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Solar Water Pumping

Solar water pumping allows you to access water at sites lacking access to electric water pumping. Appropriate knowledge about load and placing of panels is required when setting up a solar water pump. Solar-powered pumps allow you to create useful and decorative water projects in almost any location with access to a well, stream or pond.

Solar Pumping Systems

The only way water will move on its own is when it is moving downhill. Otherwise, you need a solar water pump to supply the water where you need it. Solar water pumping systems have four basic components: water source, solar water pump, pipes and solar power.

Uses of Solar Pumps

There is a wide variety of solar water pumps, each with its own specifications, scale, quality, cost and application. A solar water pump can facilitate water-moving requirements such as moving water from rain barrels to your garden, providing running water to your house and pumping pond water into containers for your livestock.

Basic Design

The most essential component of a solar water pumping system is a water source. This could be a well, pond, rain barrel or cistern. Hoses and pipes act as conduits for supplying the water from its source to its destination. A solar water pump is energized by solar panels. For pumping at night, you will need to add a battery to store electricity converted from sunlight.

Solar Water Pumping Projects

Stock Pond

This type of solar water pumping project has many uses including filling ponds for watering livestock in remote locations and keeping fishponds at viable levels. A few solar panels connected to a low voltage DC pump can provide steady flow of water to your pond. A solar water pump controller will allow the water pumping system to operate only when the solar panels deliver enough currents to drive the pump. Pump controllers make solar-powered pumps to last longer and make the whole system more reliable in places where maintenance may be infrequent. Systems with solar water pump controllers are able to provide adequate water over extended periods.

Solar Water Fountains

Fountains are eye-catching fixtures that provide relaxing sound and cool the air in dry locations. Solar-powered pumps can drive adequate amounts of water to fountain fixtures. Typically, fountains require higher-pressure pumps than stock ponds. Consider adding a water softener at the treatment stage of your solar water pumping system, especially if you use water with high levels of dissolved minerals. Water softening does not just provide a more pleasant spray of water but it also extends the life of your pump and piping system.

Remote Drinking Water Supply

Solar water pumping allows you to transform stock water pond into safe drinking water for humans. This involves using a small DC pump to pull water from the stock pond and drain it into your water treatment system. When setting up this system, plan on one gallon a day for every adult. This is enough to cover your household’s drinking and cooking needs. A simple sand filter will remove most impurities and water-borne pathogens from the water. You can purify the water further by fitting the system with a passive solar water distillation rack. This water distillation system can even purify seawater.

How Deep Can a Solar Pump Bring Water From a Well?

Solar water pumping systems are applicable in areas where power and water sources are scarce. Without such systems, water would be inaccessible in some places. You can use solar water pumping systems to supply water to off-grid homes, water livestock, undertake remote pasturing, aquaculture and small-scale irrigation.

Considerations

There are a number of factors to consider before setting up a solar water pumping system in a well or any other water source. These factors include the depth and recovery rate of the well, water quality and amount of power required to pump the water from its source to where it will be used.

Depth

Solar water pumps can go as far as 150-200 meters. The specifications for solar water pumps vary. For example, a submersible pump that can reach a depth of 150 feet and uses 300 watts of direct current can pump over 1100 gallons of water per day.

Benefits

While the initial cost of a submersible solar water pump can be very high, once installed, you will not incur fuel costs. In addition, it can be left unattended once installed and has low maintenance costs. An additional benefit of solar water pumps is that they do not produce pollutants or toxic chemicals. However, solar water pumps require technical expertise to set up and maintain.

Types of Solar Water Pumps

Submersible Pumps

This type of solar water pump is suitable for deep wells. Submersible pumps work well for both farming and residential purposes. The name submersible pump is derived from the fact that the pump is designed to be submerged in water and push water to the surface. These pumps can pump water that is 650 feet below the ground. One of the most significant advantages of this pump is that it prevents pump cavitation, a common problem in areas with high elevation difference between pump and the water surface.

Surface Pumps

Unlike submersible pumps, surface pumps operate above the ground or above the water surface. Surface pumps push water to specific locations through suctioning. These pumps are often powered by solar panels and can be used to pump water from shallow wells, tanks, streams, ponds and other water sources. One of the benefits of solar water pump is that the solar panels and pump do not have to be attached. In addition, surface pumps are more affordable than other types of solar water pumps.

Circulating Pumps

These pumps are usually connected to homes’ swimming pool water heating systems. One of the benefits of circulating pumps is that they require little maintenance. There are two types of circulating water pumps: direct and indirect. The former is suitable for warmer climates while the latter is suitable for cold climates.

Benefits of Solar Water Pumping

Easy Installation

Many manufacturers of solar water pumps provide packaged, easy-to-install kits with accompanying literature and customer support. Complex systems often include in their purchase price, professional installation service and support service.

Safety

Solar-powered systems are very safe. They do not produce hazardous chemicals and their PV modules are typically low. Even complex solar water pumping systems come with multiple PV modules including fuses and overload protection to accommodate local electrical codes.

Ideal for Remote Locations

Solar water pumping systems are ideal for remote locations that do not have existing power lines. While adding batteries to the system is an advantage, especially if you intend to use the system at night, they are not necessary as water can be stored in tanks and pumped to the field and house during the day.

Economical and Low Maintenance

To guarantee quality, many solar water-pumping systems come with a 20-25 year warranty. Using solar energy to pump water for remote livestock water supply, pond aeration and small-scale irrigation is very cost-effective. Solar water pumping systems do not have moving parts. Therefore, the only maintenance required involves visual checks and battery servicing.

Erosion Control and Water Quality

Because water is supplied to convenient locations within a farm where livestock can water, solar water pumping eliminates the need for herding livestock to a stream, which reduces soil erosion, increases vegetative growth and prevents sediment buildup in water.