Build your own solar-powered water pumping station by Jeffrey Yago, P.E., CEM Issue #91
In the last issue, there was an excellent article by Dorothy Ainsworth on water pumping using mechanical windmills. In this issue I will address another form of "free" water pumping. There are many remote applications where a solar-powered water pump is more cost effective than installing a conventional grid-connected AC pump. I recently designed a solar-powered pumping system for a local farmer wanting to pump water from a lake up to a watering trough for cattle in a distant fenced field. We have also designed larger systems to pump directly from drilled wells up to elevated storage tanks, which provide gravity-fed water back down to remote ranch buildings. Basic system description These solar applications made economic sense because the location was too remote to run a long power line. By adding a storage tank and increasing the size of the pumping system, excess pumped water can be stored, which can continue to supply water during the night or when it's cloudy and the pump is off.