Water pumps have a wide range of use in both domestic and commercial scenarios. But, because of the continuous running required for some pumps, you may want to use solar panels to power the pumps to minimize the cost of electricity for the pump.
And making your own solar water pump is not that difficult after all. If you have experience working with electricity or if you want to challenge yourself, this could be a good option for the weekend.
One crucial point to note before the process. Please take extreme care when working with electricity. Other than protecting yourself, please also look after others including pets and kids nearby.
Collecting the resources
Sourcing all the components of your solar water pump is more than just going to your local Bunnings. Different use cases require a different water pump. And such you will need different accessories to compliment them.
Finding your pump
First, identify the pump required. Depending on the use, whether for ponds, aquarium or fountain, you will need a different pump head and flow rate in order to meet the requirement on pressure or water turnover.
Aquarium, for example, will require turn over of the entire water volume four times per hour. Therefore, if you have a 50-liter tank, you will need a 200-litre-per-hour pump.
The filter system is another requirement that you should consider. Filter systems often have a specific flow rate requirement so as to work in its best efficiency. Double-checking the requirement of your chosen filter system is crucial before choosing your water pump.
Selecting your solar panel
After sorting the factors, you should have an ideal water pump in mind now. And now you will have to look for its electrical requirements.
The voltage and current required for the pump will influence the solar panel you should choose. One thing to note, solar panels will only mark a “max” voltage and current because the output is determined by the light that the panel can make use of.
Therefore, we recommend choosing solar panels that are rated around 10-20% more than the requirement of the pump in case of overcasting weather.
The material used in your solar panel is also an influential factor as well. Currently on the market, there are monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film amorphous solar panels. And the panels differentiate with their look and efficiency in producing energy.
Monocrystalline panels are more efficient than the other two but also come in a bigger price tag. The mono panels are better looking without color shift when viewing from different angles as well.
Polycrystalline panels are a more affordable alternative to the mono. But the lower efficiency and color shift meant you will need a larger panel and less subtle aesthetic.
Thin-film amorphous is the less efficient of them all. But it is a flexible solar panel. Generally, we do not recommend the use of such panels.
Accessories to your system
Now you have got a water pump and solar panels. And it is a good time to source the other accessories that you will need with the system.
This includes the pipes for water transfer, wires to connect electricity and an inverter or a controller. Also, you will need structural components, wood boards or metal planks, to secure your solar panels.
If your pump must work 24/7, you might also want a battery solution to store the energy for the night. Connecting it to the main grid in case of insufficient sunlight should also be considered.
If you are new to DIY, you might want to grab the tools as well. And we recommend getting a kit for electricity work that keeps you grounded for safety.
Building your solar water pump
Selecting the spot to place your solar panels is crucial to the performance of your system. We recommend setting up your solar panel at a place where it can receive bright sunlight at noon and not affected by shadows in the morning and in the afternoon.
If structures, like bushes or fence, are present nearby, we highly suggest lifting your solar panels to avoid any possible lack of light, especially the change of sunlight angle from the summer to the winter.
On the notion of sunlight angle, it is recommended to face your solar panels straight to the sun for maximum light-to-electricity conversion.
After choosing the spot, you can plan out the placement of the wires and other components and start building.
We highly recommend consulting your local council before building your solar panel solution. Just a preventive measure to avoid any disappointment.
What if I am lazy?
You don’t have to worry as the Australian Water Pump Warehouse stocks a wide range of pumps for any use cases.
And, we have a range of solar water pumps in a complete package for you to choose from. Simple installation, no more hassle.