Solar powered water pump.

Discussion in 'Tools And Equipment' started by silu, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. silu

    silu gardening easy...hmmm

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    The water situation where I live is getting somewhat desperate. We have spring water and not on mains which 99.9999% of the time is wonderful, costs zero and has absolutely no ghastly chlorine type additives, however:yikes: the pressure of the water coming down from the spring is falling and not a sign of rain. While I have been using a hose to water parts of the garden most desperately needing it and the greenhouse I feel I had better try and save as much water as possible.
    Does anybody have any knowledge of solar water pumps?
    We have a burn which runs past our house which was pretty low but I have partially dammed it and now it is about 9 inches deep where it's partially blocked and I have just finished watering a huge Rhododendron bed with about 80 watering cans worth. omg I am knackered so need an easier solution, hence the solar panel pump idea which a farmer is using down the road from me. Ideally I would want 1 powerful enough to run a hose off but even if it only pumped the water into a container, that would be better than me having to put watering cans into the burn. I can go down and see what make the farmer's is but wondered if anybody on here had experience of them. The is no electricity supply nearby and I don't fancy the noise of a generator going on a daily basis.

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    • Fat Controller

      Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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      I know a wee bit about solar panels, and a wee bit about pumps, but nothing really about the two together..... did you have any specific ones in mind, or were you looking for recommendations?

      Personally, I would be tempted to have the water pumped into water butts by a fairly low pressure pump, that way the burn shouldn't get depleted too quickly and the solar panel and pump would not need to be overly meaty. Of course, that then leaves you with the problem of using the water from the water butts; is there no electrical supply nearby to allow you to have some sort of pumped hose arrangement?
       
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      • silu

        silu gardening easy...hmmm

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        Thanks @Fat Controller, yes was hoping for a recommendation/s. I contacted Hozelock looking for info and they told me that their pumps are electric (no supply close to the burn) and they only really had small pumps for ornamental ponds etc.
        There is a solar panel powered pump being used by a tenant farmer near here so maybe my best bet would be go and see what he is using. His supplies water from the burn into big drinking troughs for his cattle. I did a bit of a search on the internet and found something which looks similar to what the farmer is using. Slight snag the system costs over £1500:yikes: and for all I know after this incredibly dry and hot spell I may never use it again. You'll know what I mean being familiar with Scotland!:)
        There is also a small chance that the unit might get swiped altho the farmer's system hasn't been half inched yet. Leaving something costing over £1500 near the road seems a little iffy:rolleyespink:
        There is basically no chance of the burn running dry as it is an overflow for a huge redundant reservoir which is monitored and the outflow regulated.
        Certainly getting the water into a container would be a help altho a big bonus would be something which had force enough to power a hose. Maybe I might have to look at a smallish petrol powered pump. Certainly should be able to get something to do the job for less that £1500:).
        Any info you may had would be great as I know sweet you know what about pumps!
         
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        • Ezzie

          Ezzie Gardener

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          Silu,

          I have a solar powered drip irrigation system plumbed into two 525 litre water tanks which are in tandem. The system can operate drippers as well as a seep hose. So if you could get your water into a tank, that might work. Mine works very efficiently and allows me to go away without worrying about my plants being watered.

          Are we allowed to state whose system it is on this forum? Don’t want to upset anybody!
           
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          • Mike Allen

            Mike Allen Total Gardener

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            This takes me back sixty odd years, long before solar panels etc.. Dad rented a private plot the size of a football pitch. No water facility. About center of the plot was a sunken 50 gallon ex oil drum. At the side of the shed, basically an anderson shelter, there was another 50 gal drum. Thankfully, Dad was of the old school, ex WW1 & WW2 and must have had extensive knowlege of survival. The Plot was next to Shootershill golf course. To the side was a small copse. Dad had noticed a continual wet spot. Scraping away it soon appeared to be an underground spring. We enlarged the hole to about 12 inches across and say six inches deep. It became my job to squat and ladle out the water into a two gal. watering can and carry it some undred yds and tip up the tanks.

            Why not ask your farmer friend how he copes? Would it not be possible for you to divert the burn a bit.

            On the other hand. As global warming is now becoming more positive, perhaps thought of increasing water storage for the future might be adviseable.
             
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            • CanadianLori

              CanadianLori Total Gardener

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              Solar power is not inexpensive. Have the panels, pumps,, etc. Unless you're willing to spend, don't go there. £1,500 sounds very reasonable for the type of power/system you're thinking about.
               
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              • silu

                silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                I don't think admin will mind as I am asking for recommendations rather than trying to sell something. @CanadianLori is your system sort of what I am looking for? Would you recommend it instead of a petrol driven pump?
                My issue is if I thought I was going to need the pump every year then I would consider the big cost worthwhile, however we have lived here 17 years and never had to resort to getting water from the burn before.
                @Mike Allen it would not be possible to divert the burn really. It is right in front of the garden so not sited too badly. Its just the issue of lugging vast quantities of water by hand which is the snag. I have a huge garden of well over an acre with many Rhododendrons Azaleas and Meconopsis etc. They were coping not too badly with temperatures well into the 80s and not a drop of rain for weeks but are beginning to struggle now. Our forecast for the next fortnight is predicting the same hot and dry:yikes: this could well be "the last straw" if I don't do something. I have already pretty well given up on about 1/2 acre veg plot and concentrating on keeping the greenhouse plus contents from exploding in the heat:).
                On top of this 1 have a horse who is now pretty well out of grass, the cattle next door are down to nothing and there are going to be quite severe consequences I fear with a shortage of winter feed being made. While this weather is gorgeous in 1 way it is bringing a host of issues with it.
                 
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                • JWK

                  JWK Gardener

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                  The only encounter I had with solar powered pumps was when I was considering solar water roof panels a few years back. At that time it was recommended to actually use a mains powered pump to circulate the hot water rather than an additional panel just for electric - as mains pumps are more efficient and significantly cheaper and reliable.

                  Thinking laterally just about how to fill a container - I wonder if you could place a mains pump nearer your home or the closest electric point and run a pipe down to the burn? The pump would then suck the water up the pipe. Trouble is with a 'suck' pump the maximum head it can lift is around 30ft. Assuming you are going uphill from the burn ? If it's a level run it would work. Hope that makes sense.
                   
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                  • martin-f

                    martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

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                    This link might be worth a look, if your any good with DIY you could make a Wirtz pump it would be easy to make.
                    Water-powered Water Pumps
                     
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                    • CanadianLori

                      CanadianLori Total Gardener

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                      If you get lots of sunshine, the solar panels would keep the pump running continuously and for your vegetable area something the size of a pond fountain pump might work. Depends on the height you need to raise it as to how big a pump you need. They all have a gph rating - gallons per hour - that give you an idea of how much water you can pump when at full power. A smaller tube also increases the speed of the flow.

                      I'm not sure how many gallons of water I use in my vegetable and flower beds but even with the low flow system- which runs from the house, cannot have the tap on any more than 1/4 pressure else it would blow apart - only needs to run for about 20 minutes total to water everything. So, a solar powered pump running continuously during sunny days is a LOT of water :) On cloudy days, the power is not there but neither is the sun beating down on your gardens.

                      Knowing how many gallons you need is probably the best way to determine which system to use.
                       
                    • silu

                      silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                      Thanks @martin-f . The idea is good but the burn even when dammed up is only about 9 inches deep so not sure how successful the contraption would be but I'll ask daughter's bf who is a mechanical engineer and see what he thinks and whether he could concoct something which might fit my scenario. I haven't got a clue @CanadianLori as to how much water I would need to water the whole garden properly .....a lot! 3 of us have just spent the last 3 odd hours with 2 wheel barrows and 8 buckets/watering cans getting water out of the burn to water just 2 of my herbaceous borders which all of a sudden (water table dropping) are looking pretty sad. Now at the stage of watering to try and not loose the plants and to hell with the flowers. If this is the type of summer we are likely to get regularly, as a complete guess but somewhere close I reckon we would need a pumping system which could produce around 1000 gallons a day. We have just lifted out of the burn in the region of 2000 gallons and it really hasn't made an enormous difference to the borders. The other thing which I could really do with watering is the fields which are now bare. The more I think of this the more I think I could be looking at some sort of proper agricultural pumping system but I may have to make enquiries as to whether there would be an objection to me taking a lot of water out of the burn but can't see why there should be. At least I am in the fortunate position of being able to get water be it extremely hard work:rolleyespink:. I read today that the Scottish potato crop is in danger of failing while the soft fruit farmers are having a ball! My supplier of hay for the horse has already warned me he will not be able to supply me this winter as he will not have been able to produce enough for his own needs far less anybody else. Looks like imports from America again (happened a few years ago when there was a serious drought like this year) and my bank balance will take a hammering! This summer is the hottest and driest I have ever experienced in Scotland and the only other year which I could compare it to was 1976 I think when I was living near London. Not sure but think this summer here is actually hotter than that scorcher.
                      It will be interesting to see what the course at Carnoustie looks like. The British Open Golf is being held there this year and it is not far from where I live. Normally the rough there is "historic"!!! but lucky if it will have grown much at all this year.
                       
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                      • Jiffy

                        Jiffy The Match is on Fire

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                      • martin-f

                        martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

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                        You could always dig down a little where the contraption would be placed :),

                        Another thing to consider maybe.
                         
                      • silu

                        silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                        Many thanks @Jiffy and @martin-f . Again I am not that mechanically minded and presume to get the ram pump to work I need some kind of header tank to produce the pressure. I like the simplicity of the ram pump with not much to go wrong! daughter's bf is definitely going to be asked to look into this system plus what you have suggested Martin. He doesn't know it yet but his grey matter is going to be tested this weekend:)Today as it was really desperate we rigged up multiple extension leads (health and safety would have had a fit:lunapic 130165696578242 5:) and got an electric submersible pump working ...yea, definitely preferable to lugging water all over the place. No doubt the electric meter was spinning round at an alarming rate but don't care. I have worked my you know what's off if I had them that is! to get so many vegetables growing, I'm not going to give in on them if I don't have to. What I loose on the lecky bill I probably make on home grown stuff. Again thanks all for the very useful suggestions, no doubt by the time I have sussed out the best option God will have turned the tap on and won't be turning it off again any time soon!
                         
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                        • martin-f

                          martin-f Plant Hardiness Zone 8b

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                          This video should help silu, its only made from plumbing stuff.
                           
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