SPIS Toolbox - Plan Preparation and Installation

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2. Plan Preparation and Installation

Installer visiting an SPIS site in Tamalé, Ghana (Source: Lennart Woltering)

The selected installer is required to consider the site-specific conditions in his quotation or offer. In this process step, he should already have taken into account the views of the producer with regard to the location, spacing and protection of the planned system. After conclusion of the installation service contract, a detailed planning of the installation has to take place.

For this, a further site visit and joint review of all relevant aspects may be required in cooperation with the producer.

The aim of this installation planning is to:

  • verify site access and material storage conditions;
  • determine the exact planned location and the spacing of the system components (PV generator, water pump, control units, water storage tank, water distribution network, irrigation pipes);
  • assess the site-specific conditions relevant for the installation (soil / underground conditions, surface profile, water source conditions, security hazards);
  • identify preparatory works to be done (de-installation of old installations, well-cleaning / rehabilitation and pumping tests, earth works, site clearing, field preparation);
  • plan preparatory works and installation;
  • identify health and safety precautions.

A proper pre-installation planning helps avoid delays in the installation process because preparatory works and installation can be timed in succession. The producer may also have some particular additional considerations with regard to location, spacing and protection of the future system, which have to be taken into account by the installer prior to assembling and mounting the components. Specific site conditions, such as exposure to strong winds, flood water, stray animals or risks related to theft or vandalism (see GET INFORMED, mounting structure) are factors that influence the installation and the materials to be used (lock tie nuts, spray, seals, etc.).

The installation planning must also be harmonized with the cropping calendar and the agricultural work schedule of the specific farm household (see DESIGN, process step 2). Installation works should not disturb the production routine in an unnecessary way.

If more than one installer is required (for example one for the PV pumping system and one for the irrigation system components), the planning needs to take this into account. The work of the different installers must be coordinated.

The required land resources to establish the SPIS are often underestimated. The PV generators and the water storage tank (if part of the system) will occupy land that is otherwise available for cultivation. The system components must be spaced in a way that the solar panels are not shadowed by neighboring components, or that there is enough space to reach specific parts for maintenance, for example.

Note: System integrators estimate that about double the area covered by solar panels should be reserved for proper operation and maintenance. This is necessary to allow for space required by fencing, moving around the installation for maintenance, and reduce the impact of shading.

The planning in cooperation with the installer should also result in a clear understanding of both parties on the process of handing over the system and the provision of an orientation training of the user upon handover.


  • Location of each system component;
  • List of preparatory works / requirements;
  • Schedule for preparatory works and installation;
  • Schedule for handover and user training.

Data Requirements

  • System layout plan (provided in contract with technology provider);
  • Data on well / water source conditions;
  • Data on soil / underground conditions.


  • Producer;
  • Installation service provider;
  • agricultural service provider.

Important Issues

  • Implementation planning requires a site visit of the installer and a joint review with the farmer.
  • Site-specific conditions and hazards need to be considered.
  • Land resources are required for the installation.
  • Preparatory works requirements have to be identified prior to installation.
  • Preparatory works need to be concluded prior to installation.
  • Installation planning should include handover and user training timing;
  • Multiple installers may need to be coordinated.

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