What is a Solar Water Pump? | How does a Solar Pump work?

Solar systems are used all over the world for the production of cheap electricity. The use of the solar system is increasing day by day. This is because the solar electricity cost is low than other sources of electricity. The solar system is used to drive different systems such as a solar water pump, turbines, and many other units. This article mainly explains the solar pump working, types, and applications. 

What is Solar Pump?

A solar water pump is a type of pump that is driven by the electricity produced from solar panels. Solar pumps are manufactured to supply an eco-friendly and less expensive solution to pumping water in areas where there is no access to the power grid.

It consists of a water storage tank, electrical cables, a breaker/fuse box, a DC water pump, a solar charge controller (MPPT), and a solar panel array.

It is more efficient to operate. These pumps have low maintenance and installation costs.

Solar-powered pumps have a lower environmental impact compared to pumps powered by IC engines or utility electricity. These pumps are best suitable for reservoirs and irrigation systems.

solar water pump

These types of pumps mainly use in areas that have electricity issues. Solar pumps are best suitable for use in rural areas, farms, and remote locations where conventional grid electricity is either unreliable or unavailable. These pumps may also be used in livestock watering, irrigation systems, and for domestic water supply.

It is an ideal water withdrawal system for green energy that combines the advantages of reliability, economy, and environmental protection.

Solar Water Pump Construction

solar pump block diagram

The solar water pump consists of a controller, electric motor or battery, water pump, and solar panels (PV).

The solar panel is used to capture energy from the sun. The pump controller regulates the power flow from the panel to the pump. When the pump gets power by the panels, it starts working and pumps water from a well or other water source. Some solar systems also contain a storage tank to store water for later use. 

Working Principle of Solar Water Pump

A solar-powered pump works on the base of the photovoltaic principle. During the working of a solar pump, solar panels absorb solar energy and transform it into DC voltage. There is a controller between the pump and solar panels. This controller takes power by the solar panels and transfer this power to the pump according to its requirements.

working of Solar Water Pump

In case of an AC pump, an inverter is also installed. This inverter converts the DC voltage of the panels into AC voltage, which drives the pump. These inverters also adjust the output frequency and voltage in real-time, corresponding to variations in the sunlight intensity to attain the highest power point tracking.

As the intensity of the sunlight becomes low, the water lifting system realizes the function of switching the municipal power that works as auxiliary energy for the water lifting system.

Solar pumps are usually used in water circulation, swimming pools, foundations, horticultural and agricultural fields.

Types of Solar Water Pumps

Solar pumps have the following types:

  • Submersible Solar Pump
  • Surface Solar Pump
  • DC Solar Pump
  • AC Solar Pumps

1) Submersible Solar Pump

Submersible solar pump have the ability to lift up to 650ft of water and can install in large wells. As long as the well water is more than 20ft above the surface, these pumps operate directly to turn off batteries, solar panels, and in some cases, electricity.

When the sun is shining, the pump pumps the water during the entire day, and water is stored in tanks to be used when needed. The water can’t be pumped in bad weather because the sun can’t shine in bad weather. Therefore, it is advisable to store the water only in good climate conditions.

submersible solar water pump

These types of solar pump are most commonly used in deep water and undrilled areas. These pumps also use for livestock watering, pond aeration, home water systems, irrigation, pressurization, and well pumping. The maximum recommended pump depth is 50m.

Read Also: Different Types of Pumps

2) Surface Solar Pump

The surface solar pumps are used in streams, storage tanks, shallow wells, or ponds. When the well water supply depth is 20ft or less from the ground, you should use a surface solar water pump.

In general, these pumps cannot pump very high water from deep wells and can pump water up to 200ft or more. These pumps can easily lift water from depths of up to 20m.

surface pump

3) DC Solar Pump

This pump has an electric motor that uses DC power. Therefore, these pumps don’t need battery or inverter.

solar DC Pumps

4) AC Solar Pump

The electric motor used in this type of pump works with alternating currents. It requires an inverter which is used to transform the DC voltage produced by the panels into AC votage to run the pump. This conversion can lead to power outages during production and use.

See Also: How does a sump pump work?

Components of Solar Pump System

The solar system has the following major parts:

  1. Water Pump
  2. Solar Panels
  3. Batteries
  4. Pump Controller
  5. Inverter

solar pump components

1) Water Pump

A water pump is an important part of the solar pumping system. The water pumps have various types such as sump pumps, booster pumps, circulating pumps, and submersible pumps.

  • Submersible Pump: The submersible pumps pump water from deep depths, e.g., underground water sources such as shallow wells and boreholes.
  • Circulator Pump: These pumps circulate the water to keep it warm and prepared for utilization and ensure a continuous water supply.
  • Booster Pump: The booster pump provides the pressure needed to pump water from a storage tank and deliver it to the entire home or facility.
2) Solar Panels

The solar panel is one of the major parts of the solar pumping system. A group of solar panels is called an array. Solar panels generate electrical energy by separating electrons from atoms by permitting photons and light arrays, which create electricity.

Solar panels are made up of small units called solar cells that change sunlight into electrical energy. There are several types of solar energy technologies including concentrated solar energy and solar thermal. These work differently than PV solar panels. However, these also use the energy of sunlight to generate electricity to drive water pumps.

3) Batteries

The battery of the solar pump is used to store the power produced by the solar panel. In the presence of sunlight, the energy produced by the solar panel is supplied to the load and a battery.

If the load requirement is more compared to the energy produced by the solar panels, then the battery delivers a stable source of energy to the pumping system. The battery ensures that the water pumping system is working in the sunlight or not.

Deep cycle batteries often use for solar energy purposes because they are repetitively and deeply discharged.

4) Pump Controller

The controller can adjust the pump system parameters to meet user needs and shield the pump system. It regulates the power flow from the panel to the pump.

5) Inverter

The inverter converts the DC power of the battery into AC power. The transformation of direct current to alternating current is required for a wide variety of electrical equipment involving AC solar water pump.

Therefore, the inverter is an important part of the solar water pump system. However, if you have a DC pump, you don’t need to install the inverter.

In cloudy or dark weather, the inverter becomes a high-performance backup source of energy; due to that, the pump can continue to run without solar energy or sunlight.

How to buy a Solar Water Pump?

The prices of solar water pumps have decreased in recent years. The following are the factors that should be considered while purchasing a solar water pump.  

  • Economics
  • Social justice
  • Water management
  • Standardization of products and services as well as quality control
  • Money accessibility
  • Maintenance
  • Operation and installation.

With these factors in mind, solar pumps can offer tremendous socio-economic and environmental advantages at the national and agricultural levels. This technology can provide reliable power to control areas at the farm levels, particularly areas that aren’t linked to the electricity grid or where supplies of traditional liquid fuel are rare.

Advantages of Solar Pump

  • The solar pump has an easy installation.
  • It requires less maintenance.
  • It has low operating costs.
  • Solar systems work without fuel.
  • Solar water pumps are easy to move.
  • It doesn’t require regular utility power.
  • It can also use in remote areas.
  • These pumps have high durability and performance.
  • Solar pumps have long service life
  • These have easy maintenance and use.
  • These are environmentally friendly pumps.

Disadvantages of Solar Pumps

  • The initial installation cost of a solar pump is higher than traditional electric pumps.
  • They require a continuous supply of solar energy to work properly.
  • The solar water pump requires a water storage tank and battery.  
  • The output of solar panels varies on the weather conditions.
  • They need regular maintenance to work efficiently. 
  • The solar pump system requires the use of a battery to store electricity so that it can use the battery power in low sunlight conditions.

Solar Pump Applications

  • Solar pumps are used to supply water to animals.
  • They are used for irrigation applications.
  • They are used to supply water for drinking and cooking purposes.
  • These pumps may be used to power waterfalls, fountains, and other water features in landscapes and gardens.
  • They are used in aquarium systems to deliver aeration and circulation for fish tanks and ponds.
  • Solar pumps are used for water treatment applications.

Difference between Solar Pump and Diesel Pump

            Diesel Pump

              Solar Pump

Continuous Investment in diesel & operations.

One-time investment.

It generates noise pollution.

It generates zero noise and ecological noise.

Its maintenance is expensive.

It has a low maintenance cost.

Short life.

Long Life.

Diesel pumps generate high noise.

Its operation is very quiet.

Continuous manpower need.

It doesn’t need manpower.

Environment Pollution.

It is environmentally friendly.

FAQ Section

Which is better in a 1 hp DC or 1 hp AC solar pump?

DC pump has many benefits over AC pump in terms of effectiveness and doesn’t need an inverter to operate. DC pumps have a high cost. In addition, DC pumps are difficult to repair and maintain because there are no service centers in rural or remote areas.

Where can I install the solar water pump system?

The solar-powered water pump must be close to the solar panels, but the solar pump height should be low in the irrigation areas. There are some demands for choosing the location of solar pumps and solar panels. Solar panels should be installed in a location that is free from shade and dust.

How to Select Solar Panels?

The solar panels utilized to power the water pump are sold singly. Each solar panel manufacturer provides a table that contains details about how many volts, watts, and amps are required to produce a cheap flow of water.

The number of panels and pumps required depends mainly on GPD (gallons per day) or GPM (gallons per minute) to be pumped.

Do solar water pumps work at night?

If a solar pump is working without batteries then it can’t work at night time because it uses sunlight as energy for its operation. If you will attach batteries with the solar panels, the solar panels will save some energy in the batteries that will be helpful for the pump operation at night time or in bad weather conditions.

Can you run a well pump on solar power?

Yes, the well pump can run on solar power. A submersible solar pump uses solar power for withdrawing water from the well.

What are the Solar Pumps used for?

Solar pumps are used to pump water from well or other water sources by utilizing energy produced by solar panels. Solar pumps are most commonly used for irrigation applications, aquaculture systems, and water treatment systems.

See More
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