Solar Power Pump -
Basic Understanding

A solar power pump is any pump powered by solar energy. Either an AC Pump, or a DC pump could be used, but practically it is usually better to use a DC pump for solar power applications, since an AC pump would need an inverter to work properly.

Usually the pump is connected to solar panels either directly, or along with a linear current booster and a controller.

Although connecting the pump directly to the panel without these parts would be easier, the disadvantage is the pump would need full sunlight to be able to start. The addition of the controller and linear current booster, enables the pump to start even in cloudy weather.

This system is designed for using the solar power pump to pump water, which seems to be one of the most popular uses for solar power pumps, but it isn't the only one. This picture of a solar power heat pump was taken by Mr. Thinktank.

A heat pump (pictured to the left) or other liquid pumps, can also be operated by solar power, but water is the liquid most frequently needed, so its use is most common.

Kits are Widely Available

Before buying a solar power pump, decide how you plan to use it. As of this writing, there are 91 different listings for solar power pumps at Amazon alone. Although all ninety one probably aren't actually pumps, if you aren't sure how you plan to use the pump, you aren't likely to get something that will work well. So let's explore how you might want to use one.

There are several different uses for solar powered water pumps. Those I found most frequently mentioned were a:

  • water fountain pump
  • water pond pump
  • submersible pump
  • circulatory pump
  • aerator pump
  • well pump
  • pool pump

Please don't think this list is exhaustive, but it should give you a better understanding of how widely available solar powered water pumps are, and help you decide how you might use one.

Choosing Wisely

If you are using your pump mostly for decorative purposes, some things discussed here may not be vitally important, but if you want your pump to work for you, there are several things you should consider before buying, or making, your solar power pump.

What are they?

  1. How far will the water need to be pumped?

  2. How far up will the water need to be pumped? (Called the lift feet)

  3. Will you need a back-up system for pumping water when the sun isn't shining, or can you pump the water into a cistern, or holding tank, during the day so it can be used at night, or on cloudy days?

  4. If the pump is for a fountain or bird bath, how high do you want the water to spray up?

  5. What other equipment, such as cables, water pipes, inverters, controllers, batteries, and linear power boosters will you need, in addition to the pump, to enable smooth, maintenance free operation of your system?

    This picture of a solar power water pump was taken by Kevin Krejci.

  6. Do you want to buy a pump kit that includes all the necessary parts to get the pump working? or do you want to design your own custom system? If you think you want to do the design, are you sure you have the expertise to make it work?

  7. Will you have access to some, or all, of the needed parts to get the pump working, or will you need to buy everything?

  8. Are you interested in making the solar power pump system yourself, or do you want an expert to install and set it up?

  9. If you buy the materials and the pump, what ares the warranties, and for how long do they last?
When you've answered these questions, you can begin to build your system...

One final caution: Be sure you get a pump big enough to do the work you need done. It is better to be over powered than under powered.

Practical Uses

These pumps are best used when grid electricity isn't readily available, or is highly expensive. If you are checking out this page, you may already know how you want to use your pump, but if not, here are some of the most common uses for them.

They are used:

  • in remote locations to provide household water, and to provide water for animals on ranches or farms.
  • to aerate ponds and pools
  • to circulate water in ponds or pools
  • to power fountains
  • to provide water for falls in backyard, or patio, water features
  • to power pumping water from a well to a home
  • to provide water in RVs, or cabins
  • to pump gasoline or fuel oil for remote heating, or equipment use.

Please remember these lists aren't exhaustive, but they are designed to help you understand the many ways pumps are currently used.

Availability and Conclusions

As previously mentioned, solar power pumps are available from Amazon. But, if you need help designing your system, you probably won't get much there.

However, several manufacturers of solar pumps will provide design help, as well as needed information about what type of pump you'll want, where you can get it, and what the cost will be. Three such companies are Sun Rotor, Lorentz, and SHURflo.

If you need to pump water, but there is no grid electricity available or convenient, a solar power pump will solve your problem. Whether the project is big or small, there are pumps available.

Just be sure you take the time to find the right one so it will become your solution.

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