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8 November 2023

Is It Achievable Running a Pump from Solar?

Can I Run My Pump from a Solar System?

Running a well pump from a solar system depends on a couple of determining factors. These include the capacity of the pump, daily water usage, sunlight quantity, and depth of the well.

What type of panels will I need to run a well pump? Some of the most pressing questions about running a pump on solar would be – is it a DC or an AC pump? Is the pump a single phase or is it a 3-phase system? What is the rated kW? Let us unpack these:

3 Important Terms To Know When Running Water Wells from Solar

  1. DC-to-DC pumps need fewer panels than DC-to-AC configurations. Pumps work more efficiently with a DC-to-DC set-up, as there are no inversions.
  2. Three-phase configurations need fewer panels than single-phase systems because of lower current requirements.
  3. We measure the power needed to move quantities of water at certain efficiencies in kW. The kW is then calculated by multiplying the flow rate of water by specific gravity and head. We divide this by a constant. kW for the pump depends on the size and type of pump. It also depends on the design and the fluid properties. The greater the kW of a pump, the more panels are required to meet power demands.

What You Need to Know To Run Your Well Pump Efficiently

To conduct a peripheral pump service you will need to go through the following steps:

1. To determine the power usage of your pump, you need to check the specifications of your well pump. This will determine the Kilowatts (kW). You will get this information from the pump manufacturer or on the pump nameplate.

2. To calculate your daily energy, you need to multiply the power consumption of the pump by the hours each day. Should your pump consume 1 kW and run for 4 hours, it will consume about 4kWh of daily energy.

3. Account for efficiency losses. Efficiency losses are not unusual. When calculating solar system size, factor in losses. Multiplying daily energy usage by 1.3 to 1.5 will account for any losses.

4. How many hours of daily sunshine does your location have? Positioning of your panels, shading, and location will determine the availability of energy. Consult your solar professional to find out the average hours of sunshine in your location.

5. Calculating your solar panel capacity, is solely dependent on the type of motor that your well pump is using. The type and size of the motor determines the number of panels required and it is always advisable to contact the pump manufacturer or local solar professional to determine the number of panels.

6. Battery storage for nighttime usage or overcast conditions makes a difference. Battery storage for a solar system depends on specifications and is used as backup power.

What is the Best Spot for Positioning Solar Panels?

15 or 24 metres is the most ideal distance for installing solar panels from your well. Full daylight sunshine without shadowing is the perfect environment for maximising pump operation.

In South Africa, panels need to face the direction of the equator which is North of South Africa.

Tilting angles of panels depend on latitude. South Africa spans a range of latitudes, from approximately 22° to 35°. Tilted angles vary according to latitude in specific locations within the country.

How to Find the Best Mounting Options for Your Solar Panels

Styles of mounting solar panels will differ from one customer to the next. Where you mount your solar panels is important. Installation depends on the availability of fixed structures like north-facing roofs or walls. These are some of the most popular mounting options. Some customers use steel frames or pipes for mounting solar panels.

Mounting your solar panels close to your well is your best option. This minimises voltage loss.

Avoiding shaded areas (here, users need to look out for trees and building shading) is advisable. The ideal positioning is for your panels to face north with full all-day sunshine. Solar panels could still operate successfully when mounted in between trees.

Solar Panels on a Rooftop

Can I Use The Solar Panels I Already Have?

The deciding factor for using existing solar panels is whether you can get the correct voltage and current. Our team of professionals will advise you.

How Easy is it to Keep My Solar Panels Clean?

Solar panel owners need to keep the panels clean from a build-up of debris. Gentle care is of paramount importance, as abrasive equipment and tools will scratch and damage the sensitive surfaces.

To Conclude:

Solar-powered water pumps using direct sunlight save on energy costs. These water pumps are typically cheaper to run than the more traditional electric water pumps. Solar is eco-friendly as it is a renewable source of energy. Cloudy weather will affect the efficiency of your pump’s ability to produce water.

Real-world conditions vary from one location to the next. Consult your professional pump supplier and solar installer to match a solar system to match your pump. Remember to factor in seasonal changes and how this affects sunlight. Other factors to consider include start-up and surge currents.

Solar-powered water pumps using direct sunlight save on energy costs. These water pumps are typically cheaper to run than the more traditional electric water pumps. Solar is eco-friendly as it is a renewable source of energy. Cloudy weather will affect the efficiency of your pump’s ability to produce water.

For all your solar power pump questions and needs give our AQS Liquid Transfer expert team a call today on +27 12 548 7204. Or fill out our handy enquiry form. We will get back to you with the information best suited to your needs.

Do you still have questions? Give our AQS Liquid Transfer team a call on +27 12 548 7204 or fill out our enquiry form, our friendly team will get back to you with first-hand expertise on how to select a borehole pump for your needs.

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