What Is A Solar Powered Water Pump? (Plus 7 Uses) | GreenUpSide (2022)

Are you looking for a way to irrigate an off-grid homestead garden or circulate water in a soilless growing system? If so, a solar powered water pump could be just the thing you need.

So, what is a solar powered water pump? A solar powered water pump is a water pump that uses electricity produced by PV (photovoltaic) solar panels. These pumps can use either AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current). A battery is optional, and it will store energy so that the pump can operate at night or on cloudy days.

Of course, there are lots of uses for solar powered water pumps, from water features to irrigation.

In this article, we’ll talk about solar powered water pumps, along with their advantages and disadvantages. We’ll also get into some of the uses for solar powered water pumps.

Let’s get started.

What Is A Solar Powered Water Pump?

According to CTCN, a solar powered water pump uses electricity from PV solar panels as its power source.

What Is A Solar Powered Water Pump? (Plus 7 Uses) | GreenUpSide (1)
(Video) Easy Solar Powered Water Pump

The main parts of a solar powered water pump are:

  • Solar Panel Array – this contains one or more PV solar panels. Each panel converts solar radiation (sunlight) into electricity. This electricity is the power source for the pump. Solar panels are less effective on cloudy days, and they do not work at night.
  • Battery – this is an optional feature of a solar water pump system. A battery stores electricity from the solar panel array for use at night or on cloudy days. A battery adds extra cost to the system, but makes it feasible to pump water constantly.
  • Controller – this is the “brain” of the system. It automatically adjusts power based on the amount of electricity the panels produce. It can also shut off the pump when the source water level is low.
  • Electric Motor – this converts electricity from the battery or solar panel array into mechanical energy to run the water pump.
  • Water Pump – this moves water from the water source (for example, a well, pond, or lake) through a pipe or hose to its destination (for example, a farm or garden).
What Is A Solar Powered Water Pump? (Plus 7 Uses) | GreenUpSide (2)

As an alternative to a battery, a solar powered water pump can move the water into a raised storage tank when sun is shining. Then, gravity can act as the power source to move the water at night or on cloudy days.

Since batteries are expensive, this may offer a cost savings for a solar powered water pump system. Moving the water into a storage tank also offers the possibility of using sunlight to warm up the water for bathing.

Water Pump Current: AC or DC?

A solar powered water pump can use one of two types of current:

Water Pump Types: Surface or Submersible?

Water pumps come in two basic types:

  • Surface Pump – this type of pump is placed on the ground, near the surface of the water source (such as a pond or lake). The pump uses power to pull water up into the pump and then pushes it to its destination through a pipe or hose.
  • Submersible Pump – this type of pump is submerged in the water source. It is more efficient than a surface pump, since it doesn’t need to use energy to bring the water up to the pump. However, it is more expensive than a surface pump.
What Is A Solar Powered Water Pump? (Plus 7 Uses) | GreenUpSide (3)
(Video) What to expect when sizing a Solar Powered Water Pump

Advantages Of Solar Powered Water Pumps

Solar powered water pumps have many advantages over other types of water pumps, including:

  • Clean – there is no chance of a fuel spill, since a solar water pump uses electricity from sunlight. This is important for applications related to drinking water or agriculture, since a small amount of fuel (such as gasoline) can contaminate many gallons of water.
  • Labor Saving – once a solar water pump is installed, there is no need to transport fuel to power the motor. This saves on costs in the long term, and eliminates the possibility of fuel spills.
  • Long Lasting – solar panels are durable and can last for decades. The pump itself will likely have a shorter lifespan and warranty.
  • Mobile – a solar water pump can be mobile, so you can move it from one spot to another if a water source dries up.
  • Off Grid – a solar powered water pump can operate off of the grid. This means that you don’t need to live close to power lines or pay to connect your home to the grid.
  • Battery Option – you can add one or more batteries to a solar powered water pump system. Storing electricity when the sun is shining will allow you to use the pump at night or on cloudy days.
What Is A Solar Powered Water Pump? (Plus 7 Uses) | GreenUpSide (4)

Disadvantages Of Solar Powered Water Pumps

Solar powered water pumps do have some disadvantages, including:

  • Inconsistent Power – without a battery, you can only use the pump when the solar panel array is producing power. An AC system that uses more power can pump more water when it is working, but there will be more downtime, especially on cloudy days.
  • Limited Locations – you can’t just set up a solar powered water pump anywhere you want. There needs to be a decent amount of sunlight hitting the solar panel array to produce enough power to run it. Installing the solar array far away from the pump means that you will need to run wires a long way to move the electricity from panels to pump.
  • Setup Expenses – you will need to buy the system, including the solar panel array, controller, and the pump itself (plus batteries if you want them). You might also need to hire an electrician to help you install it, which adds additional setup costs.
What Is A Solar Powered Water Pump? (Plus 7 Uses) | GreenUpSide (5)

Are Solar Powered Water Pumps Any Good?

A solar powered water pump can work well in climates with lots of sun and few clouds. With a battery to store power, they can be a reasonable alternative in other areas as well.

The performance of a solar powered water pump will depend on a few factors:

  • Sunlight In Location – to get optimal sunlight, you will need to choose the best spot in your yard that is close to the water source. You might need to trim or remove trees to avoid shading the panels.
  • Solar Array Capacity – the power that a solar water pump can use is limited by the amount of electricity that the solar array can produce. More panels will mean more power and more water pressure, but extra panels will take up more space.
  • Height of Water Source and Tank – if the water source is low and the tank is at a high elevation, the pump will need to work harder and use more energy to lift the water and move it to where it needs to be.
  • Pump Capacity – a larger pump can move more water, but it will need more power to maintain this increased flow.
  • Battery Availability – a battery will give you more consistent performance, since you can store extra electricity when it is sunny and use the excess when it is cloudy.

Can A Solar Panel Power A Water Pump?

Depending on the size of the solar panel and the pump capacity, a single solar panel may be able to power a water pump.

(Video) LichtsinnRV.com - Used 2020 Winnebago View 24D - Class C Diesel Motorhome

According to Energy Sage, a home solar panel produces 250 to 400 watts. The number of solar panels you would need to power a pump system would depend on the wattage of the pump.

How Many Solar Panels Does It Take To Power A Water Pump?

The key equation is P = IV, or

  • (Power) = (Current)x(Voltage)

Power (P) is given in watts, current (I) is given in amps, and voltage (V) is given in volts. Let’s try a calculation to see how it works.

For example, this Everbilt 1 horsepower Pump from Home Depot has an amperage of 11.8 amps (I = 11.8) and voltage of 230 volts (V = 230).

This tells us that the power is 11.8 x 230 = 2714 watts. If your solar panels are producing 250 watts each, then you would need 11 panels (2714 / 250 = 10.856, so round up to 11).

Of course, this pump can discharge 14 gallons per minute, and can lift water 152 feet. You may not need such a powerful pump.

What Is A Solar Powered Water Pump? (Plus 7 Uses) | GreenUpSide (6)
(Video) Best Solar Water Pumps of 2020 [Top 7 Picks]

Uses of Solar Powered Water Pumps

There are lots of uses for solar powered water pumps, including:

  • Water Features – this includes landscaping features for your yard and garden, including water fountains, bird baths, and fish ponds.
  • Garden Irrigation – with conventional gardening, you will need lots of water, and a solar powered water pump can move water to your crops during the day, when the sun is shining and they need it most. You can use the water from a pond, lake, or even a rain barrel as your source.
  • Livestock – you can also use a solar water pump to provide water to your livestock (chickens, cows, pigs, horses, etc.)
  • Well – you can draw water directly into the house or store it in a tank for later use.
  • Pool – you can use a solar water pump system with a battery to keep the pool filter running day and night.
  • Soilless Growing any soilless growing system will need a water pump, whether hydroponics, aquaponics, or aeroponics.
  • Fish Tank – an outdoor solar panel array can keep a fish tank pump running during the day. You would need a battery to store electricity to run the pump at night.
What Is A Solar Powered Water Pump? (Plus 7 Uses) | GreenUpSide (7)

Conclusion

Now you know what a solar powered water pump is and how it works. You also know all about how these pumps can be used for many purposes in a garden or on a homestead.

You can learn more about how to water a garden (including when to do it) here.

You can learn how to set up a self-watering garden here.

You might also be interested in reading my article on using tap water in your garden.

I hope you found this article helpful. If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

(Video) Cheap Solar Powered Water Pump | No Batteries Needed | Update

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here. Enjoy!

~Jonathon

FAQs

What is a solar powered water pump? ›

A solar water pump system is essentially an electrical pump system in which the electricity is provided by one or several PhotoVoltaic (PV) panels. A typical solar powered pumping system consists of a solar panel array that powers an electric motor, which in turn powers a bore or surface pump.

How does a solar powered pump work? ›

Essentially, solar-powered water pumps work by converting the sun's rays (photons) to electricity that will operate the water pump. It uses solar panels to collect the photons (units of light) from sunlight, producing the direct current (DC) that provides the energy for the motor to pump water out from its source.

What is the most powerful solar powered water pump? ›

Best Solar Water Pumps Reviews
  1. AISITIN 5.5W Solar Fountain Pump. ...
  2. Biling Solar Water Fountain Pump Outdoor. ...
  3. ECO-WORTHY Solar Fountain Water Pump Kit. ...
  4. Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit. ...
  5. Viajero 3W Solar Fountain Pump. ...
  6. Solar Fountain Pump, SIYIBAEBY 3W Solar Water Pump. ...
  7. 10W Solar Water Pump KIT. ...
  8. Well water pump, 12 V / 24 V DC.
5 Feb 2022

How high can a solar pump pump water? ›

Surface Pumps

The maximum suction lift at sea level is approx. 7.5m.

How much is a solar water pump? ›

If your well is on the shallow side, measuring up to 150 feet in depth, then a solar pump will cost around $1,600 to $2,000. For a well up to 300 feet, expect a price closer to $2,5000 to $3,000.

Are solar powered pumps any good? ›

Solar pumps are also very discreet, quiet in operation, and usually powerful enough to run smaller water features without trouble. If you live somewhere with plenty of months of sunlight, it can be a great (and cheap) addition to your garden pond.

How well do solar water pumps work? ›

They are so reliable that most manufacturers give a 25-year warranty, and a life expectancy well beyond 30 years. They work well in cold or hot weather. Solar water pumps are specially designed to utilize DC electricity from solar panels.

How does a solar powered water feature work? ›

How do solar water features work? It's a pretty simple setup: a solar panel connected to a water pump generates energy when exposed to sunlight. This will power the submerged pump, activating a jet or stream of water.

Can solar energy be used to pump water? ›

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, which power the pumps, have dropped significantly in price, while the technology has improved and is now able to pump higher volumes of water and reach even deeper sources of groundwater.

Do solar water pumps work at night? ›

Inoperable at Night – Because the pump exclusively runs off of a solar panel, without sunlight or an additional battery or power source, the feature won't run at all during the night time.

How long does a solar water pump last? ›

The solar pump itself should last between 10-20 years depending on use case and specific pump. Some customer are running the pump 24/7, 7 days a week which will shorten the observed lifetime of the system.

Can solar pump work without controller? ›

The short answer is yes. Most pumps will work without a control box. But here's the rub – if you want your pump to run better, for more hours in the day, if you want to use a float switch, and if you want to protect your pump from voltage and current spikes, then a control box is an excellent addition to your system.

How many solar panels do I need to run a water pump? ›

The number of solar panels needed to run a well pump depends on the HP of that well pump. RPS systems range from only needing 2 solar panels (100W each) for a 1/2 HP pump to around 20 solar panels for a 5 HP. The RPS 200 is the 2 panel system, the pump itself is a DC pump using a permenant magnet motor.

How do you size a solar pump? ›

Grundfos Solar Water Pump How to size and select your ... - YouTube

How many solar panels do I need for 1hp motor? ›

The number of solar panels needed for a 1 HP motor depends on the phase type, solar panel watts and age of pump! A brand new RPS 1 HP, three phase pump utilizes twelve 100W panels, a total of 1200W. You could potentially use larger solar panels like 300W, meaning fewer overall panels but about the same square footage.

How deep can a solar pump work? ›

Home How deep can a solar pump work? RPS carries solar pumps that can handle up to 1,000 feet of total pump head. Total pump head is different that how far beneath the surface of the water a solar pump can be submerged, about 400 feet.

What can I use to pump out water? ›

Utility pumps are used for short-term purposes or emergencies to transfer liquids from one place to another. If you're just moving water, go with a utility pump. However, if the water contains debris or solids, go with a trash pump or sewage pump, instead.

Can a solar pump run a waterfall? ›

Sadly solar pumps aren't designed to run waterfalls either, so if you want a larger, more reliable pump for a filter or waterfall opt for a conventional 240v mains-powered model.

How do I choose a solar pump? ›

How to select the right solar pump
  1. Your location.
  2. The size of your property.
  3. The size of the pump needed.
  4. The flow rate.
  5. The climate.
  6. Pipe sizes and back pressure.
  7. Pump efficiency.
  8. The amount of PV panels needed.
1 Feb 2022

Do solar powered water features need electricity? ›

As they don't use electricity, solar powered water features are good eco-friendly alternatives to mains-powered options, too.

What should I look for when buying a solar water pump? ›

Choosing the right solar pump for your farm can feel difficult as there are several things you should consider, and you must relate these to your specific farm.
...
What affects flowrate?
  • Total lift/slope of land. ...
  • Sunshine levels (climate) ...
  • Pipe sizes (backpressure) ...
  • Pump efficiency. ...
  • Amount of solar PV. ...
  • Don't be fooled by HP.
11 May 2021

Can a solar well pump run continuously? ›

Can the solar 12V pump run continuously? Yes, our circulating pumps can sustain a 24-hour workload. A solar hot water system will most likely run 10 hours on a sunny summer day.

What are the advantages of solar water pump? ›

The main advantage of the solar water pump is that it uses sunlight at no cost. Just as solar water pumps reduce dependence on electricity or diesel, once installed, there is no recurrence cost of electricity or fuel. Compared to conventional water pumps, solar water pumps require very little maintenance.

What is the most efficient water pump? ›

The most efficient type of pump is a rotary vane pump. This type of pump has a maximum efficiency when the fluid is moving in a circle. Other types of pumps have different efficiencies when pumping different fluids.

How long does it take for a solar fountain to charge? ›

Battery will take 2 to 3 days to fully charge. Pump will only run when there is sufficient power from the battery. Little or no battery charging occurs so pump performance is not maintained. Battery will take several days to fully charge.

Do solar water features have batteries? ›

Solar Fountains: Standard solar fountains do not store solar power; they operate only when the panel is placed in direct sunlight. The panel is connected to the pump via a cord but they do not have a battery pack. Without direct sunlight, the fountain will no longer run until after the sun comes out again.

How do you set up a solar water feature? ›

How to Assemble a Solar Water Feature - YouTube

Where are solar pumps used? ›

Solar water pumps are part of an environmental approach to agriculture. Whether a region is developed or not, it can be used for reservoirs and irrigation systems. They can also be applied for the following purposes where pumping water is needed, such as: Drinking and cooking water supply.

How do water pumps affect the environment? ›

As people pump groundwater for irrigation, drinking water, and industrial uses, the water doesn't just seep back into the ground -- it also evaporates into the atmosphere, or runs off into rivers and canals, eventually emptying into the world's oceans.

What is the difference between solar pump and normal pump? ›

The difference between a normal electric pump and a solar pump is that the solar pump operates on Direct Current (DC) while a normal electric pump works on Alternative current (AC). The DC current produced from the PV panels is delivered to the controller and then directly to the pump.

What are the advantages of solar water pump? ›

The main advantage of the solar water pump is that it uses sunlight at no cost. Just as solar water pumps reduce dependence on electricity or diesel, once installed, there is no recurrence cost of electricity or fuel. Compared to conventional water pumps, solar water pumps require very little maintenance.

Where are solar pumps used? ›

Solar water pumps are part of an environmental approach to agriculture. Whether a region is developed or not, it can be used for reservoirs and irrigation systems. They can also be applied for the following purposes where pumping water is needed, such as: Drinking and cooking water supply.

How long does a solar water pump last? ›

The solar pump itself should last between 10-20 years depending on use case and specific pump. Some customer are running the pump 24/7, 7 days a week which will shorten the observed lifetime of the system.

Do solar pumps work at night? ›

Q: Can it run at night? A: With a solar direct system, no. However, ample pressure should be supplied via an overhead tank. If night time pump operation is an absolute requirement, we may integrate a battery system with the solar pump, although we do not recommend this due to cost considerations.

How deep can a solar pump work? ›

Home How deep can a solar pump work? RPS carries solar pumps that can handle up to 1,000 feet of total pump head. Total pump head is different that how far beneath the surface of the water a solar pump can be submerged, about 400 feet.

What are the two types of solar pump? ›

But primarily there are four types of solar water pumps--submersible pumps and surface pumps, direct current (DC) pumps and alternate current (AC) pumps.

How do you install a solar pump? ›

Solar powered pump installation guide
  1. Dig hole about 1 metre deep for pole. Ensure it is located in a position that will be in full sunlight all day.
  2. Align pole to face north.
  3. Concrete pole into position.
  4. Allow concrete to set.
  5. Loosely clamp angle adjustment plates to pole.

What can I use to pump out water? ›

Utility pumps are used for short-term purposes or emergencies to transfer liquids from one place to another. If you're just moving water, go with a utility pump. However, if the water contains debris or solids, go with a trash pump or sewage pump, instead.

How many solar panels do I need to run a water pump? ›

The number of solar panels needed to run a well pump depends on the HP of that well pump. RPS systems range from only needing 2 solar panels (100W each) for a 1/2 HP pump to around 20 solar panels for a 5 HP. The RPS 200 is the 2 panel system, the pump itself is a DC pump using a permenant magnet motor.

Can we run water pump on solar? ›

Solar power systems are perfectly capable of meeting your household needs of power for lighting, cooling, and water pumping purposes.

Do solar water fountains work at night? ›

Blumfeldt Ocean Planet Solar Fountain

This understated water feature is perfect for small gardens and patios and would look great combined with a container display or in a herb garden. What's more, this feature has four LEDs and can operate for up to 8 hours at night, for gentle evening lighting.

Do solar water features work at night? ›

Do solar water features work at night? While solar water features naturally perform best when positioned in direct sunlight, there are some models that come with backup batteries. The batteries charge during the day as the sun shines, and power the water features as the weather changes and night time falls.

What is the most efficient water pump? ›

The most efficient type of pump is a rotary vane pump. This type of pump has a maximum efficiency when the fluid is moving in a circle. Other types of pumps have different efficiencies when pumping different fluids.

Videos

1. New Solar Pump For Many Purposes!
(Engineer775)
2. install 12v Solar Water Pump | Water Solar Pump With Solar Panel 12v Water Pump
(Electric Multi Works)
3. Installing Your SE1 - The Solar Powered Water Pump Built To Last!
(Futurepump Ltd)
4. Renewable Energy: Solar Water Pump
(nmsuaces)
5. Solar Pool Heating - How to Use Your System From Florida Solar Design Group in Fort Myers, FL
(Florida Solar Design Group)
6. Off Grid 12v DC and 115v AC water pumps, with Solar
(Battle of the Tools)

Top Articles

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Manual Maggio

Last Updated: 11/13/2022

Views: 6187

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Manual Maggio

Birthday: 1998-01-20

Address: 359 Kelvin Stream, Lake Eldonview, MT 33517-1242

Phone: +577037762465

Job: Product Hospitality Supervisor

Hobby: Gardening, Web surfing, Video gaming, Amateur radio, Flag Football, Reading, Table tennis

Introduction: My name is Manual Maggio, I am a thankful, tender, adventurous, delightful, fantastic, proud, graceful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.