Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Dale Miller

Second Advisor

Joel Hartter

Third Advisor

David Jonas


This thesis analyzes the feasibility and implementation of solar photovoltaic water pump systems in rural Zambia. The research questions examine if it is possible, how these systems might be implemented into rural African communities, and what the effects of the system would be. Through policy analysis, as well as in-depth multifaceted research and a case study, it is found that it is feasible and possible to implement solar photovoltaic water pump systems into rural Zambia communities. This paper finds that the implementation of systems like these will significantly benefit rural Zambian communities and extract the negative externalities of the community’s current water pump system. This thesis also finds that the capital cost of a solar photovoltaic water pump system is much higher than a two-stroke engine pump, but will be more economically beneficial in the future. Another outcome found from this thesis is that the environmental externalities would be greatly reduced with the suggested system.

Furthermore, this thesis sets forward an implementation process for communities eager to adopt similar systems. This thesis advises that the Zambian government put forward more policies and incentives for small-scale renewable energy systems. Decreasing the amount of small motor water systems will benefit the communities, and the environment and more systems should be implanted in viable areas.