Sunnova and Seeding Mercy Inc. Collaborate to Fund Off-Grid Solar Powered Irrigation Pumps, Combating Hunger and Empowering Communities in East Africa

HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sunnova Energy International, Inc. (“Sunnova”) (NYSE: NOVA), a leading U.S. Energy as a Service (EaaS) provider, is pleased to announce a strategic collaboration with Seeding Mercy Inc. (“SMI”), a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing the hunger crisis in East Africa. Together, Sunnova and SMI have funded the deployment of off-grid solar powered irrigation pumps for farms in South Sudan. This initiative not only aims to combat hunger but also paves the way for sustainable and renewable development in East Africa, creating social value for all communities involved.

Since its establishment in 2017, SMI has been committed to enlisting client farmers, providing them with training, resources, and land. With a strong focus on empowering women, SMI has successfully recruited 1,000 clients, 90% of whom are women, responsible for managing 800 acres of farms across five villages in South Sudan.

Recognizing the need for sustainable farming practices, SMI and Sunnova joined forces to invest in the deployment of solar power for irrigation purposes in Aweil, South Sudan. Utilizing a “feed-forward” model that contracts with local farmers, SMI provides them land, tools, and training in return for a fair share of the profits to replicate and reinvest the same model in other communities. Through Sunnova’s philanthropic contribution, which included portable solar systems, pumps, farming tools and transportation, SMI installed a solar-powered off-grid irrigation system to support three newly established farms. Since December 2022, these farms have planted, harvested, and brought to market 370 baskets of crops that include onions, okra, kale, kusamawiki, and kudhura, which has resulted in $24,000 USD of income to these farmers. The initial success of this “feed forward” collaboration demonstrates the viability and effectiveness of solar-powered irrigation systems in boosting crop productivity and ensuring sustainable farming practices. Through the project, SMI employed 591 families, including individuals seeking refuge from the war in Sudan.

By joining forces, Sunnova and SMI are spearheading a movement towards sustainable and decentralized energy resources, fostering the growth of new enterprises and improving people’s lives,” said William J. (John) Berger, Chief Executive Officer of Sunnova. “Together, Sunnova and SMI are making a positive impact on food security and empowering farming and economic growth in East Africa.”

“This collaboration goes beyond merely providing solar solutions; it strives to empower the community itself,” said Aken Tong, Chief Executive Officer of Seeding Mercy Inc. “By training SMI’s clients to become farmers, we foster a renewable and agricultural “micro democracy” in South Sudan. This donated equipment has played a pivotal role in facilitating the irrigation of 18 acres of farmland across three villages. By harnessing clean and renewable energy, we have reduced our dependency on scarcely available fossil fuels and have also ensured sustainable irrigation practices, even in remote regions—the first of its kind to be deployed in South Sudan.”

Technical expertise from Sunnova’s Microgrid Development team was applied to ensure the solar powered AC systems were sized for the pumps and could perform off grid in lowland and highland terrains. “We worked with SMI to simulate, plan, and execute a replicable farming program from site selection, planting, irrigating, harvesting, to replanting,” said Adam Miller, Vice President of Microgrids for Sunnova. “SMI taught us about the environmental challenges that include flooding and storage of crops enroute to market. SMI showed great flexibility in implementing the program, overcoming delays in supply chain and floods.” Sunnova and SMI will continue to support their farmers and explore opportunities for the “feed-forward” model.

Currently, SMI has been awarded 10,000 acres of land from the government of South Sudan, which they plan to develop into 5,000 two-acre farms. South Sudan, with its population of approximately 12 million, of which 75% are smallholder farmers, stands to greatly benefit from the services provided by SMI. Looking ahead, SMI envisions expanding its operations throughout East Africa. The total addressable market for SMI’s impactful work in East Africa is estimated at 467 million people.

About Sunnova

Sunnova Energy International Inc. (NYSE: NOVA) is a leading U.S. Energy as a Service (EaaS) provider with customers across the U.S. and its territories. Sunnova’s goal is to be the source of clean, affordable, and reliable energy with a simple mission: to power energy independence so that homeowners and businesses have the freedom to live life uninterrupted®. For more information, please visit


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