Solar-Powered Water Pumps for Livestock

Pump water for your animals with the power of the sun.

| October/November 2017

  • This solar-powered pumping system provides water for an 80-acre farm.
    Photo courtesy Prashanth Vishwanathan/IWMI
  • William O'Neal Jamison received a cost-share grant for his solar pump system, which provides consistent water for his cattle, even during times of drought.
    Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture/Lance Cheung
  • William O'Neal Jamison's solar-powered pump system also allowed him to direct cattle away from their previous water source, a small dugout pond that's home to the California tiger salamander, which is endangered in that area.
    Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture/Lance Cheung
  • Solar pumps are a good option for providing water to remote pastures.
    Photo courtesy Solar Power and Pump Co.
  • The wiring diagram above shows the very simple connections required to wire a 24-volt pump to two solar modules, each having a 12-volt nominal output. If you’ll be using a 12-volt pump, or a lower flow is acceptable using a dual-voltage 12- to 24-volt pump, the connections will be the same, except only one 12-volt solar module would be used.
    Diagram by Matthew T. Stallbaumer and Jeffrey R. Yago
  • Float switches save water and help prevent overflowing stock tanks.
    Photo by Adobe Stock/MangAllyPop@ER
  • Utilizing a large stock tank will offer more backup water-storage capacity to carry your livestock through multiple days of limited pumping due to cloudy weather.
    Photo courtesy Solar Power and Pump Co.
  • This table outlines the amount of head loss you can expect per 100 feet of PVC pipe of a given diameter.
    Table by Matthew T. Stallbaumer
  • Adequate flow velocities are highlighted in green, while flow velocities that are too low to carry sand or gravel picked up by the pump are highlighted in red.
    Table by Matthew T. Stallbaumer
  • For more detailed information on livestock water quantity and quality requirements, contact your state extension office.
    Table courtesy U.S. Department of Agriculture

While it’s not unusual for farmers and ranchers to let their animals drink from a creek, pond, or other surface water source, many are switching to alternative methods of supplying drinking water to their livestock. Solar-powered water pumps are easy to install and are a very reliable way to pump water from a well to a ground-level stock tank, or from a surface source of water up to a higher elevation. Some government agencies will even provide cash grants to farmers and ranchers if they agree to fence off grazing lands from nearby creeks and streams and install an alternative means of water provision, such as a well that uses solar-powered pumping methods.

Solar Pump System Components

The most basic form of solar pumping consists of a small direct-current (DC) solar pump, a pump controller, one or more solar modules, a replacement well cap, electrical wiring, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) piping. Anyone who can use a screwdriver and pipe wrench should be able to assemble a solar pump kit. These systems are very basic. They don’t require power inverters or batteries, and working with 12- or 24-volt DC power is safer than connecting a 240-volt alternating-current (AC) pump to the electrical grid.

Solar pump. Systems requiring only a few gallons of water per minute from wells less than 100 feet deep will typically only need a small 12- or 24-volt DC submersible pump. Deeper wells or setups that need higher flow rates may require submersible pumps in the 48- to 90-volt DC range, powered by a much larger solar array. Solar-powered pumping systems are also available to pump surface water from a stream or lake up to a stock tank located at a higher elevation.

Pump controller. In addition to separate terminals to connect the pump and solar modules, a solar pump controller will also include wiring terminals for optional float switches, which can be used to stop the pump when the tank is full or when the well level is too low. While you could theoretically wire the DC solar pump directly to the solar array, the solar pump controller offers many special features that will increase system performance and provide overload protection for the pump motor.



For example, during early morning and late afternoon hours, the solar array may not provide enough current flow (amperes) to allow the pump motor to start. However, instead of remaining in this stalled condition with the motor windings heating up, some pump controllers can convert excess array voltage into a higher current, which will force the pump to start pumping during dim conditions.

While the reduced voltage during these periods will not allow the pump to run at full speed, additional water flow will be available when the system would normally not pump at all. Solar pump controllers also offer a convenient place to manually turn the pump on and off for service, and LED lights to indicate system status. I strongly recommend that any solar-powered pumping system include a pump controller.

solarpumpfield
5/21/2018 3:36:25 AM

Solar powered water pump submersible type Solar water pumps are often used in remote areas where the cost of running traditional AC powered water pumping is cost prohibitive or you just want to provide water to an off-grid home. Solar water pumping systems are also used to pump water for livestock and crop irrigation in remote locations. we supply Solar DC pump 80W~3000W, warranty 3 years, working life more than 10 years. www.solarpumpfield.com


solarpumpfield
5/21/2018 3:36:24 AM

Solar powered water pump submersible type Solar water pumps are often used in remote areas where the cost of running traditional AC powered water pumping is cost prohibitive or you just want to provide water to an off-grid home. Solar water pumping systems are also used to pump water for livestock and crop irrigation in remote locations. we supply Solar DC pump 80W~3000W, warranty 3 years, working life more than 10 years. www.solarpumpfield.com


solarpumpfield
5/18/2018 9:28:14 PM

Solar powered water pump submersible type Solar water pumps are often used in remote areas where the cost of running traditional AC powered water pumping is cost prohibitive or you just want to provide water to an off-grid home. Solar water pumping systems are also used to pump water for livestock and crop irrigation in remote locations. we supply Solar DC pump 80W~3000W, warranty 3 years, working life more than 10 years. http://www.solarpumpfield.com/solar-powered-water-pump-system-for-irrigation/solar-powered-water-pump/




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