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Solar powered water pumps: Benefits and Applications

Solar powered water pumps – Definition

A solar powered water pump is just like any other conventional electric pump with the exception that it is powered using solar photo voltaic (PV) technology instead of fossil fuels or electricity to pump water at a certain height or to a certain distance.

A solar powered water pump can be used for various functions and can be a better option over conventional (diesel or electric) pumps because of its reduced long-term costs. Solar powered water pumps have no fuel costs and have miniminal labor or maintenance costs.

Due to volatility of oil prices, gas /diesel pumps may be an expensive option in the long-term and that’s when a solar powered water pump comes handy. In addition, in certain areas with limited access to the grid, for example many rural areas in developing countries, use of a solar powered water pump can be one of your best options to assist with your water pumping needs.

Solar PV technology and water pumps

A solar powered water pump works using the principle of solar PV technology where solar PV cells convert sunlight directly into electricity that is used to run a motor drive. Such pumps mostly use direct current (DC) provided by a PV array. However, newer versions use a variable frequency AC motor and a three-phase AC pump controller powered directly by solar panels and are monitored using computer software.

Types of Solar Powered Water Pumps

There are two types of solar powered water pumps, that is submersible solar pumps & surface solar pumps. Submersible solar pumps are completely submerged or installed under water in a well, but can also be used in a pond or stream while surface solar pumps are mounted at water level or on top of water and are designed to draw water from about 20 vertical feet and pumping water over long distances. So depending on whether your solar pump is submersible or surface, below are some of the solar powered water pumps that are already available in the market, i.e.

  1. Submersible pump with built-in drive (DC- AC)

  2. Submersible DC pump with external controller

  3. Submersible pump with external drive

  4. Surface pump

What are the uses of a solar powered water pump?

A solar powered water pump is used for various applications. However, the main use is to extract water from ponds, rivers, bore wells or other sources of water for various applications, including but not limited to:

  1. Irrigation

  2. Drinking water

  3. Responsible leisure

  4. Industrial use etc

The main benefit or advantage of a solar powered water pump over conventional pumps is that once installed, solar pumps are fuel free and hence do not incur recurring costs associated with main grid (electricity) or diesel fuel. Therefore, because of this reason, solar powered pumps comes in handy in many off-grid places and especially in developing countries.

Some popular brands of solar powered water pumps in the market.

Some of the most popular manufacturers of solar water pumps in the market include the following:

  1. Advanced power

  2. Aquatec

  3. Cap solar

  4. Dank off solar pumps

  5. Grundfos

  6. Lorentz

  7. Shurflo

  8. Sunmotor international

  9. Sunpumps

  10. Sunrotor

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