How to Choose the Best Solar Water Pump
History of water pumps
History allows us to appreciate how far we’ve come in terms of innovation and technological developments. The water pump, in particular, dates as far as 2000 BC when it was only but a rudimentary appliance used by Egyptians to fetch water from wells.
Today, they are an essential part of our lives. The first pumps were very simple in design. They relied on human strength since there was no electricity then. The very first pump was known as the Shadoof. It featured a simple bucket tied to a rope that was used to get water from wells.
It was not until 1593 that a simple design of the gear pump was invented by a Frenchman called Nicolas Grollier de Serviere. Pappenheim, a German engineer, improved on the design in 1636, leading to the creation of the deep-toothed, double rotary gear pump.
The centrifugal pump is the most common water pump used today. It dates as far as the 17th Century. It was invented by a Frenchman called Denis Papin. He used a motor and drainage vanes to pull water via suction force.
In 1698, Thomas Avery built the savery pump – a water pump that used steam to create a vacuum that could pull water. Since then, several other pumps have come to fruition including the axial flow pump, jet pump, electromagnetic pumps, and submersible water pumps.
There are mainly two types of solar water pumps: surface solar pumps and submersible solar pumps. The former are built to operate above ground and pump water through pipes. They are suitable where the maximum depth doesn’t exceed 50 meters. Submersible water pumps are built to operate below the ground level. They are used in wells to pump water from a maximum depth of 20 meters.
Benefits of a solar water pump
- Low operating costs
Unlike other water pumps, solar pumps use sunlight to generate enough power to pump water. Sunlight is available at no cost. This eliminates recurring costs that arise from dependence on gas and electricity.
- Low maintenance
Solar water pumps function using fewer moving parts when compared to traditional water pumps. This reduces the chances of breaking down in the long run, hence reducing maintenance costs.
- Environmentally friendly
Diesel and propane-powered water pumps produce noise and emit harmful gases. Solar water pumps do not require fuel. They are able to run on solar energy without producing any harmful substances that harm the landscaping environment.
In some areas, solar water pumps can provide an alternative source of income. Farmers that use solar water pumps for irrigation can sell surplus energy to the local grid. Governments across the world have also put in place subsidies for farmers who use solar water pumps.
What to consider before buying
- Flow rate
The flow rate is the amount of water provided for use by the pump at a specific time interval. It is represented by the letter Q and is measured in gpm, m3/h, m3/s, or LPM. A gardener who wants to irrigate his garden needs a pump with a flow rate of about 10 gallons per minute (gpm).
A highly efficient solar water pump ensures that little to no energy is wasted. Efficiency measures the ration between power provided and power utilized by the pump. The best solar water pumps have an efficiency of between 70 and 90 percent.
A good solar water pump should pack enough revolutions per minute to distribute water throughout the pipelines to which is it’s connected. High-speed water pumps have a speed of up to 3,500 rpm. They ensure that you don’t have to wait for too long to access stored water.
Head refers to how high a water pump can raise water. It shows the pressure at which a pump pumps water. The higher the pressure, the larger the distance water will be raised. Before buying a pump, you’ll need to first find out what flow rate and total head you need.
The power of your water pump will also be determined by your water pumping needs. The average water pump has power ranging between 250 and 1,100 watts. To determine how much power a pump needs, multiply its wattage with the number of hours it will run then divide the result by 1000. This shows the number of kilowatt-hours used by the water pump.
Ways to limit water usage
- Turn off any faucets that are left running. Avoid letting the water run needlessly as you wash and rinse dishes, brush your teeth, shave, or wash your hands and face.
- Fix any leaks. Leakages can cause you to lose up to 20 gallons of water every day. Leaky toilets lose 100 times as much.
- Recycle the water you use to wash your vegetables and fruits. You can use it to irrigate your garden.
- Install dual sinks. These allow you to fill one sink with water for washing dishes and another for rinsing them instead of letting water run continuously.
- Take shorter showers. You can use a kitchen timer to limit the amount of time you spend in the shower.
- Consider buying a small and modern dishwasher. Modern dishwashers are designed to save lots of water. Consider scraping your dishes before loading them. This could save you up to 10 gallons of water daily.
Are solar pond pumps any good?
Solar pond pumps are some of the strongest water pumps available on the market today. They feature large solar panels that generate enough energy for both small and medium ponds. They pump water to sufficient heights and are cost-effective.
How many solar panels does it take to run a water pump?
A typical solar water pump may need anywhere between 5 and 15 solar panels. This depends on the amount of power needed to pump water to a certain height. An average panel produces about 300 Watts. A 2 horsepower water pump may require up to 15 of these to produce 4500 Watts.