Sydney, Australia [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] An Australian project organized by BP Solar should soon have solar powered, drip irrigation systems installed across Sri Lanka.The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) of Australia has approved partial financing toward the AUD $21.2 million (US $16.5 million) project to supply 5,000 of the irrigation systems to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Land and Irrigation. Citibank funded the project, and EFIC provided a guarantee of AUD $18.3 million (US $14.2 million) to the bank. “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,” said Les Poole, Director of Large Projects for BP Solar. The project will be implemented through an outreach program designed to supply low-cost irrigation kits to farmers to increase crop yields while conserving water and energy. Supply of the irrigation systems is the first stage of a two-phase contract potentially valued at AUD 42.5 million (US $33 million). According to Poole, 5100 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,” said Peter Swan, Director of Structured Trade and Project Finance for EFIC. EFIC is Australia’s export credit agency and assists Australian companies exporting and investing overseas by providing a range of competitive medium to long-term finance and insurance services.