Solar pumping is most practical and financially feasible when the power line is more than 1 km away from the pump location. The investment that would be made to have a solar-powered water pump makes more sense than that made to extend power lines.
On average, extending the power lines costs somewhere between 18 and 36 USD per meter, in Lebanon there is no official data published by EDL as each case is studied on its own. But there is no doubt that the numbers wouldn’t be any lower than 18 USD per meter of lines.
The cost of a solar PV pump depends on the requirements and the site conditions. The availability of the pump also plays a major role and the security levels in the area do have an influence on the investment value.
International benchmarks are available from previous experiences in the developing world, especially in India. Data published by Energypedia showed an average investment rate of $5.93 USD per Wp for a 1 kWp PV drinking water supply system and $11.85 for a ready-to-operate system including pumping system, logistics, set-up, reservoir, construction, water distribution. This rate drops as the capacity increases to reach $4.63 and $7.59 respectively as shown in Figure 17. Nowadays, these rates are expected to have dropped by at least 20% due to the latest advancements in PV cells technologies and the drop in prices.
A comparative chart for diesel water pumping and PV water pumping is presented in Figure 18 where methods are compared in terms of m4 delivered, with m4 equals volume in cubic meters multiplied by the total dynamic head in meters.