When to Use a Solar Water Pump



Solar water pumps reduce electric bills, filter and aerate water, enable attractive water features, and operate in off-grid locations. This makes them perfect for a variety of fun applications like water features or practical ones like irrigation. 

Solar pumps are also safe, easily maintained, and durable, so you don’t have to sacrifice function to install a low-cost and environmentally friendly solution for your water circulation needs. 

So, you can use a solar water pump for any project you have in mind, so long as sunlight isn’t a concern. We’ll go into some deeper considerations and provide some example projects below.

Will Your Solar Panel Receive Enough Sunlight?

Solar panels operate most efficiently when they are facing direct sunlight. However, this optimal position changes during the day, so unless you plan to move the panel every hour or two, expect to see different flow rates as the sun’s position changes.

You should generally face panels to the South for optimal results and reposition or re-angle them to account for seasonal changes.

The only time a solar water pump isn’t suitable for a project is if there won’t be enough sunlight—direct or indirect. But we do offer a battery-assisted 35 Watt solar panel pump system if you want to keep the water flowing when the sun goes down. Features like fountains or waterfalls look even more dramatic at night.

Applications

The type of application is limited only by your imagination. Among other things, solar water pumps can oxygenate stagnant water, create charming and restful water features, and provide water for home gardens and family farms. 

And pumps aren’t your only option. Solariver also offers a solar pond aerator for self-contained projects that don’t require external water delivery or circulation. GPH is not an issue with this type of pump. 

Let’s explore some projects that benefit from a solar water pump.

Stagnant Water

Stagnant pools of water are a health hazard and a smelly eyesore, as they're where mosquitoes go to breed among bacteria and algae. But a solar water pump or pond aerator can easily remedy this unpleasant situation.  

The Solariver aeration kit includes five aerator stones that attach to the submerged pump. This configuration promotes the formation of air bubbles and maintains water circulation without the need for electric extension cords. Some applications for this type of pump include: 

  • Oxygenate and filter koi ponds
  • Functions as an inexpensive alternative pool pump during extended absences
  • Freshen birdbaths 

If there is a lot of debris in the water, you might consider enclosing the pump in a mesh or hard plastic screen. That way, the water will flow through it, and the filter will trap smaller particles, but larger items will be blocked from interfering with the system. Just remember to clean the screen every so often, or the water flow will eventually become restricted. 

Fountains

Fountains and waterfalls make stunning additions to a backyard. Use a flower planter, tub, birdbath, or even a dog pool to add some scenery to your landscape. No matter what type of feature you prefer, a solar water pump will support it, and all of Solariver’s kits come with 2-3 attachments to change the flow from horizontal to vertical. 

You can choose between three styles of sprays: 

  • Volcano
  • Apple
  • Foam/Bubbler 

Connect the solar panel, connect the spray attachment, submerge the pump, and presto! You’ve created a fountain. If you get bored with one style, switch the attachment.

Waterfalls

Waterfalls take a bit more time because they usually involve stacking rocks in an interesting formation beside a pool of water. But, once you’ve done that, the rest is a snap. Here are the steps:

  • Make the connections – Connect the solar panel and a hose to the pump.

  • Choose the height – Run the hose behind the rocks and up to your desired height.

  • Position the hose – Poke the hose through a gap in the formation.

  • Submerge the pump – Adjust the rate of water flow if needed. 

The height of the outflow point determines which pump model you’ll require, and you’ll need a sufficiently large solar panel to push the water up the incline. Measure the height and give our office a call. We’ll be happy to recommend the right system for you.

Showers

Have you ever been camping at a site with no showers? Well, if you’re near a river or a lake, you now have a solution. 

The solar pump kits are lightweight and very portable, making them a great addition to your outdoor equipment. So the next time you plan on roughing it, bring the equipment and a hose, and you can take as many showers as you would like, as long as the sun is shining. If you prefer to shower at night, purchase the battery-assisted model. 

Home Gardens and Family Farms

Home gardens and family farms can share similar irrigation techniques but on a different scale. If there is a water source within a reasonable distance from the plot of land, a combination of one or more solar pumps, solar panels, and irrigation hoses will keep the soil moist.

And the pumps have a water-flow control mechanism to adjust the speed so that the plants don’t flood. 

Choosing the Right Solar Water Pump

While a solar water pump will work for nearly any project that receives sunlight, you still have to pick the right pump for your project.

Solar water pumps have two basic components: a solar panel and a pump. The main consideration when choosing a solar panel is that it’s a sufficient size to operate the pump, but kits that provide both will have that covered for you. 

However, choosing a pump can be a little more complicated because you need to ensure that its gallons per hour (GPH) rating meets your project’s needs. The maximum amount of gallons per hour (GPH) a given pump can handle depends on the following variables:

  • Size of pump – Solariver has four sizes of pumps: 160 GPH, 360 GPH, 655 GPH, and 900 GPH.

  • Amount of direct sunlight – Pumps still operate on overcast days, but the flow will be slower. They do not work in the shade. 

  • Tube Diameter – Your tube diameter needs to be somewhat precise for your application. Small connecting tubes have higher resistance than large ones and restrict flow, but if a tube is too large, it may require filling and maintaining the tube’s total volume for efficient water circulation.

  • Lift – Water that flows uphill encounters greater resistance than a horizontal surface. You need a more powerful system for this type of application than for a pond aeration project. Remember that all box ratings for solar water pumps are for flat systems.

Call Us to Discuss Your Next Project

Here at Solariver, we've turned our experience with landscape design in sunny California into a way to help everyone enjoy adding a water feature to their backyard or tackle projects that require circulating flows.

We’re always interested in hearing about new projects—and helping you figure out the water pump needs of yours. Contact us today to get started or answer any questions!