (radiant heat) heats the water creating a temperature differential from inside the panel to outside the panel which in turn vaporizes and then condenses the evaporated water on the inside of the composite solar film. Droplets of distilled water are collected at the bottom of the unit, separate from the source water.

To date, EMW has piloted over a few dozen units in the central provinces of Vietnam, Mekong Delta and Phnom Penh. The results thus far indicate that a solar powered water system can vaporize raw water containing arsenic, iron and calcium at a rate of 18 liters per day. Even though the final testing evaluation is not yet complete, the preliminary test results are positive and warrant serious consideration to develop a scale-up program pilot to continue to measure the system's durability and application into areas with challenging environments. But perhaps most importantly, the program pilot would demonstrate consumer demand and real insight into ways to develop a sustainable market for solar technology and rural clean water issues for solar technology and rural clean water.

Phases:

Community Organization:

Each physical household system is owned by the household and resides on their property.

Government Interaction:

The upshot of the approach is to not only reach households in challenging environments, but to consciously work with the government (i.e. Kampot PDRD) in transfer OBA methodology and long-term planning around water issues.

Ancillary activities:

Other Issues:

Maintenance Revenue:

Maintenance Cost: $0

Metrics:

Indicator 1: Systems completed after installation
Indicator 2: Systems completed after 3 months of usage
Indicator 3: Water quality after installation
Indicator 4: Water quality after 3 months of usage

Cost: $46,780

attached

Co Funding Amount:

Community Contribution Amount: $16,000

Fund Requested: $30,780

Implementing Organization:

Attachments

  • Doc Final_Re...
  • Docx Attachme...
  • Docx Attachme...
  • 1 participant | show more

    Metrics and long-term assessment

    Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

    I have read your attached report with interest and want to know if you plan to track some of the systems in the same way you did for the evaluation. In particular, continue to see if arsenic and nitrates are removed from the water. The metrics you have put in the proposal are implementation driven, the ones in the report are much intere...

    I have read your attached report with interest and want to know if you plan to track some of the systems in the same way you did for the evaluation. In particular, continue to see if arsenic and nitrates are removed from the water.

    The metrics you have put in the proposal are implementation driven, the ones in the report are much interesting.

    This includes your comments about how none of the evaluated ones broke, etc. And they are easy to clean (the report contradicts what you say in the Q&A). Having solar panels in a dusty env, i know that it is not as easy to maintain as it seems.

    Thanks,
    Rajesh

  • 1 participant | show more

    Discharge and waste

    Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

    While the Fcubed site says Zero Liquid Discharge, i have to assume that there is a waste stream that contains minerals, iron, arsenic, and all the other contaminants that are removed from the water. What happens to this? How will this waste be handled so as to not to enter the water and soil (and thus food) around? Thanks, Rajesh

    While the Fcubed site says Zero Liquid Discharge, i have to assume that there is a waste stream that contains minerals, iron, arsenic, and all the other contaminants that are removed from the water.

    What happens to this? How will this waste be handled so as to not to enter the water and soil (and thus food) around?

    Thanks,
    Rajesh

  • 1 participant | show more

    OBA and failures

    Rajesh Shah of Peer Water Exchange

    How do you handle failures (such as breaking of panels during installation)? Who absorbs this cost and this risk? Thanks, Rajesh ps: this applies to your other OBA applications too? What happens if you dig a well and it is dry or contains arsenic?

    How do you handle failures (such as breaking of panels during installation)?

    Who absorbs this cost and this risk?

    Thanks,
    Rajesh

    ps: this applies to your other OBA applications too? What happens if you dig a well and it is dry or contains arsenic?

  • 2 participants | show more

    comment

    Meera Hira-Smith of Project Well

    Michael’s questions are all valid: The weather issue and quantity needed per person for drinking. Waiting for the answers. My comment:- In the tropical countries one person drinks, on average, 4 liters per day. Cooking rice and lentil soup require considerable amount of water. According to WHO report 2003 on ’Domestic Water Quantity, Serv...

    Michael’s questions are all valid: The weather issue and quantity needed per person for drinking. Waiting for the answers. My comment:- In the tropical countries one person drinks, on average, 4 liters per day. Cooking rice and lentil soup require considerable amount of water. According to WHO report 2003 on ’Domestic Water Quantity, Service, Level and Health’ water required for cooking and drinking is 7.5 liters per person per day. This project should work on schools where water for cooking is not required and students are there for half a day. And also it would be more better on a concrete roof or a very well maintained tin roof. But to install them on the tin roof of households in rural villages is not feasible. Many arsenic removal filters were tried out in the villages of West Bengal, India of which more than 80% failed together with huge waste of millions of dollars just due to lack of maintenance. Such a costly large solar panel on a tin roof is just not appealing to me. Everything requires some sort of maintenance including solar panels and climbing on the tin roof would lead to normal wear and tear of the roof and very few households can afford to replace their tin roof. Initially the villagers will welcome this novel device to get clean water that eventually would fail in the long run. My advice is similar to Michael that is to opt for other alternate options based on harvesting of rain water. Thanks Michael and best wishes to EMW.

    • James Dien Bui of East Meets West Foundation

      Thank you for your comments. 1 - The panel is actually very easy to maintain. See attached testing report. Moreover, parts seem to be readily available for maintenance repair at a low cost. 2 - Mounting the panel on the roof is merely one method. We have mounted the panel in other high areas, say a porch or high ground, which worked we...

      Thank you for your comments.

      1 - The panel is actually very easy to maintain. See attached testing report. Moreover, parts seem to be readily available for maintenance repair at a low cost.
      2 - Mounting the panel on the roof is merely one method. We have mounted the panel in other high areas, say a porch or high ground, which worked well too and yield the same average results.
      3 - I agree the failure rate is something we are keen on determining. So far, in 8 months of testing in the field, none of the panels have failed other than a few defective samples in the beginning but were replaced at the beginning of testing.

  • 2 participants | show more

    clean water

    Juergen Puetz of PALMYRA

    Agree with the above comments, no need to repeat Cambodia has a long traditon of waterharvesting and storage Have they been explored? More documentation??? Juergen, Palmyra

    Agree with the above comments, no need to repeat

    Cambodia has a long traditon of waterharvesting and storage
    Have they been explored?

    More documentation???

    Juergen, Palmyra

    • James Dien Bui of East Meets West Foundation

      Dear Juergen, Re: waterharvesting See my comments to Mike Re: documentation Just uploaded our field testing report Thanks for your comments and questions. Best, James East Meets West

      Dear Juergen,

      Re: waterharvesting
      See my comments to Mike

      Re: documentation
      Just uploaded our field testing report

      Thanks for your comments and questions.

      Best,
      James
      East Meets West

  • 2 participants | show more

    Why individual systems

    Chitra Chaudhuri of Gram Vikas

    James, while planning for such a water supply project, why did EMW not consider community based solar powered pumping systems? We have installed such systems in eastern part of India in hilly and difficult to reach villages and the community is managing the systems quite well? Individual systems , in our understanding would be diffic...

    James,

    while planning for such a water supply project, why did EMW not consider community based solar powered pumping systems? We have installed such systems in eastern part of India in hilly and difficult to reach villages and the community is managing the systems quite well?

    Individual systems , in our understanding would be difficult to maintain and the task of filling water etc for purification would be burdensome for the family.

    also we have faced threat of theft of panels in unelectrified locations. Is there such an issue there?

    chitra
    gram vikas

    • James Dien Bui of East Meets West Foundation

      Dear Gram, Thank you for sharing your feedback and questions. 1 - Yes we are still considering using solar powered pumps in a centralized community area in addition to solar powered piped water to individual households. 2 - At this point, we are trying to test this individual household approach in tough areas. Mike brought up a goo...

      Dear Gram,

      Thank you for sharing your feedback and questions.

      1 - Yes we are still considering using solar powered pumps in a centralized community area in addition to solar powered piped water to individual households.
      2 - At this point, we are trying to test this individual household approach in tough areas. Mike brought up a good point in also experimenting with urban areas. Not just due to the cost, but also as an alternative means for clean water. But to stay focused on our objective, we still maintain there is niche for these individual household panels in poor rural areas. In our testing locations, the community response is encouraging as their is demand for their availability. But before we even go there, we want to test the durability of this product first--hence this pilot.
      3 - So far we have not had any problems of theft. This is a common concern raised by many, but in our initial testing this has not been a problem. Perhaps also because we are testing in remote areas where a missing solar panel would be too obvious for theive to get away with.

  • 2 participants | show more

    Unit cost of household system

    Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

    In the application it is implied that the $160 covers roughly half of the unit cost and production of 18 liters per day of clean water is possible. UNDP estimates that clean water supplied for drinking, cooking and washing should be 22 liters/day/person, in which case a single unit would not be adequate to supply an average household. Ho...

    In the application it is implied that the $160 covers roughly half of the unit cost and production of 18 liters per day of clean water is possible. UNDP estimates that clean water supplied for drinking, cooking and washing should be 22 liters/day/person, in which case a single unit would not be adequate to supply an average household. How many units are realistically expected to support water use for the 100 households? How is water production influenced in monsoon season or other periods of cloud cover, or is 18 liters/day an average annual production rate? How is the water delivered to the solar evaporator, does someone have to climb onto the roof with a bucket to fill it?

    Have other water solutions been considered? Cambodia has adequate precipitation to make rainwater harvest an attractive option. Also, the water table is often relatively close to the surface and Blue Heart Charity has been installing shallow wells in Cambodian villages at an unit cost of US$200/well, each well supplying 12 to 100 individuals (see the July 11, 2011 post on http://bank-on-rain.posterous.com/?page=2 for details).

    This is an interesting concept, but the application lacks the detailed information needed to really understand how effective this approach may be in rural Cambodia. Please provide more information.

    Thanks,
    Mike

    • James Dien Bui of East Meets West Foundation

      Dear Mike, Thank you for your comments and questions. Please allow me to answer them accordingly: 1 - UNDP estimates are aggregated over the entire country. EMW took this information in addition to other studies conducted by WSP into serious consideration before and during our research and testing phases. First, the areas we tested wer...

      Dear Mike,

      Thank you for your comments and questions. Please allow me to answer them accordingly:
      1 - UNDP estimates are aggregated over the entire country. EMW took this information in addition to other studies conducted by WSP into serious consideration before and during our research and testing phases. First, the areas we tested were in the Mekong Delta (Cambodia and Vietnam) and central coastal areas of Vietnam. That said, based on 80,000 households we worked with, the average consumption for "drinking water" among poor and near poor households was actually 10 liters per day. Furthermore, our pilot attempts to extend the reach to areas in challenging environments. It is even more conceivable that drinking water consumption would even be less.
      2 - You are absolutely correct about rainwater harvesting. In fact, EMW is also researching and testing this method as well in Kampong Chhnang. But at the same time, we are considering the solar panel approach as this provides an opportunity for areas where inclement weather may prove difficult for harvesting. At the same time, our testing of 24 units in central coastal areas of Vietnam, which has its fair share of monsoons, stood up well and still maintained an average of 18 liters per day. In short, we find that this product can best work in tough, harsh environments and produce clean drinking water consistently.
      3 - The 18 liters per day rate does not count the fact that the panel also collects rainwater. This exact number is harder to measure as this is dependent on the amount of rain in an area. But anecdotally households viewed the 18 liters per day as BONUS on top of the rainwater they normally collected and are now looking at the 18 liters as their main source due to its water quality.
      4 - I've recently uploaded our testing report with more specs for your understanding.

      Thanks again for your comments and questions.

      • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

        James, The additional testing report is very helpful. It does point out some other potential problem areas, though. The construction of the solar distillation panel does not look like it would hold up in extended use, and I certainly question these uints surviving to reach their projected 5.9 year payback period. The $400 unit cost m...

        James,

        The additional testing report is very helpful. It does point out some other potential problem areas, though. The construction of the solar distillation panel does not look like it would hold up in extended use, and I certainly question these uints surviving to reach their projected 5.9 year payback period. The $400 unit cost makes this inappropriate for most of the world's rural poor. Recycled 200 liter food-grade containers are readily available in most parts of the world for $5 to $20 each and make very good RWH tanks.

        Locating the unit on the ground or on flat rooftops would provide easier access to re-fill with raw water, but this still seems to be a difficult and inconvenient process in a country with abundant rainfall. Climbing onto a roof with buckets of raw water several times per day could destroy thatched homes and be tough on metal roofing as well.

        The other aspect about this approach that concerns me is dependance upon imported technology. These panels are considerably more complicated than a bio-sand filter, solar disinfection, RWH and other methods that may be more appropriate and sustainable.

        An interesting concept but perhaps not well suited for use in rural locations in the developing world. It could have applications in towns where incomes may be greater.
        Mike

        • James Dien Bui of East Meets West Foundation

          Dear Mike, Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight and feedback. My responses below: 1 - The cost to the household is actually US$320-330 not US$400 as prices in this range are sensitive to poor households. You are absolutely correct that this product is more niche than a universal solution targeting the poorest. Therefore...

          Dear Mike,

          Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight and feedback. My responses below:

          1 - The cost to the household is actually US$320-330 not US$400 as prices in this range are sensitive to poor households. You are absolutely correct that this product is more niche than a universal solution targeting the poorest. Therefore it is not meant to be an answer for poor households altogether. However, in our testing and experience, we find that rural, challenging environments require products that can solve specific issues like reliable electricity and harsh climate conditions. On top of this, we certainly try to innovate to make things not only better, but cheaper too. To this end, we maintain this product can serve a niche of moderately poor households in challenging environments. Our Output-Based Aid (OBA) approach not only brings in an affordability incentive, but demands verifiable results which we use as data to ensure we test and vet the products for a variety of learning applications including: further product innovation, developing new solutions based on specific challenges and sometimes working with stakeholders to develop smarter policies/strategies.

          2 - I agree the mounting location is not the most convenient, but it still works and has been tested in Cambodia and Vietnam. In the design, the feed line can be coupled to a water pump (also solar powered) to push water into the panel. This would eliminate the need for carrying and dumping buckets of water.

          3 - This design is original to its inventor in Australia, but I should also share with everyone on PWX that we had a conference in Vietnam last June 2012 with FCubed and FedEx to co-develop a business model. If this pilot phase proves its applicability and durability, FCubed is primed to develop manufacturing facilities in Cambodia and Vietnam. This would further drive down costs, increase accessability and not to mention create jobs. But this is further down the road, but very much part of the strategy if this product has uptake in this niche market.

          • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

            James, Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified? Panel co...

            James,

            Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified?

            Panel construction seems relatively simple, so local production may be a good vechicle for lowering unit cost, but of course the initial field testing must first verify the concept. I will conceed that high unit costs may be necessary for the testing phase. My concerns about reliability and sustainability lead me to an initial reaction that the solar evaporators may not be the most appropriate means to source safe water in Cambobia and Vietnam, especially when dependent upon imported technology. The folks at FCubed likely should be funding the cost of testing of their product.

            Mike

        • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

          James, Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified? Panel co...

          James,

          Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified?

          Panel construction seems relatively simple, so local production may be a good vechicle for lowering unit cost, but of course the initial field testing must first verify the concept. I will conceed that high unit costs may be necessary for the testing phase. My concerns about reliability and sustainability lead me to an initial reaction that the solar evaporators may not be the most appropriate means to source safe water in Cambobia and Vietnam, especially when dependent upon imported technology. The folks at FCubed likely should be funding the cost of testing of their product.

          Mike

      • James Dien Bui of East Meets West Foundation

        Dear Mike, Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight and feedback. My responses below: 1 - The cost to the household is actually US$320-330 not US$400 as prices in this range are sensitive to poor households. You are absolutely correct that this product is more niche than a universal solution targeting the poorest. Therefore...

        Dear Mike,

        Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight and feedback. My responses below:

        1 - The cost to the household is actually US$320-330 not US$400 as prices in this range are sensitive to poor households. You are absolutely correct that this product is more niche than a universal solution targeting the poorest. Therefore it is not meant to be an answer for poor households altogether. However, in our testing and experience, we find that rural, challenging environments require products that can solve specific issues like reliable electricity and harsh climate conditions. On top of this, we certainly try to innovate to make things not only better, but cheaper too. To this end, we maintain this product can serve a niche of moderately poor households in challenging environments. Our Output-Based Aid (OBA) approach not only brings in an affordability incentive, but demands verifiable results which we use as data to ensure we test and vet the products for a variety of learning applications including: further product innovation, developing new solutions based on specific challenges and sometimes working with stakeholders to develop smarter policies/strategies.

        2 - I agree the mounting location is not the most convenient, but it still works and has been tested in Cambodia and Vietnam. In the design, the feed line can be coupled to a water pump (also solar powered) to push water into the panel. This would eliminate the need for carrying and dumping buckets of water.

        3 - This design is original to its inventor in Australia, but I should also share with everyone on PWX that we had a conference in Vietnam last June 2012 with FCubed and FedEx to co-develop a business model. If this pilot phase proves its applicability and durability, FCubed is primed to develop manufacturing facilities in Cambodia and Vietnam. This would further drive down costs, increase accessability and not to mention create jobs. But this is further down the road, but very much part of the strategy if this product has uptake in this niche market.

        • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

          James, Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified? Panel co...

          James,

          Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified?

          Panel construction seems relatively simple, so local production may be a good vechicle for lowering unit cost, but of course the initial field testing must first verify the concept. I will conceed that high unit costs may be necessary for the testing phase. My concerns about reliability and sustainability lead me to an initial reaction that the solar evaporators may not be the most appropriate means to source safe water in Cambobia and Vietnam, especially when dependent upon imported technology. The folks at FCubed likely should be funding the cost of testing of their product.

          Mike

      • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

        James, Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified? Panel co...

        James,

        Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified?

        Panel construction seems relatively simple, so local production may be a good vechicle for lowering unit cost, but of course the initial field testing must first verify the concept. I will conceed that high unit costs may be necessary for the testing phase. My concerns about reliability and sustainability lead me to an initial reaction that the solar evaporators may not be the most appropriate means to source safe water in Cambobia and Vietnam, especially when dependent upon imported technology. The folks at FCubed likely should be funding the cost of testing of their product.

        Mike

    • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

      James, The additional testing report is very helpful. It does point out some other potential problem areas, though. The construction of the solar distillation panel does not look like it would hold up in extended use, and I certainly question these uints surviving to reach their projected 5.9 year payback period. The $400 unit cost m...

      James,

      The additional testing report is very helpful. It does point out some other potential problem areas, though. The construction of the solar distillation panel does not look like it would hold up in extended use, and I certainly question these uints surviving to reach their projected 5.9 year payback period. The $400 unit cost makes this inappropriate for most of the world's rural poor. Recycled 200 liter food-grade containers are readily available in most parts of the world for $5 to $20 each and make very good RWH tanks.

      Locating the unit on the ground or on flat rooftops would provide easier access to re-fill with raw water, but this still seems to be a difficult and inconvenient process in a country with abundant rainfall. Climbing onto a roof with buckets of raw water several times per day could destroy thatched homes and be tough on metal roofing as well.

      The other aspect about this approach that concerns me is dependance upon imported technology. These panels are considerably more complicated than a bio-sand filter, solar disinfection, RWH and other methods that may be more appropriate and sustainable.

      An interesting concept but perhaps not well suited for use in rural locations in the developing world. It could have applications in towns where incomes may be greater.
      Mike

      • James Dien Bui of East Meets West Foundation

        Dear Mike, Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight and feedback. My responses below: 1 - The cost to the household is actually US$320-330 not US$400 as prices in this range are sensitive to poor households. You are absolutely correct that this product is more niche than a universal solution targeting the poorest. Therefore...

        Dear Mike,

        Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight and feedback. My responses below:

        1 - The cost to the household is actually US$320-330 not US$400 as prices in this range are sensitive to poor households. You are absolutely correct that this product is more niche than a universal solution targeting the poorest. Therefore it is not meant to be an answer for poor households altogether. However, in our testing and experience, we find that rural, challenging environments require products that can solve specific issues like reliable electricity and harsh climate conditions. On top of this, we certainly try to innovate to make things not only better, but cheaper too. To this end, we maintain this product can serve a niche of moderately poor households in challenging environments. Our Output-Based Aid (OBA) approach not only brings in an affordability incentive, but demands verifiable results which we use as data to ensure we test and vet the products for a variety of learning applications including: further product innovation, developing new solutions based on specific challenges and sometimes working with stakeholders to develop smarter policies/strategies.

        2 - I agree the mounting location is not the most convenient, but it still works and has been tested in Cambodia and Vietnam. In the design, the feed line can be coupled to a water pump (also solar powered) to push water into the panel. This would eliminate the need for carrying and dumping buckets of water.

        3 - This design is original to its inventor in Australia, but I should also share with everyone on PWX that we had a conference in Vietnam last June 2012 with FCubed and FedEx to co-develop a business model. If this pilot phase proves its applicability and durability, FCubed is primed to develop manufacturing facilities in Cambodia and Vietnam. This would further drive down costs, increase accessability and not to mention create jobs. But this is further down the road, but very much part of the strategy if this product has uptake in this niche market.

        • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

          James, Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified? Panel co...

          James,

          Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified?

          Panel construction seems relatively simple, so local production may be a good vechicle for lowering unit cost, but of course the initial field testing must first verify the concept. I will conceed that high unit costs may be necessary for the testing phase. My concerns about reliability and sustainability lead me to an initial reaction that the solar evaporators may not be the most appropriate means to source safe water in Cambobia and Vietnam, especially when dependent upon imported technology. The folks at FCubed likely should be funding the cost of testing of their product.

          Mike

      • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

        James, Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified? Panel co...

        James,

        Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified?

        Panel construction seems relatively simple, so local production may be a good vechicle for lowering unit cost, but of course the initial field testing must first verify the concept. I will conceed that high unit costs may be necessary for the testing phase. My concerns about reliability and sustainability lead me to an initial reaction that the solar evaporators may not be the most appropriate means to source safe water in Cambobia and Vietnam, especially when dependent upon imported technology. The folks at FCubed likely should be funding the cost of testing of their product.

        Mike

    • James Dien Bui of East Meets West Foundation

      Dear Mike, Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight and feedback. My responses below: 1 - The cost to the household is actually US$320-330 not US$400 as prices in this range are sensitive to poor households. You are absolutely correct that this product is more niche than a universal solution targeting the poorest. Therefore...

      Dear Mike,

      Thanks for taking the time to provide your insight and feedback. My responses below:

      1 - The cost to the household is actually US$320-330 not US$400 as prices in this range are sensitive to poor households. You are absolutely correct that this product is more niche than a universal solution targeting the poorest. Therefore it is not meant to be an answer for poor households altogether. However, in our testing and experience, we find that rural, challenging environments require products that can solve specific issues like reliable electricity and harsh climate conditions. On top of this, we certainly try to innovate to make things not only better, but cheaper too. To this end, we maintain this product can serve a niche of moderately poor households in challenging environments. Our Output-Based Aid (OBA) approach not only brings in an affordability incentive, but demands verifiable results which we use as data to ensure we test and vet the products for a variety of learning applications including: further product innovation, developing new solutions based on specific challenges and sometimes working with stakeholders to develop smarter policies/strategies.

      2 - I agree the mounting location is not the most convenient, but it still works and has been tested in Cambodia and Vietnam. In the design, the feed line can be coupled to a water pump (also solar powered) to push water into the panel. This would eliminate the need for carrying and dumping buckets of water.

      3 - This design is original to its inventor in Australia, but I should also share with everyone on PWX that we had a conference in Vietnam last June 2012 with FCubed and FedEx to co-develop a business model. If this pilot phase proves its applicability and durability, FCubed is primed to develop manufacturing facilities in Cambodia and Vietnam. This would further drive down costs, increase accessability and not to mention create jobs. But this is further down the road, but very much part of the strategy if this product has uptake in this niche market.

      • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

        James, Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified? Panel co...

        James,

        Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified?

        Panel construction seems relatively simple, so local production may be a good vechicle for lowering unit cost, but of course the initial field testing must first verify the concept. I will conceed that high unit costs may be necessary for the testing phase. My concerns about reliability and sustainability lead me to an initial reaction that the solar evaporators may not be the most appropriate means to source safe water in Cambobia and Vietnam, especially when dependent upon imported technology. The folks at FCubed likely should be funding the cost of testing of their product.

        Mike

    • Michael Williamson of Bank-On-Rain

      James, Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified? Panel co...

      James,

      Thank you for the clarification and additional information. Innovation usually starts at a high price point until acceptance and demand can generate economies of scale. Rather than start testing in remote rural areas, perhaps the evaluation should be conducted in a town setting where higher costs might be justified?

      Panel construction seems relatively simple, so local production may be a good vechicle for lowering unit cost, but of course the initial field testing must first verify the concept. I will conceed that high unit costs may be necessary for the testing phase. My concerns about reliability and sustainability lead me to an initial reaction that the solar evaporators may not be the most appropriate means to source safe water in Cambobia and Vietnam, especially when dependent upon imported technology. The folks at FCubed likely should be funding the cost of testing of their product.

      Mike