Solar Water Pumps and Systems | Efficient, Simple & Reliable
Solar Water Pumps and Systems: A Comprehensive Guide for Wells, Irrigation, and Livestock
Solar water pumps and systems have become increasingly popular in recent years as a sustainable and cost-effective solution for well, irrigation, and livestock water needs. These systems use solar energy to power water pumps, eliminating the need for electricity or fuel-powered generators.
Solar pumps come in a variety of sizes and types, from small 12V pumps for backyard gardens to larger systems for commercial agriculture. Off-grid solar well pumps are particularly useful in remote areas where access to electricity is limited or non-existent. These systems can pump water from a well or other water source to a storage tank, providing a reliable water supply for livestock and irrigation.
In addition to being environmentally friendly and cost-effective, solar-powered irrigation systems can also improve crop yields and reduce water waste. By using sensors and controllers, these systems can automatically adjust water flow based on weather conditions and soil moisture levels, ensuring that crops receive the right amount of water at the right time. Overall, solar water pumps and systems offer a sustainable and practical solution for a wide range of water needs.
Benefits of Solar Water Pumps
One of the major benefits of using solar water pumps is the significant cost savings they offer. Solar water pumps are powered by solar energy, which is free and abundant. Unlike conventional pumps that require electricity or fuel to operate, solar water pumps don't have any ongoing operational costs. This means that once the initial investment is made, the cost of pumping water becomes negligible.
Solar water pumps also offer significant environmental benefits. They are a clean and renewable source of energy that doesn't produce any harmful emissions. By using solar water pumps, individuals and organizations can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.
Solar water pumps are highly reliable and require minimal maintenance. They are designed to work in remote and off-grid locations, where access to electricity is limited or non-existent. Solar water pumps also have a long lifespan, with many models lasting up to 25 years or more.
Overall, solar water pumps offer a range of benefits for those looking to pump water for wells, irrigation, and livestock. They are a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and reliable solution that can provide water in even the most remote locations.
Types of Solar Water Pumps
Solar water pumps come in different types, each suited for different applications. Here are the two most common types of solar water pumps:
Submersible pumps are designed to be submerged in water. They are ideal for pumping water from deep wells, boreholes, and other sources of groundwater. Solar-powered submersible pumps are particularly useful in remote locations where access to electricity is limited or nonexistent.
Submersible pumps are more efficient than surface pumps because they push water instead of pulling it. This means they require less energy to operate, making them ideal for solar-powered systems. They are also quieter and last longer than surface pumps because they are protected from the elements.
Conventional AC pumps are usually centrifugal pumps that spin at a high speed to pump as many gallons per minute as possible. They also consume a large amount of power which can be illustrated by the size of the inverter required to power different sized AC pumps. If you run a centrifugal pump at half speed, it pumps one quarter the pressure. Their efficiency is very low at low speeds and when pumping against high pressure.
If your water sources are remote from power lines, add up your long-term costs of fuel and repairs on generators, or the cost of utility line extensions. Now consider the savings with a solar water pump system that needs attention only once every 2 to 20 years, depending on the model.
Example Submersible Pump Applications
We have solar pumps that can deliver from 1 gallon per minute to over 75 gallon per minute.
The SHURflo 9300 solar water pump and the Sunpumps solar water pump can be powered by a PV array as small as two 50 to 100 W solar modules, or a single larger 60-cell or 72-cell module depending on the “head” (vertical distance or elevation change) they are pumping. They can pump 500 to 1,000 gallons per day and lift water 200 feet. These pumps require service every 2 to 4 years.
If you have a higher lift, need more water, or want a pump that does not require service for 15 to 20 years, the Grundfos SQFlex solar water pump is a good choice. The SQFlex can lift water over 800 feet and pump over 20,000 gallons per day at lower lifts. The SQFlex pump can be powered by solar modules, a wind generator, a fuel powered generator, an inverter, the utility grid, or a combination of several of these.
For more information on the components and system design help of solar submersible water pumping please see our Submersible Solar Water Pumping FAQ page.
Surface pumps are designed to be installed above ground. They are ideal for pumping water from shallow wells, ponds, and other sources of surface water. Solar-powered surface pumps are particularly useful for irrigation and livestock watering.
Surface pumps are less efficient than submersible pumps because they have to pull water from the source. This means they require more energy to operate, making them less suitable for solar-powered systems. However, they are easier to install and maintain than submersible pumps.
For trouble free operation, low energy use and 15 year lifespan we recommend the Dankoff series solar pumps. The Dankoff Flowlight Booster pumps are perfect for pressurizing water in an off grid home, while the Dankoff Solar Slow Pumps can move water at extremely low energy requirements.
Submersible pumps are best for deep wells and boreholes, while surface pumps are best for shallow wells and surface water sources. When choosing a solar water pump, it's important to consider the depth of the water source, the amount of water needed, and the distance the water needs to be pumped.
Type of Pump
More efficient, longer lifespan, quieter
More expensive, harder to install and maintain
Easier to install and maintain, cheaper
Less efficient, shorter lifespan, louder
Solar water pumping systems have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness. Whether you're looking to irrigate crops, water livestock, or provide drinking water to remote communities, a solar water pumping system can provide a sustainable solution.
Solar Water Pumping Systems for Wells
Solar water pumping systems are an excellent choice for those who need to pump water from a well, whether it is for irrigation, livestock, or other purposes. These systems are an ideal solution for those who live in remote areas where access to electricity is limited or non-existent.
Components of a Solar Water Pumping System
A solar water pumping system for wells typically consists of the following components:
Solar panels: These panels are used to capture the energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.
Controller: The controller regulates the amount of electricity that is sent to the pump, ensuring that the pump operates efficiently.
Pump: The pump is responsible for moving water from the well to the surface.
Storage tank: The storage tank is used to store water that has been pumped from the well.
Sizing a Solar Water Pumping System
The size of a solar water pumping system will depend on the amount of water that needs to be pumped and the depth of the well. It is essential to ensure that the system is appropriately sized to meet the needs of the user.
Installation and Maintenance
The installation of a solar water pumping system for wells can be done by a professional or by the user themselves. It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to ensure that the system is installed correctly.
Maintenance of a solar water pumping system is minimal, but it is essential to ensure that the system is functioning correctly. Regular checks should be done on the system to ensure that all components are working correctly.
Overall, a solar water pumping system for wells is an excellent investment for those who need to pump water from a well. They are efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly. Whether you need an off-grid well pump, a solar-powered sump pump kit, or an off-grid solar well pump, a solar water pumping system is an excellent choice.
Solar Water Pumping Systems for Irrigation
Solar water pumping systems for irrigation are becoming increasingly popular due to their cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits. These systems use solar energy to power water pumps, which are used to irrigate crops and plants. In this section, we will discuss the components of a solar water pumping system for irrigation, the benefits of using a solar-powered irrigation system, sizing a solar water pumping system for irrigation, and installation and maintenance.
Components of a Solar Water Pumping System for Irrigation
A solar-powered irrigation system consists of several components, including:
Solar panels: These panels convert solar energy into electrical energy to power the water pump.
Water pump: The water pump is responsible for drawing water from the well or other water source and distributing it to the irrigation system.
Control unit: The control unit regulates the operation of the water pump and ensures that it is running efficiently.
Storage tank: The storage tank stores water for later use when the sun is not shining.
Benefits of a Solar Powered Irrigation System
There are several benefits to using a solar-powered irrigation system, including:
Cost savings: Solar-powered irrigation systems are more cost-effective than traditional systems because they do not require electricity from the grid.
Environmentally friendly: Solar-powered irrigation systems do not emit greenhouse gases or other pollutants, making them a more environmentally friendly option.
Increased crop yield: Solar-powered irrigation systems ensure that crops receive a consistent water supply, leading to increased crop yields and improved plant health.
Improved water management: Solar-powered irrigation systems can be programmed to irrigate crops during off-peak hours when water demand is lower, reducing the strain on water resources.
Sizing a Solar Water Pumping System for Irrigation
When sizing a solar water pumping system for irrigation, several factors must be considered, including the water demand, the size of the irrigation system, and the location of the system. A qualified solar installer can help determine the appropriate size of the system based on these factors.
Installation and Maintenance
Installation of a solar water pumping system for irrigation can be done by a proper installer, or by a good DIYer. Proper maintenance of the system is also essential to ensure that it operates efficiently. Regular maintenance tasks include cleaning the solar panels, checking the water pump and control unit for any issues, and ensuring that the storage tank is clean and free of debris.
Solar Water Pumping Systems for Livestock
Livestock require access to clean and fresh water at all times to maintain their health and productivity. Solar water pumping systems are a reliable and cost-effective solution for providing water to remote areas where grid power is not available. These systems use solar panels to power the water pump, which draws water from a well or other water source and delivers it to a storage tank or trough.
Components of a Solar Water Pumping System for Livestock
A typical solar water pumping system for livestock consists of the following components:
Solar panels: These capture sunlight and convert it into electricity to power the water pump.
Water pump: This draws water from the source and delivers it to the storage tank or trough.
Storage tank: This holds the water until it is needed by the livestock.
Trough or drinking fountain: This provides access to the water for the livestock.
Benefits of a Solar Powered Livestock Watering System
There are several benefits to using a solar powered livestock watering system:
Cost-effective: Solar water pumping systems have lower operating costs than diesel or electric pumps, as they do not require fuel or grid power.
Reliable: Solar pumps have fewer moving parts than traditional pumps, reducing the risk of breakdowns and maintenance requirements.
Environmentally friendly: Solar power is a clean and renewable energy source, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impact.
Sizing a Solar Water Pumping System for Livestock
The size of a solar water pumping system for livestock depends on several factors, including the number of animals, the distance from the water source to the storage tank or trough, and the amount of water required per day. A professional installer can help determine the appropriate system size for a specific application.
Installation and Maintenance
Solar water pumping systems for livestock require professional installation to ensure proper sizing and placement of components. Regular maintenance is also required to ensure the system operates at peak efficiency. This may include cleaning the solar panels, checking the pump and wiring, and monitoring the water level in the storage tank or trough.
In conclusion, solar water pumping systems are a reliable and cost-effective solution for providing water to livestock in remote areas. By understanding the components, benefits, sizing, and maintenance requirements of these systems, farmers and ranchers can make informed decisions about implementing solar powered livestock watering systems on their property.
Off-Grid Solar Water Pumping Systems
Off-grid solar water pumping systems are self-sufficient systems that use solar energy to power water pumps for wells, irrigation, and livestock. These systems are ideal for remote locations where access to electricity is limited or non-existent.
Advantages of Off-Grid Solar Water Pumping Systems
Off-grid solar water pumping systems have several advantages over traditional water pumping systems. These advantages include:
Cost-effective: Off-grid solar water pumping systems have lower operating costs since they do not require electricity from the grid.
Environmentally friendly: These systems do not produce any greenhouse gas emissions, making them an eco-friendly option for water pumping.
Reliable: Since these systems do not rely on the grid, they are not affected by power outages or blackouts.
Low maintenance: Off-grid solar water pumping systems require minimal maintenance, making them a hassle-free option for water pumping.
Components of an Off-Grid Solar Water Pumping System
An off-grid solar water pumping system consists of several components, including:
Solar panels: These panels are used to convert sunlight into electricity, which is then used to power the water pump.
Water pump: This is the device that pumps water from the well or other water source.
Controller: The controller regulates the power output from the solar panels to the water pump.
Batteries: These are used to store excess energy generated by the solar panels for use when there is no sunlight.
Sizing an Off-Grid Solar Water Pumping System
The size of an off-grid solar water pumping system depends on several factors, including the amount of water needed, the location of the water source, and the amount of sunlight available. It is important to properly size the system to ensure that it can meet the water demands of the user.
Installation and Maintenance
Installation of an off-grid solar water pumping system should be done by a professional to ensure that the system is installed correctly and safely. Maintenance of the system is minimal and should be done on a regular basis to ensure that the system is functioning properly.
Off-grid solar water pumping systems are a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, reliable, and low-maintenance option for water pumping in remote locations. They consist of several components, including solar panels, a water pump, a controller, and batteries. Proper sizing and installation are important to ensure that the system can meet the water demands of the user.
Water Storage and Pressurization
Many conventional AC powered water systems pump water from a well or other water source into a pressure tank that stores water and stabilizes the pressure for household use. When you turn on the water in the house, an air-filled bladder in the tank forces the water into the pipes. When the pressure drops, a pressure switch turns on the pump, refilling and re-pressurizing the tank. This works because an AC pump delivers high volume and pressure on demand; however, this will not work with pumps operating directly from PV modules because the sun may not be shining when you want to take a long, hot shower.
For pumps operating directly from PV modules, a non-pressurized water tank or cistern is used to store water for usage during times when the sun is not shining. If the tank can be located above the house on a hill or on a tower, gravity can supply the water pressure.
For reasonable pressure, the tank needs to be at least 40 feet above the house, although to obtain a pressure of 30 psi will require about 70 feet of elevation.
Alternatively, a DC or AC pressure booster pump such as the Dankoff Flowlight Booster Pump, powered from a battery or inverter, can be used to maintain a pressure tank as needed from a storage tank that is filled by a solar pump during the day. You must use a pressure pump that can deliver the maximum flow rate required by the house, or have a pressure tank that is large enough to make up the difference between what the pressure pump can deliver and what is required for as long as it may be required. This is called the “draw down volume” of the pressure.
Common Solar Water Pumping FAQs
Can I use the sun to power a pump?
Any renewable energy source can produce the electricity you need to power appliances, including pumps. Solar electric cells convert sunlight into DC electricity that can be routed directly to DC appliances, stored in batteries for use when the sun is not shining, or inverted into AC electricity to power AC appliances.
Solar well pumping generally refers to the use of sunlight to power pumps, while the sun is shining. These are simple systems that do not incorporate batteries for storing electricity. In essence, the water tank or cistern acts as storage. If you can pump water fast enough and your cistern is big enough, then you do not need to pump during the night or on cloudy days.
Batteries are generally not necessary in remote water pumping situations, as long as your system is sized properly and you have enough water flow from the water source.
Is solar water pumping economically feasible?
The reliability and economy of solar electric power make it an excellent choice for powering remote water pumping. Cattle ranchers all over the world are enthusiastic solar pump users. Their water sources are often spread over many miles of rangeland where utility power is not accessible and where refueling and maintenance costs are high for generator use.
If your water source is more than 1/3 mile from utility power, solar is a favorable economic choice. This fact is substantiated by a number of rural electric cooperatives across the U.S. These co-ops actively promote the use of solar pumps because the cost of extending new power lines is prohibitive.
Where do solar pumping systems work?
Solar panels should be located in a sunny spot where no shading occurs. Altitude is not a factor, but height off the ground will affect whether or not you are able to keep them clear of snow.
Panels should be angled optimally for solar gain, particularly during the shorter winter days. If your site is in the northern hemisphere, you should point your panels to the true south. The reverse is true for places in the southern hemisphere. For many locations, there is quite a difference between magnetic south and true south, so you should consult a declination map before setting your mounting structure.
The solar panels should be tiled up from horizontal to get a better angle at the sun and to help shed rain and snow. For best year round power output, with the least amount of maintenance, you should face the solar panel(s) true south at a tilt angle equal to your latitude with respect to the horizontal position.
If you are able to adjust the solar panel seasonally, a good rule of thumb is:
•Latitude minus 15 degrees in the summer
•Latitude in the spring/fall
•Latitude plus 15 degrees in the winter
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