What are Solar Power Agriculture Pumps and How Do They Work?

When someone says the word, ‘solar power,’ you probably immediately think of a roof covered in solar panels, which are producing electricity for use in a residential or community space. But solar power also has a variety of other functionalities, such improving productivity by mining and delivering water.

Countries that experience intense heat and sunshine, such as Australia use this function, as well as many countries in Africa due to amount of agriculture. By using solar pumps, profits can double, and even triple in some cases. By increasing their profits, those who work in farming communities can benefit and have their lives improved. Despite using this function, there is still the chance for productivity to suffer due to the lack of irrigation.

Importance of Water in Agriculture

We need clean water in order to survive, it sustains in many ways and if the water is not properly cleaned, we can fall ill and suffer. Developed countries often take having clean water for granted, as there are many countries out there that still do not have clean water. Economies are constantly evolving and realizing how important having clean water is. Solar pumps offer an ecological solution, creating clean water for drinking, and watering crops.

Moreover, solar pumps are incredibly efficient, which in turn leads to an upturn in disposable income, and more opportunities for employment. Famers can now 3x more crops, due to the ability to farm year-round, instead of just during one season. Disposable income is increased by 20% to 30% through the use of solar pumps.

What is a Solar-Powered Pumping System?

Electricity is produced through the use of radiant heat that is accumulated from sunlight, or by photovoltaic panels (PV). This is the direct opposite of how water pumps that rely on an electricity grid or are powered by diesel work.

As the name suggests, a solar powered pumps requires solar energy to work. A pump is made up of the storage tank for water, a fuse box/breaker, a DC water pump, a solar panel array, an MPPT (solar charge controller) and electrical cables.

Solar pumps are low maintenance, and do not cost a lot of money to install. This makes them a great option to save on money, as well making them incredibly efficient.

In addition, solar pumps have less of an impact on the environment, especially in comparison to pumps that use utility electricity or ones that are powered by IC engines. Pumps that rely on a solar system to operate are a testament to new technology that is allowing remote areas to be supplied with clean water in an ecological and social way. This makes solar pumps the obvious choice when looking for an economically stable choice.

Areas that are extremely remote tend to run on human resources and diesel engines when supplying water. With the introduction of solar water pumps, these options are slowly being replaced and offering a wide range of benefits to the community. Solar water pumps are best suited to areas with irrigation systems, and reservoirs.

Solar pumps are introduced in areas where grid power is not an option, and where other sustainable energy sources, such as wind power, cannot produce enough power.

In areas where powerlines cannot reach, such as pond filtration, well pumps, aquarium filtration, and aeration, solar pumps are the best option.

Solar pumps are commonly found in areas that have issues with electricity, without them, there would not be a stable power supply for the area. Solar pumps are able to combine green energy with advantages such as environmental protection, economy, and reliability.

Solar Powered Water Pump Types

There are many types of solar water pumps, some of the main types are listed here:

  • Submersible solar pump
  • Surface solar pump
  • DC solar pump
  • AC solar Pump

1. Submersible Solar Pumps

Submersible pumps are able to lift up to 650 feet of water and can be installed in large water wells. As long as the water in the well is 20 feet above the surface, submersible pumps can turn off solar panels, batteries and even electricity if needed.

Throughout the day, while the sun is shining down on the pump, the pump will operate until the sun goes down, where it is then stored in tanks to be used whenever needed. Since the pump requires sunlight to operate, the pump will not work during bad weather, therefore it is advised that the pump be used in areas that has sunlight more often than not.

Submersible pumps are often used in areas that are undrilled, and in deep water. They have a variety of uses, including pond aeration, home water systems, irrigation, pressurization, livestock watering and well pumping. The maximum depth at which you can place the pump is recommended around 50 meters.

2. Surface Solar Pumps

Surface solar pumps are commonly used in storage tanks, shallow wells, ponds, and streams. Well water needs to be around 20 feet or less from the ground for a surface solar pump to be used.

Compared to the submersible, surface solar pumps are not able to pump a high-water content from deep wells, with them only being able to lift up to 200 feet of water. Surface pumps are best suited to lift water from depths of about 20 meters.

3. DC Solar Pump

This pump runs on an electric motor that uses DC. So, it does not require a batter or an inverter to work.

4. AC Solar Pumps

The electric motor that is used in AC pumps works well with an alternating current. Alongside an inverter, the direct current that is produced by a switchboard is then converted into a current that alternates. Because of the conversion, power outages can occur during the production of energy, and use of the pump.

How to Buy and Efficient Solar Water Pump?

In recent years, the price of solar water pumps has greatly decreased. When purchasing a solar water pump, these are the factors you should take into consideration:

  • Economics
  • Social Justice
  • Water Management
  • Standardization of products/services, as well as quality control.
  • Access to Money
  • Maintenance
  • Installation and Operation

With these factors considered, a solar pump can offer a great variety of environmental and socio-economic advantages at both an agriculture and national level. Reliable power can be provided through modern technology, allowing areas of farmland that are not connected to an electric grid to be easily maintained.

Because of their use in stabilizing and diversifying agricultural production, solar pumps are best used in African countries, meaning they help at even a national level.

Solar pumping systems do exactly what the name would suggest, they absorb sunlight in order to provide areas, such as farmland, with enough energy to survive and grow.

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