Solar pump technology and advancements in solar-powered water pumping systems has come a long way. Solar-powered water wells got started in the early eighties, but did not start growing and becoming popular until about fifteen years ago. The two companies that are leading the charge, Grundfos Pumps and Lorentz, are the most popular brands. In the past solar pumping systems were overly expensive and could require an engineer and a water well professional to design and install. Modern systems are more user friendly, and with advancements in photovoltaic panels and more efficient pumps the cost of systems make using them cost effective and reliable. Whether the well is designed for off-the-grid living or stock watering, today’s solar systems help save money for the user.
Until the early part of the 2000’s the installation required the system to make enough DC power to convert and invert or change it to AC power for the pump. In 2002 the systems were changed so that the pumps did not need AC power, eliminating the need for the costly and inefficient inverter. This made the installation more like a traditional grid type submersible pump. Today systems supply everything from drinking water, livestock water, and even crop irrigation.
In the past windmills were the only choice for livestock water in rural and remote locations, however in Texas and throughout the United States this is the most prevalent reason for installation of solar wells.
Remote locations without a reliable grid electricity are where solar-powered systems are the most reliable and cheapest way to get water. This is the reason the continent of Africa’s most prevalent installation is for drinking water, while in some European nations like Portugal the main purpose is crop irrigation. Most solar systems in Texas are windmill replacements, making three to ten gallons per minute on average. While windmills have provided water in remote locations for hundreds of years, they are not cost efficient today. With repairs and maintenance cost added to equipment cost, as well as the cost for labor, windmills (even off brands like Windmill 702 and FIASA WINDMILLS aka American West made in Mexico and Argentina) cost upwards of 150% to 1000% to operate over a five year period what it takes to operate a solar-powered water pumping system. The advancements in solar power can provide almost twice the real world efficiency of equivalent sized AC motors according to independent studies, and any electric pump is always more efficient than the 300 year old technology of windmills.
Solar systems are capable of producing up to 1000 gallons per minute. So while solar-powered systems used to be limited to “low flow” systems they are now used to irrigate hundreds of acres of crops from orchards and vineyards to flat land crop production and offshore firefighting duties. By pumping into holding tanks and elevated tanks many off-the-grid setups are supplied by solar systems. What kind of solar system can help you with your needs?