Water is the most essential thing in the world, without it, we cannot survive. And this doesn’t just for humans, but animals, plants, and all other life. That is why, everywhere you go, you will most probably find a water pump. These devices have applications in areas ranging from home taps/tanks, swimming pools, heat exchangers, vehicles, etc. We can power these machines using electricity or combustion engines. One source of electricity can be using solar panels for water pumps.
Today, that is exactly what we will be discussing.
What is Solar Energy?
This refers to harnessing usable energy from solar radiation. The general application of this is to power up equipment like water heaters, cookers, appliances, and in this case, water pumps. But, before that, let’s see how solar energy operates, more precisely, solar panels.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
There are a variety of solar panels available in the market, but today we will discuss the most commonly used panels, called the PV panels. PV stands for photovoltaic, the technology that goes into its operations.
These panels are made from a collection of PV cells that harness energy from sunlight. The cells consist of two layers of semiconductors sandwiched together, connected to wires. When the solar radiation hits the cells, it excites the charges within them generating electricity due to the photovoltaic effect. The wires carry this current from the cells to the charger or batteries.
How to Use Solar to Power Water Pumps?
The easiest way to use solar power for pumps is to use solar panels to generate electricity for the pumps. Just set up a solar panel array with enough output power to fulfill the energy need of the pump. Keep in mind, make the output power of the array a little higher than the pump’s input power. Connect the panel to a solar charger, and connect the pump to the output of the solar charge.
The solar charger will act as a regulator and prevent the pump from overloading or destabilizing. You can also add a battery to collect the power when the pump is not in use during the day. This will allow you to operate your pump even during the night or rainy weather.
Advantages of Solar Water Pumps
The reason that solar water pumps are so popular is that they provide a lot of advantages that traditional pumps do not. Let’s check out the benefits of solar panels for water pumps.
Low Operating Cost
Unlike traditional sources of power like the electric grid, petrol, or diesel; sunlight is free and in abundance. The only major cost that will go into a solar pump is the initial cost of installation for the PV Panels, wiring, and the pump itself. And the cost of periodic maintenance, which will also be necessary for a traditional pump. Therefore, in the long run, these devices save you a lot of costs.
The water pump will need periodic maintenance in either of the cases, due to the wear on the movie parts & seals from friction, rust, etc. However, the greatest benefit of using PV panels for electricity as opposed to petrol/diesel generators, is that they require next to no maintenance. All that you need to do is keep the panels clean and get them inspected once a year.
The greatest benefit of solar energy perhaps, is that it produces no pollution to generate energy. As you would have understood by the working of the panels given above, the only outcome of a photovoltaic effect is electricity. However, that is not to say that it is completely green, nothing can be. That is because the materials required to make PV panels generate pollution during their manufacturing process.
Cost Recovery Overtime
Solar power systems have a high implementation cost due to the cost that goes into the manufacturing of their components. However, because of their lack of moving parts, very low maintenance cost, and no need for fuel, these pumps recover the initial cost very quickly.
Types of Solar Water Pumps
These pumps are popular in a variety of applications in many industries. They provide an effective solution at a negligible operation cost. This has allowed manufacturers to produce different types of these pumps, compatible with different fields of application.
Submersible Solar Pumps
As the name suggests, these pumps need to be submerged in water for operation. They are best in situations where the pump nozzle needs to be small like bore wells. Also, they can be used to move/retrieve water from a depth of up to 700 feet.
Surface Solar Pumps
Unlike the previous pump, these remain on the surface. You usually see them in commercial and residential buildings, they are used to transport water up to the water tanks on buildings. They have a maximum suction depth of 10 meters.
AC or DC Solar Pumps
Another criterion for classifying these pumps is the type of current flow they use to operate. Direct Current Solar Pumps, as the name suggests, operate using DC. These pumps are a good choice to use with PV panels, as the panels generate DC. Hence, they can be directly connected to the solar array.
On the other hand, AC pumps are way cheaper as the motor that powers them is cheaper to manufacture. However, to use these pumps, you will need to put an inventor between the pump and the solar panel.
What are the Applications of Solar Water Pumps?
The only use of a water pump is to, well, pump water. But transporting water from one place to another is needed in many situations, like filling water tanks, cooling systems/heat exchangers, etc. But, let’s discuss the two most common applications of solar water pumps
Irrigation & Livestock
Keeping a fresh supply of water available is necessary for the sustenance of crops and livestock. There are many places where the lack of natural rainfall or water sources like rivers can lead to disastrous effects on farming practices. These pumps can help farmers in irrigation and they have an added benefit. Many rural places don’t have access to an electrical infrastructure, by using solar power, they can use machines that they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Ground Water Retrieval
In many urban areas, there is a problem of shortage of water, states like Delhi have almost no water source of its own. This is why the government supplies water at these places using large pipelines from hundreds of kilometers. Wever, these are not perfect and don’t usually provide drinking water 24/7. With the help of solar pumps, people can retrieve groundwater using boring holes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Is solar water pump worth it?
Ans - The answer to this question depends on various factors like the price of fuel (petrol or diesel), climate, operation time per day, etc. Areas with high fuel prices will significantly cost more to operate than solar pumps in the long run. However, in places with less intense and less available sunlight, solar pumps will not work as efficiently. So, keep these things in mind before investing in a solar-powered water pump.
Q2. What is the price of a 7 hp solar water pump in India?
Ans - Differences in brands, models, and features can result in a vast difference between the prices of these pumps. However, on average, a 7 HP solar water pump can cost anywhere from ₹60,000 to ₹80,000.
Q3. What is one advantage of the solar water pump?
Ans - The biggest advantage of solar water pump is that it doesn’t require any type of fuel like petrol or diesel, or a connection to the electrical grid to operate. This makes them independent and good for use in areas with a lack of electric infrastructure and makes them cheap for long-term use.
- Last updated on Jun 08, 2023