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Miranda Converse
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Does anyone have any experience with solar powered wells? I have two projects in mind. The first one is fairly simple, I just want to run my existing well pump on solar. My issue is that whenever I try to do any research on it, I get back websites on installing off-grid type systems. I really just want to know if there are any issues with running an existing well on solar and how I would install something like that. I just don't know enough about setting up a solar panel or even how I would estimate how much power I would need.

My second project would involve installing a new, standalone well, primarily for irrigation purposes. My idea right now is that I could install a diy shallow, solar powered well. The well would pump water into a holding tank that would be connected to a drip irrigation system. There shouldn't be any need for any kind of pressurization for just drip irrigation. I'll probably also put a separate spigot on the tank for livestock water and emergency water. My water table is high and there are zero rocks in my land, only obstacles are roots, so I don't think it would be too hard to install the well myself. Am I overlooking anything obvious? Any idea of the cost of a solar well? How big of a tank should I look into for drip irrigating an acre? What about 5 acres?
 
Cristo Balete
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The nitty-gritty of a solar powered pump (which is what happens in a well) is that the sun must be out every day. That isn't likely.

You didn't mention if you want it for household use or a garden or livestock water troughs.

The second thing to consider is how many Amps the well pump is. It's high. Pumps are one of the highest consuming devices of Amps there is, and they are often require a 240 voltage hookup, (not a 125 like the household appliances). Which means it's sucking power at twice the rate of a household appliance. (But the panels are not putting it back at twice the rate) The system needs to be off grid because there is no sun on panels in the mid-afternoon until probably mid-morning, and you will need water during that 21-hour period. The pump is on demand 24/7. It's 21 hours if you're lucky, if no trees are in the way, if there's no overcast, if the panels can get even 50% of what they can take in by 10:00 AM. And that's in the summer. Winter is even less. Storms for 5 or more days put very little back into the panels.

Most panels can get their maximum watts between 9:00 to 3:00 in the summer (no trees, no buildings in the way) and 10:00 to 2:00 in the winter. If a 1500 watt pump is running on demand, those panels can only get power to the batteries during a short time.

If you think the pump would run for an hour straight, doing the math, it would suck 1500 watts out of the batteries for an hour, and depending on the total watt input of your panels -- let's say the panels can pull in 1500 watts an hour (that's 6, 250 watt panels on a completely sunny day when the sun is directly on the panels) -- it would take an hour to put that back into the batteries. That means if you run the pump for an hour, and the panels don't get an hour of sun after usage, it will start sucking from the batteries. Then, of course, in the morning the sun on the panels would have to go for even longer to fill the batteries back up.

The batteries need to be filled completely as often as possible or they will not last. They last the longest if they are not run down lower than half, so what looks like high "amp hours" on a deep-cycle battery is really half that. And solar, deep-cycle batteries are very expensive. They need to last as long as possible. Don't buy cheap deep-cycle batteries.

So, if I've made the math clear, running a household on a 240 voltage pump on batteries is an iffy thing, particularly in the winter. I've seen systems that do a better job on a combination of solar and wind, because at night wind can be refilling the batteries, if it's windy enough. Where I am, the fog often comes in at night, and there's no wind.

If you just want to generate power from panels and sell it to the utility company to offset the expense of running a pump on electricity, that's possible, but they have a tiered system, and they pay the least when the sun is fully on the panels, then as the sun goes down they pay slightly larger amounts, assuming where you are they are even prepared to take the power you generate.

 
Tyler Ludens
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We looked into the solar well pump idea and found it made more sense to purchase a new pump compatible with PV than try to use the existing pump. A small pump can fill a large tank during times when the sun is shining, eliminating the need for batteries - the tank is the battery. We bought one of these systems but have not installed it. We might wait until our current well pump fails, and then install the PV system. Depending on how it is configured, you might not need to remove the existing pump, but instead install the PV pump on top of the existing pump, so that only your irrigation water is being pumped by PV into a storage tank.

I think we bought the system from these folks: http://www.backwoodssolar.com/learning-center/solar-powered-water-pumping
 
Kevin Swanson
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I have the manual version of the simple pump, they have a dc/solar option too. http://www.simplepump.com/
 
Rebecca Norman
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Our borewell pump is powered by solar panels. I'm sorry, I don't know the brand or specs of any of it, except I think we're using about 2 kW of panels, the height is about 200 ft or more, and it fills our 9000 litres of domestic storage on a sunny day, and then any extra goes to irrigation. The 9000 litres of storage is enough for 2 days or more for our 60 residents, in case there's a problem or cloudy spell. It still lifts on cloudy days but not as much.

Our location is some of the best in the world for solar energy so your milage will surely vary.

Here's a picture of our students setting it up last year. We used our 18-year old panels.

RigzinNorbuTIrit-Yasin-Masroor-solar-borewell.jpg
[Thumbnail for RigzinNorbuTIrit-Yasin-Masroor-solar-borewell.jpg]
 
Seva Tokarev
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I just read a book on the subject, "Do-it-yourself sustainable water projects" by Paul Dempsey. The author goes into great details about water conservation, storage, collection and reusing, providing little hints along the way that only come from years of practice.

There is a chapter on well drilling, suggesting several techniques for doing it yourself as well as recommendation for when hiring a professional.

The last chapter discusses powering the well by wind, solar, and muscle power.

I think you may find some of the answers there.
 
Cristo Balete
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I should have used the phrase "recharging" the batteries, not "refilling" the batteries, that's a little misleading

Pumping into a tank could work if you know how many gallons per minute your well is, and if you can pump continuously from the well during the sunny period without pumping it dry and needing to wait for it to refill. Of course, then you'd need a pump in the water tank, or a helper pump in the line at the house, but those can be 125 V and are less taxing on batteries.

Having large tanks of water are good for fire protection as well.

 
Miranda Converse
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Thank you guys for all of the information! To clarify, the first project I was talking about was for my existing well that supplies my house. Sounds like the only way that would be feasible is if I got a tank. Good think is, we don't use that much water for household use. It's just two of us and we both take 5-10 minute showers. We don't use the dishwasher, except for a drying rack. The most water we probably use is for laundry. I think I'll table this project for sometime in the future though. I'd like to get a whole house solar system eventually and I'll work the well out at the same time...

I think I will keep looking into the second project though. We use a ton of water outside right now for our garden and livestock. My plan to dig it is to use one of the strategies on this site; http://www.drillyourownwell.com/. Contemplating using a series of smaller tanks instead of one large tank. That way, I can start small and if the well outperforms the tank size, I can add another tank. Also might be nice if I could add one small enough to get into my pickup if I need to move water some distance.

Tyler; If you don't mind me asking, how much did your system cost? The website you sent was a bit overwhelming for me. There were so many parts and pieces listed (that I had no idea what they were for) but I didn't see any whole systems...Just trying to get an idea of how much this might cost. Hoping to keep it under $5k for the well, tank, and irrigation.
 
Michael Bushman
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I work for a wholesale solar PV supplier, we don't do offgrid stuff but the guy I go to when I have questions on that stuff is Michael at The Solar Store in Oregon. The Solar Store Just tell him Michael Bush from Fortune Energy sent you and he will take good care of you.

I asked him the other day about this for my brother who has a property that is WAY off the grid. It takes about 6 300 watt panels and about $1,800 for either the pump or the all the equipment, I don't really remember but it was for a 500 foot deep well.

To be totally transparent, he IS a customer of mine.

 
Cristo Balete
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Miranda, I would recommend starting small on a solar project to learn how it is to live with it, and so if you decide you don't want that much to keep track of you haven't sunk a huge amount of money into it. Solar is expensive, and I think we all learn on our first set of batteries. Buying the second set is not nearly as fun, but by then we may be committed with all the other equipment. "getting the whole house solar" as you mentioned is a huge project, a huge expense, and a monster of a learning experience, particularly about electricity, watts, voltage, amps and how they are work together.

We also get paper wasp nests on the underside of the panels, and I do not like them up on the roof for this reason, and various other reasons, like wind, icy roof, cleaning the panels, changing the tilt a couple times of year, and having the option to have one set facing due south and a second set facing slightly southwest to catch the afternoon rays. It's a lot of panels to run a whole house, plus some kind of a backup system for the week or weeks there will not be enough sun.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Miranda Converse wrote:
Tyler; If you don't mind me asking, how much did your system cost? The website you sent was a bit overwhelming for me. There were so many parts and pieces listed (that I had no idea what they were for) but I didn't see any whole systems...Just trying to get an idea of how much this might cost. Hoping to keep it under $5k for the well, tank, and irrigation.


Wow, I was able to find the invoice right away! We purchased 1 PV module and pump, with hose, cables, etc for $1800.00 back in 2011. This setup does not include a mounting support for the PV panel.
 
Cristo Balete
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Tyler, is the pump submersible or up top? What's the voltage? and what's the wattage on the PV module? (Miranda, PV is photovoltaic, which is the panel), and does that include the mounting frame? When the voltage starts to drop as the sun moves away from the panel is there an automatic shutoff on the pump?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Suntech 190W 24 V Module
Shurflo Submersible pump
Float switch

No mounting frame.

 
Miranda Converse
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Thank you Tyler!

Cristo; I have no intention of setting up my own solar system for my house. I'm all about diy but that is not something I would trust myself with...
 
Tyler Ludens
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My dad recently got a grid-tie PV system for his house. Installed, with subsidies, it cost $18,000.00. It's supposed to pay for itself in 9 years. My dad is 85 years old. Not sure why he felt that was a good investment!
 
Michael Bushman
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The price of grid tied solar has fallen considerably, right now the high end for a reputable company is $4 a watt for a complete high end system INSTALLED and cheap at $3 a watt. That does NOT count the 30% federal tax credit.

So if your dad got about a 6 to 8kw system, he got a fair price. The payback will depend upon how much electricity he uses, how much he pays and if his utility has additional rebates.

Remember also, he has been paying for electricity for decades and had nothing to show for it, for the same money he was spending, he is now buying an asset.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me as I am happy to helpl.

 
Tyler Ludens
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Michael Bushman wrote:

Remember also, he has been paying for electricity for decades and had nothing to show for it, for the same money he was spending, he is now buying an asset.


I think it might be considered an asset if it increases the sale price of the house. Otherwise, I'm not convinced. He may not use $18,000 worth of electricity, considering his age.

If it lowers the sale price of the house, then, well, not such a good investment...

 
Eric Hammond
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Off-grid is really the only viable option for solar in my opinion.....but not to stray from topic. I actually do not recommend drilling a well if you have sufficient rain water in your area to catch and filter to drink. I did not know much about collecting rain water when I had a well drilled....

Solar Wells!!

I have a lot of experience in this area. First off, this should not be your first solar project....period. Maybe 5 years down the road if you have a complete and full understanding of electricity. Whoever suggested you getting a small set up and playing with solar first has the wisest opinion. It gets deep. Really really deep.



What you basically NEED to know is your wells current STATIC water level and what you expect the static water level to drop to during a drought, and how fast the well refreshes. My well is drilled at 465 feet and refreshes at a rate of 30 gpm, the static water level when it was drilled was at 140 feet. The static water level is exactly that, the water level that normally rests in the hole when it has not been pumped for several hours. Sometimes after alot of rain my static water level can be at 95 feet. Currently I am in a drought and the water level is around 170 feet. Its important to realize how much the ground water level changes so you can select the proper pump. Regardless of where you pump is set....even say at 400 feet, the amount of work the pump needs to do will only apply to the static water level and up to the surface PLUS any additional height to a storage tank added to that static water level number. If your pump is set at 400 feet and the static water level is at 100 feet, it will do half the work as a pump set at 400 feet and a water level of 200.

You can measure the static water level with a spool of fishing line a bobber and some weights tied on the end. Drop the line in and measure once you get slack. It can be difficult as the line will try to stick to the side of the well casing. It helps to have a small test line with quite a bit of weight and just let the bobber free fall off the spool till it hits water....you will hear it, I can promise that.

Selecting a pump can be tough. Your options are pretty wide spread. You need to know how much water you need and how quickly. If you have a very shallow well you *might* be able to get by with the pump Tyler has purchased, but for a deep well this is not an option. Not only do you have to think about the amount of work to pump the water out, but you have to calculate how deep the pump is set, what voltage you want to run to it, and then the voltage drop through the wires at the depth of the pump. The pumps depth has to be set deep enough so that it will always be submersed, but it cannot be set too deep because it required water moving around it to cool the pump and again, you wire gauges would have to be way too thick if you set it too deep.

While it is possible to run a 220 volt pump off of solar panels the cost would be so significant that it can be rulled out as almost unfeasible. You would need at least one inverter and a transformer or two inverters.

Your best bet is to stick with a 110 volt pump, which you will be limited to a half horsepower. Or a solar dedicated pump such as a Grundfos sqflex, which can take a voltage of 30-300 dc or 30-300 a/c.

Each pump manufacturer has "Pump curve" charts that relate the amount of water you need, to the amount of power they take, and the efficiency. You must study these very carefully.

Taking my well again for instance assuming a 200 ft static water level as a worst case scenario, and looking at grundfos for a 110 volt the most efficient options for my application would be a 7s05-11 which could pump 1 gpm at 300 feet, 5.5 gpm at 250 7.2 gpm at 200 feet or a 5s05-13 pump that could pump 3.5 gpm at 300 feet, 5 gpm at 250 feet and 6 gpm at 200 feet. Each of these pumps will take a starting current of 55 amps and a running current of 12 amps. So it would take a serious inverter to run one. 55 amps times 110 volts is a 6000 watt surge. I do have an inverter that is capable of doing this but still that's a huge load. Running would be 1320 watts! Then you have to figure if I want to run 12 amps at 110 volts and set my pump at 300 feet, plus the length of the wiring to the inverter I would need a gauge of awg-6.....which I'm pretty sure they don't even sell in submersible wire! So my only choice to run a 110 volt pump might be to reduce my pump depth so I can utilize a smaller diameter wire, at the risk of running the pump dry, should the static water level drop too far during a drought.

That 110 volt pump could be bought for around 800 and I think you could have another 350 in pipe and another 400 in wire. And if your inverter goes bad you cant pump water out of the hole... and an inverter based solar system will always include batteries

The BEST choice for a solar pump is the Grundfos SQflex series but they are super expensive pumps. You still have the same pipe and wire costs, and the pump is around 2100, but they require almost half the electricity for pumping water.

My best option for my well is a 6sqf-2 pump which could pump 5.8 gpm at 200 feet using 400 watts, and 5.6 gpm at 300 feet using 500 watts. While the pump can handle 30 vdc this is not feasible at this depth, so I would need to run as many panel is series as I could to get the voltage as high as possible so I can have minimal voltage drop through an approximately 325 foot cable. This system would NOT require any batteries, however, my charge controller for my solar system for my house can only handle input voltages up to 150 vdc(outback flexmax) so if I want to run 300 volts to the pump for maximizing efficiency of voltage drop, Im also condemning myself to having a DEDICATED set of panel for JUST the pump, that I can't do anything else with, other then pump water.........


There's so much to think about. I suggest you don't attempt solar water pumping as your first solar project.

Don't get me wrong, I love solar panels and everything to do with them and have been playing with them for 6+ years, but I have a VERY in depth and complete grasp of electricity. Somebody just learning is going to have a steep and potentially costly learning curve. I also would suggest to you if you are serious about learning solar panels. Go take an automotive electricity class at your local vocational school. The concepts that will teach you in an automotive class will directly correlate to the direct current applications of solar panels, and I would suggest sticking with 12 volt systems till you get your hands super dirty
 
Cristo Balete
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For anyone else who is reading this, remember that Arizona has a big lawsuit in progress about leased solar panels, and that they may become taxed as a business. There is no rebate for leased panels, Signing a contract for 10-15 years is a huge legal commitment with very specific conditions in the contract. Getting stuck with old panels is not a good idea. Who would ever put $18,000 into an investment that would break even in 9 years? We'd never do it with savings. So it becomes a learning experience, a way of life that involves a lot of keeping track of basic electric usage, something we are not used to doing.

Buying/owning panels is another matter. But you need to have a professional installation to get the rebate, so throw in another $5,000+ bucks.

No one said solar is cheaper, it's not. The equipment is expensive and getting more so all the time. And where do recycled batteries go? It's a really ugly story about where the most contaminating contents of a recycled battery go, and it's usually nowhere. There is an implication that you can make money by selling back power to the power company, but the companies make sure they pay you as little as possible.


------------------------------
Michael Bushman wrote:

Remember also, he has been paying for electricity for decades and had nothing to show for it, for the same money he was spending, he is now buying an asset.


I don't know about nothing to show for it. I've had cold, safe food, ice cubes, lights at the flick of a switch as soon as it gets dim, Christmas lights, battery chargers, water pumps, microwaved meals, TV and movies, easy coffee and tea, a fan when it's hot, computer running whenever I want it, charging of all my battery-operated devices, outside work lights, electric tools, vacuuming (how do only daddy long leg spiders get in and not much else??) electric popcorn maker, The list of electric life improvements is long
 
Michael Bushman
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While it is possible to run a 220 volt pump off of solar panels the cost would be so significant that it can be rulled out as almost unfeasible. You would need at least one inverter and a transformer or two inverters.
...

The BEST choice for a solar pump is the Grundfos SQflex series but they are super expensive pumps. You still have the same pipe and wire costs, and the pump is around 2100, but they require almost half the electricity for pumping water.



I am curious why you say the Grundfos needs inverters and transformers when the manufacturer says they can be run directly off a solar pv setup?

Solar PV powered Grundfos
 
Cristo Balete
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Here's an interesting tidbit about the Grundfos pump, "The SQFlex pumps will not function with a GFCI in the supply circuit, and should not be used where a GFCI is required." Bummer!

There is no transformer in a PV setup with batteries. There's an inverter and a controller.
 
Michael Bushman
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Cristo Balete wrote:For anyone else who is reading this, remember that Arizona has a big lawsuit in progress about leased solar panels, and that they may become taxed as a business. There is no rebate for leased panels, Signing a contract for 10-15 years is a huge legal commitment with very specific conditions in the contract. Getting stuck with old panels is not a good idea. Who would ever put $18,000 into an investment that would break even in 9 years? We'd never do it with savings. So it becomes a learning experience, a way of life that involves a lot of keeping track of basic electric usage, something we are not used to doing.

Buying/owning panels is another matter. But you need to have a professional installation to get the rebate, so throw in another $5,000+ bucks.

No one said solar is cheaper, it's not. The equipment is expensive and getting more so all the time.


While I agree that leasing solar was never the best way to get solar, I have to STRONGLY disagree with you on almost everything else you wrote, especially about the cost of solar AND the rebate. This isn't my opinion, its fact.

You can install solar yourself AND get the credit, if you are smart, you will have a friend with a contractors license do it for you at the full retail value and take that number off your taxes but you CAN just do it yourself and take off the price of the equipment. Here is a link to the IRS SOLAR TAX CREDIT FORM

The price of solar is 1/3 of what it was 10 years ago so the thought that the equipment is getting MORE expensive is simply wrong. Major distributors can wholesale (and many will sell direct to the public) for at or under $1 a watt for panels, inverters, and racking, in other words, the whole system. Go through an online broker buying older or off brand panels and the prices are below that. Heck, I can do US made systems using Fronius and SolarWorld panels and get down to about $1.25 a watt.

OBVIOUSLY, the value of solar is going to depend on what you pay for electricity and the cost of that varies a LOT. In California users pay up to $.35 and even more in some parts, in some places in the US the highest rate is $.09 cents. Obviously the payback in California is different, I have seen systems that pay in 4-6 years! I just googled the average price in Texas and it is $.11 so the math for the value of solar will be different and it would not be a good investment for some people.

As for systems breaking in 9 years, panels last 20+ years. We now see a lot of early systems on the used market because people have done the math and it paid to sell them and put newer more productive panels on. Inverters have 10 year warranties and even if they go at 10, the price has fallen considerably and most in 10 years will be sub $1k in price, average now is less than $1,500.

I want to add one thing to this, FHA has now added a home improvement loan that will pay for solar, it is a very low cost way to buy a system, there are also PACE loans which do not go on credit scores, they put a tax lien on the property and while not as cheap as conventional loans they are tax deductible so the actual cost is quite reasonable.
 
Eric Hammond
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Michael Bushman wrote:
While it is possible to run a 220 volt pump off of solar panels the cost would be so significant that it can be rulled out as almost unfeasible. You would need at least one inverter and a transformer or two inverters.
...

The BEST choice for a solar pump is the Grundfos SQflex series but they are super expensive pumps. You still have the same pipe and wire costs, and the pump is around 2100, but they require almost half the electricity for pumping water.



I am curious why you say the Grundfos needs inverters and transformers when the manufacturer says they can be run directly off a solar pv setup?

Solar PV powered Grundfos


You have misunderstood. I did not say that.
 
Eric Hammond
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Cristo Balete wrote:Here's an interesting tidbit about the Grundfos pump, "The SQFlex pumps will not function with a GFCI in the supply circuit, and should not be used where a GFCI is required." Bummer!

There is no transformer in a PV setup with batteries. There's an inverter and a controller.


You are incorrect. If you want to achieve 220v ac you Only option is to have two inverters controlled out of phase with each other, an inverter capable of 220v, or a 110v inverter with a transformer
 
Miranda Converse
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Thank you all for the in-depth information! I'm not sure a lot of it applies to my second project though. I know I still have a lot more research to do and I definitely won't do it before I'm ready but from what I'm finding, I don't think it will be entirely unfeasible. Here is where I'm at right now;

My water table is very high. I'm at sea level, the bay is maybe a mile from my home and the land is flat. Last year when we had the least amount of rain since I moved here, I could dig about two feet down, maybe less, and water would start seeping out. I can't quite remember the depth exactly, but my existing well is between 25-50ft.

As far as water quality; this water is only for irrigation and possibly livestock.

I will have reservoir tanks set up to pump the water into. I don't intend on using batteries because of this. Flow rate is not an issue, I'm pretty sure 1gpm will be plenty.

As far as electrical, I don't have much experience but I have done some simple projects, built my own incubator for example, and replaced some outlets and whatnot. I did take physics in college, I picked it up fairly easily. So all of the amps/voltage knowledge is up there somewhere, it's just been a minute so I need to take some time to sit down and refresh my memory. My step-father is also an Electrical Engineer so he can help fill in any gaps with electrical knowledge...

Here is where I'm stuck right now; I would really like to dig my own well, which seems incredibly simple. Two options I've seen are using a well point and just tamping the well in or using pvc and a hose to flush the dirt out. I'm partial to the well point right now. The issue with both of these options is that they will only be 2in wide at most and I haven't seen a submersible pump that would fit that width. I could use a surface pump, but from my understanding, they aren't so great for solar power. I think I read that a surface pump could pull from 10-15ft of depth if run on solar but not much more than that. I would need to find out for sure if my water table would always be that high and if a well that shallow will even work.

So I need to do one of three things; find a submersible that will fit a 2in well, find a way to dig a bigger well, or find a surface pump that will work with solar. I'm still researching but if anyone can provide any insight on one of these three, that would be awesome!
 
Eric Hammond
Posts: 116
Location: SW Missouri
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Miranda Converse wrote:Thank you all for the in-depth information! I'm not sure a lot of it applies to my second project though. I know I still have a lot more research to do and I definitely won't do it before I'm ready but from what I'm finding, I don't think it will be entirely unfeasible. Here is where I'm at right now;

My water table is very high. I'm at sea level, the bay is maybe a mile from my home and the land is flat. Last year when we had the least amount of rain since I moved here, I could dig about two feet down, maybe less, and water would start seeping out. I can't quite remember the depth exactly, but my existing well is between 25-50ft.

As far as water quality; this water is only for irrigation and possibly livestock.

I will have reservoir tanks set up to pump the water into. I don't intend on using batteries because of this. Flow rate is not an issue, I'm pretty sure 1gpm will be plenty.

As far as electrical, I don't have much experience but I have done some simple projects, built my own incubator for example, and replaced some outlets and whatnot. I did take physics in college, I picked it up fairly easily. So all of the amps/voltage knowledge is up there somewhere, it's just been a minute so I need to take some time to sit down and refresh my memory. My step-father is also an Electrical Engineer so he can help fill in any gaps with electrical knowledge...

Here is where I'm stuck right now; I would really like to dig my own well, which seems incredibly simple. Two options I've seen are using a well point and just tamping the well in or using pvc and a hose to flush the dirt out. I'm partial to the well point right now. The issue with both of these options is that they will only be 2in wide at most and I haven't seen a submersible pump that would fit that width. I could use a surface pump, but from my understanding, they aren't so great for solar power. I think I read that a surface pump could pull from 10-15ft of depth if run on solar but not much more than that. I would need to find out for sure if my water table would always be that high and if a well that shallow will even work.

So I need to do one of three things; find a submersible that will fit a 2in well, find a way to dig a bigger well, or find a surface pump that will work with solar. I'm still researching but if anyone can provide any insight on one of these three, that would be awesome!


For your application I actually do believe the simple pump will be a good option for you. Your talking about a very shallow well
 
Dale Hodgins
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Tyler, how much did your system cost?

I have no desire to learn all of the intricacies that many people take on with solar collectors. I want something that will make electricity and immediately use that electricity to pump water. No batteries, no expensive controls.

 I have a nice hundred gallon fiberglass tank that could be used to store drinking water. I could see pumping the well into that , with an overflow that leads to a pond. This would continuously top up the pond water with a simple system . 100 gallons is vastly more water than I use most days. If irrigation water is needed, it can be drawn from the pond.

Sometimes the water is 15 feet down. At other times it is 30.


 
Tyler Ludens
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About $1800 for a PV panel, small pump, tubing, cables, float switch. For pumping from a well at about 100 feet deep, into a tank.
 
Cristo Balete
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Michael Bushman wrote:

You can install solar yourself AND get the credit, if you are smart, you will have a friend with a contractors license do it for you at the full retail value and take that number off your taxes but you CAN just do it yourself and take off the price of the equipment. Here is a link to the IRS SOLAR TAX CREDIT FORM


At the time I was looking into it there was no Federal rebate and the State rebate required professional installation. I'll adjust my statement to, We should all look into what is required by our States when installing the system.


Michael Bushman wrote:
do it for you at the full retail value and take that number off your taxes



The Federal rebate is only 30%, so you cannot "take that number off your taxes" of the whole installation or even the whole setup.

Michael Bushman wrote:

The price of solar is 1/3 of what it was 10 years ago



About the cost of solar equipment being more expensive now, there's no doubt about it. I bought my first system in 1999, then I set up a second system in another location and bought equipment in 2013. I've been living with solar since 1999, every day, rain or shine, out there doing it, not just crunching the numbers. It's a very different thing.

In 1999 I paid $150.00 for a controller. In 2013 I paid $350.00 for a comparable controller. In 1999 I paid $450.00 for an inverter. For a comparable inverter now it's $1200. In 1999 I paid $220 per 6V deep cycle battery, in 2013 I paid $365.00 for the same battery, same amp hours. An experienced person who knows how to get the most out of their batteries maybe....maybe will get 8-10 years out of quality Rolls batteries, and then it's approx. $365 (this year) times 8 or 10 or 12 batteries (because they all have to be purchased new at the same time, otherwise the lowest battery takes the rest down to its level.) The racks that hold the panels are more expensive, sheds to put the stuff in have doubled since 1999. The cost of shipping has tripled, and it's always part of the expense.

That's $3600, roughly, for batteries, is that in your calculation? People who are starting out and don't understand what happens to deep cycle batteries learn in 5 years when they have to repurchase them, after they've burned out a refrigerator or washer because the voltage got too low (and they didn't realize it was happening), so that expense gets included. Refrigerators have gone through the roof these days, as have washers.

Michael Bushman wrote:

OBVIOUSLY, the value of solar is going to depend on what you pay for electricity and the cost of that varies a LOT. In California users pay up to $.35 and even more in some parts, in some places in the US the highest rate is $.09 cents. Obviously the payback in California is different, I have seen systems that pay in 4-6 years! I just googled the average price in Texas and it is $.11 so the math for the value of solar will be different and it would not be a good investment for some people.


"For some people" I think it takes a lot of research with real numbers of what their locale is doing. As I said above, plenty of places aren't even prepared to buy solar produced by a customer.

Michael Bushman wrote:

As for systems breaking in 9 years, panels last 20+ years.



I never said that things break in 9 years. One of Tyler's posts above said that his father was told his system would "BREAK EVEN" (meaning it would have paid for itself) in 9 years. Not BREAK. (I can see how my sentence can be read both ways ) Still, 9-year-old panels are antiquated, and it's not good to be stuck with older panels, even if they are still functioning.


 
Cristo Balete
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If you want to achieve 220v ac you Only option is to have two inverters controlled out of phase with each other, an inverter capable of 220v, or a 110v inverter with a transformer


I'm going to change this to say I've never done 220V ac, but for the average home system of 24V or 48V, etc., we don't need a transformer.
 
Cristo Balete
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Eric Hammond wrote:
Cristo Balete wrote:Here's an interesting tidbit about the Grundfos pump, "The SQFlex pumps will not function with a GFCI in the supply circuit, and should not be used where a GFCI is required." Bummer!

There is no transformer in a PV setup with batteries. There's an inverter and a controller.


You are incorrect. If you want to achieve 220v ac you Only option is to have two inverters controlled out of phase with each other, an inverter capable of 220v, or a 110v inverterEric with a transformer


I just wanted to clarify, I think Eric's objection was to my statement about transformers.

The statement I quoted about the GFCI not being compatible with the Grundfos pump was quoted from the pump website, so that part is not incorrect.
 
Michael Linehan
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Eric Hammond wrote:I currently have the simple pump solar option that someone mentioned above. Do not get it. The pump is crap, the company doesn't stand behind their warranty and the motor drive option is poorly designed. The simple pump is simply crap.


Sorry to hear you are having problems, Eric.
We have no record of any emails from you, since you bought the motor.
When I sent a routine follow-up email in September 2015, it bounced back saying the email address was dead.
Please write to me and I'll make sure this is taken care of.
michael@simplepump.com
 
Eric Hammond
Posts: 116
Location: SW Missouri
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Michael Linehan wrote:
Eric Hammond wrote:I currently have the simple pump solar option that someone mentioned above. Do not get it. The pump is crap, the company doesn't stand behind their warranty and the motor drive option is poorly designed. The simple pump is simply crap.


Sorry to hear you are having problems, Eric.
We have no record of any emails from you, since you bought the motor.
When I sent a routine follow-up email in September 2015, it bounced back saying the email address was dead.
Please write to me and I'll make sure this is taken care of.
michael@simplepump.com


Thank you for contacting me. My email address has not changed. I have sent you and Gary an email describing the issues I am having
 
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