Solar Livestock Waterer

SystemSystem Posts: 2,511 admin
I don't know much of anything about either solar or wells, but I'm pretty handy.

I have an old well that hasn't been used in many years, long before I owned the property. What I've heard about it hasn't proved true (the well is deeper). It's about 120' deep and the water level is about 20' down right now. I've heard that it's only about a 1-2 gpm well which may or may not be true. I haven't tested it because I'm ok with low flow. I know the depth because we pulled out the old well pump.

It had a 220 amp submersible pump, but power is far away and my guess is that they used a generator periodically when they were out here.

I want to put in a solar pump as cheaply as possible. My plan is to put in a 500 gallon tank, and use gravity flow to fill a couple of stock tanks from the tank. The tank will be put only about 20 feet away from the pump at about the same elevation. There will only be about 15 horses at most watered from this well.

What I'd like to do is have a float valve on the tank that regulates the pump, and only have the pump working during daylight hours.

Cheap and do it yourself is required. I was looking at some inexpensive solar panels like these: http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-50048-60-Watt-Solar-Charging/dp/B000CIADLG/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1304982937&sr=1-3
I've no idea whether these are usable for my purposes or not.
And as inexpensive pump as I can get away with.

I don't know what I should ask, or what I don't know. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Solar Livestock Waterer

    Welcome to the forum.

    This comes up more often than you might think. The solutions are many but, alas, not what you'd call cheap.

    Step #1 is to define your actual pumping needs: lift, rate of flow, pressure. That way you know what sort of pump or pumps could fit the bill.

    Step #2 is to figure out how to power the pump choices.

    Step #3 is to evaluate the over-all cost of the available solutions.

    Our host NAWS has a section dedicated to solar water pumps here: http://www.solar-electric.com/sodcwapu.html

    That includes low power DC pumps and ones that run directly from solar. Since you plan to fill a reservoir, it is likely you'd want to go low pressure with as much flow as possible for the needed lift. A direct panel pump would work well, as it eliminates the need for batteries et cetera. But they are not cheap.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar Livestock Waterer

    How deep is your well or alternative water source?
    120'

    What is the static water level in the well?
    20' now. I imagine in the autumn it will be a lot lower.

    How many gallons per minute does your well produce? (this hasn't been tested)
    2

    How many gallons per day do you need?
    50

    Will you pump to a non-pressurized holding tank or to a pressure tank?
    non-pressurized

    How many feet above the well head is the tank located?
    20

    7) Will you power the pump directly from a PV array?
    directly from the PV array

    8) If PV direct, how many feet from the array to the well head
    20

    I think these are the basic questions and answers, but I'm not sure how to apply the answers to the proper equipment.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,090 admin
    Re: Solar Livestock Waterer

    Don't even bother with those panels... They appear to not meet specifications and degrade from there (look around for Harbor Freight Panels too). Also, those are amorphous panels which are about 2x the square footage as the same amount of power from poly/mono-crystalline solar panels (more mounts, more wiring, etc.).

    Best to backup and pick your pump first... Then pick the hardware to run it.

    I am not very knowledgable about pumps either... I would start by looking at one of these:

    wind-sun_2155_52321410Shurflo 9300 Submersible Solar Water Pump

    Some more DC submersible pumps:

    http://www.solar-electric.com/susdssusopua.html



    The above are around $800 or less...

    These are higher voltage/quality solar panels around $2,000:

    http://www.solar-electric.com/suscsbrdcsus.html

    Or, for about the same price:

    Grundfos Solar Submersible Well Pumps

    These can run off of many different power sources (depending on model):
    Grundfos SQFlex pumps are more expensive than some other submersible solar pumps, but they also are much more tolerant of water that is not perfectly clean. We can help you design a complete system - give us a call or email us.

    All SQF pumps can operate from 90 to 240 Volts AC, and/or 30 to 300 Volts DC. Not recommended for use with modified sine wave inverters (sine wave are OK).

    In the 10+ years that we have been sellng the Grundfos solar pumps they have proven to be the most reliable of any deep well solar powered pump.

    Knowing the quality of your water and such--Read everything you can--Then you can plan a system out and then ask the experts (retailer like our host NAWS or your local well supply company).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Solar Livestock Waterer

    Some related threads that may give you some idea what you're in for:

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=7800

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=5459

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=3886

    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?t=595

    So far you know you need at least 120' of lift, pressure is minimal, and 50 gallons a day (probably within 4 hours of "equivalent good sun" which would be 12.5 gallons per hour or 0.2 GPM - fairly easy to obtain). And you want to run directly off panels. So we look for a pump that meets those criteria. Something like this: http://www.solar-electric.com/sds-d-128.html

    I believe that would also need a linear current booster like this to run from panels: http://www.solar-electric.com/pca-30-m1.html

    And of course some panel to run it. The folks that sell this stuff should be able to tell you the right combination for pump/controller/panel.
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Livestock Waterer

    I would suggest, since this is an old well, that before you invest too much money in the well, take a quart sample into a well pump supplier or water softener seller and first have the water hardness tested, then send a sample off to a lab for analysis so you know what is in the water from the well. there are many 'additives ' in well water these days! the well may be contaminated and may not be usable.. We live on the highest street in our area and there are no houses higher than us yet our well has a number of non toxic items in it that tell us there is cross contamination coming from somewhere...

    cheers
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • tmarchtmarch Solar Expert Posts: 143 ✭✭
    Re: Solar Livestock Waterer
    amboise wrote: »
    I don't know much of anything about either solar or wells, but I'm pretty handy.

    I have an old well that hasn't been used in many years, long before I owned the property. What I've heard about it hasn't proved true (the well is deeper). It's about 120' deep and the water level is about 20' down right now. I've heard that it's only about a 1-2 gpm well which may or may not be true. I haven't tested it because I'm ok with low flow. I know the depth because we pulled out the old well pump.

    It had a 220 amp submersible pump, but power is far away and my guess is that they used a generator periodically when they were out here.

    I want to put in a solar pump as cheaply as possible. My plan is to put in a 500 gallon tank, and use gravity flow to fill a couple of stock tanks from the tank. The tank will be put only about 20 feet away from the pump at about the same elevation. There will only be about 15 horses at most watered from this well.

    What I'd like to do is have a float valve on the tank that regulates the pump, and only have the pump working during daylight hours.

    Cheap and do it yourself is required. I was looking at some inexpensive solar panels like these: http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-50048-60-Watt-Solar-Charging/dp/B000CIADLG/ref=sr_1_3?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1304982937&sr=1-3
    I've no idea whether these are usable for my purposes or not.
    And as inexpensive pump as I can get away with.

    I don't know what I should ask, or what I don't know. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    The above are all considerations + you need to have water available when the sun isn't shining (cloudy etc.) so a generator backup system would be good.

    You won't need to worry about the pump running at nite as solar only works with sunshine.

    Another thing to check is to see if the well is cased all the way down, that will determine if you need to put the pump on steel pipe. That's the best way to be able to recover the pump if a cave in occurs. Also check for sand in the water, that can wreck a pump quickly.

    For simple systems the Grundfos SQF pump will run off a 101 controller without any additional controls and the 101 will provide a generator interface. It also has a low water prob to take care of the pump.

    GOOD LUCK
  • mike95490mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,047 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Livestock Waterer

    After some thought, I'd rent a genset, and put the pump back in the well, and make sure the well is still working. Or have a well company come out and test it.

    You don't want to buy all the "solar stuff" and THEN find out it dried up after you pumped out the rainwater.


    You, at your low solar pump rate, may only need to place the pump 60' down, and the recharge will keep the water at the pump level @ .3GPM
    Powerfab top of pole PV mount | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
    || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
    || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

    solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
    gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister ,

  • FatawanFatawan Solar Expert Posts: 71 ✭✭✭
    Re: Solar Livestock Waterer
    tmarch wrote: »
    50 GALLON A DAY WON'T DO FOR 15 HORSES

    GOOD LUCK

    As a former horse doctor, I would agree!
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: Solar Livestock Waterer
    Fatawan wrote: »
    As a former horse doctor, I would agree!

    And if you mean 50 gallons a day each (which is more like it) that completely skews all the pump/power/tank calculations.

    Had horses. They drink a lot. Especially in hot weather. Worse than kids. :p
    (Not as bad as cows, though.)
Sign In or Register to comment.