Solar Water Pumps
Updated: Apr 1
A solar water pump is a device that can convert solar power into mechanical work that can be used to power a special type of water pump. Of course, a traditional water pump can be connected directly to a solar power system and used as an appliance. But a solar water pump is a stand-alone device that directly uses power generated by solar panels to pump water at a pressure with the switch of a button. They are used in the construction of fountains, swimming pools, boreholes, pond circulation pumps, high-rise buildings, public buildings, hotels, livestock farms, irrigation and home pumps.
A variant of the solar water pump is the solar inverter water pump. It uses an inverter system of solar panels and/or battery bank to perform a similar function. For instance, the Opti SP Revival Series is a range of solar inverter water pump. They supply AC power to any conventional pump directly from solar panels with zero operating costs.
Parts of a solar water pumping system
1. Solar Panels
The solar panels used in our solar water pump systems produce electricity by trapping the sunlight. No special type of solar panels are required. Depending on the power needs, more than one solar panel or an array of solar panels, may be required. Read more about solar panels here.
2. A Water Pump
The water pump is of course, the most important part of the solar water pump system. Its work is to draw water from the water source, a well, a river, a borehole, a reservoir, etc. and send it for use.
Most pumps contain a motor, a permanent magnet, controllers. Also, they have self-protection technologies against, overloading, over-voltage and lightning. Most pumps are also automatic.
There are different types of water pumps used in a solar water pumping system. The two basic types of solar water pumps are:
1. Submersible water pumps. As the name suggests, a submersible pump is located deep below the ground level or is submerged under water. The suction head of the submersible pump is beyond a depth of 10 metres. They are used to lift water from great depths of up to 700feet deep. Submersible solar pumps are typically used for deep well and borehole pumping, pressurization, irrigation, home water systems, pond aeration and livestock watering.
2. Surface water pumps can be used to pump surface water of 10-20 feet deep.
There are also:
3. Circulation pumps
4. Booster pumps
5. Sump pumps.
6. Setfloating pumps
7. Molten Salt Pumps
Pumps can be differentiated based on their type of motor.
1. DC pump: This pump runs on a motor which operates on direct current from the solar panels, therefore no battery or inverter is needed in this type of pump.
2. AC Pump: The motor of this pump operates on alternating current. The direct current produced by the solar panels gets converted to AC using the inverter.
3. There are also pumps that are built to use either AC or DC.
Controllers are for controlling the water pump. Controllers can be used to set a pumping schedule, turn the pump on or off, and help maximize efficiency.
A solar water pump may require an inverter system to convert the DC generated by the solar panels into AC for the water pump. A solar water pump may run with DC power directly from the panels without needing an inverter. DC pumps are costlier than AC pumps.
A solar water pump does not necessarily require batteries except if it has to run during the night. In this case, a battery bank would be needed. Otherwise, the majority of solar water pumps can run directly from the solar panels during the day and water needed for the night is stored. In off-grid situations, batteries will be needed to power the water pump with the electricity produced by the solar panels during the day.
Solar pumps are simple and reliable devices. Also, they require no maintenance and are free of operating costs. They have fewer moving parts and thus have fewer chances of wear and tear and have a relatively longer lifespan. They can be installed in remote areas where electricity is unavailable or fuel is difficult to procure. No lubricants are required and they are easy to operate.
SolarKobo engineers help Nigerian users in any part of the country make a choice of solar water pumps that suits their peculiar needs and fits their budget.