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Guide to Solar
Water Pumping Windy Dankoff
©1995 Windy Dankoff
live in New Mexico, where water is Ilife, especially when the sun shines. I
have been building solar-electric pumps for fifteen years, and I’ve seen lots of ways to get things wet without sucking from the power line. In previous Home Power articles I explained many of the details of water supply and solar pumping. In this article, I present a graphic overview of the entire design and decision process. My scope is the full range of possibilities from remote stand-alone pumps (the windmill of the 90’s) to pumps integrated with home power systems, health clinics, etc.
The full chart looks complicated, but so does a big road map. The process is simple. Each branch asks you to choose a path, based on your situation or your needs. Let’s start by using Figure 1 to select system configuration. For example, say you need both water and power at your site and your water source is 300 feet from your house.
Starting from the left, choose water and power required. Since you have a house to power too, the next stop is a combined power and pump system. But is the water source too far from the house to power it from the home system? It is farther than 200 feet (>200 Ft), so follow that path up to the next branch. You can go either way now, to stand-alone pump system, or high voltage DC or AC pump. A stand-alone pump system means that the water system is not connected to the home’s power, because of the distance of wiring. The other option is high voltage , which reduces the wire size requirement.
Figures 2 and 3 guide you in choosing the type of pump, defined by pump placement and pump mechanism. Figure 4 gives you the full overview. A glossary is included to help you with terminology and more info, and even brand names for the various devices available to date.
If the map leads you to two alternate routes, estimate the cost of each one as a complete, installed system. Then, carefully read the specifications for each pump. One may not fit into your well, for example. Also, technology that’s routine in California may not be serviceable in Cameroon. Consult with a knowledgeable system supplier to be sure you get the best advice based on the latest developments. This chart is a tool to help you narrow your choices, not to finalize a decision.
24 Home Power #46 • April / May 1995
Image | A Graphic Guide to Solar Water Pumping
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