Solar pump recommendation

SystemSystem Posts: 2,511 admin
Hello, I'm new here. We just had a well drilled. 245' deep with a 2gpm flow. The water level is at 20'. The well is at a remote site 1200' from the house and at an elevation about 100' higher. No power of any kind. So, I've determined solar water pumping is the best choice. The problem is there are so many brands and models to chose from. What brand/model solar pump do you use? What do you think is best for my situation? With the water level at 20', I have about 300gal of reserve in the well. To get the most water out of the well, I'm thinking of a pump that's slightly greater than 2gpm and spread the 300gal reserve evenly throughout the pumping hours when the sun is up. I'm looking for the most efficient and reliable setup. Thanks in advance for you help.

Comments

  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,684 admin
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    I am not a well expert... But don't you need to pump the well at 2gpm and find out what the water level drops down to? You may find that you have a 200' head when pumping the well at capacity.

    My other question is the well 100' higher or lower than the home?

    Also sending the water 1,200' to your home is going to either take a bit of energy and/or large diameter piping (plus, possibly the 100' elevation change).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    The well produces 2gpm. If I pump at a rate of 2gpm or less, the water level should be unchanged and stayed 20' right? The well is located about 100' higher than the home. A 3000gal storage tank will be installed near the well. It will be a gravity feed system. No enery required. Just the energy to power the pump. That why I'm so interested in a solar pump. No battery of any power storage. Just pump when the sun is up. The 3000gal storage tank should give me at least a week of reserve.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar pump recommendation
    stumpfield wrote:
    The well produces 2gpm. If I pump at a rate of 2gpm or less, the water level should be unchanged and stayed 20' right? NO, IT WILL DROP, THE QUESTION IS, HOW FAR? The well is located about 100' higher than the home. (THIS WILL GIVE YOU ABOUT 50 PSI AT THE HOME) A 3000gal storage tank will be installed near the well. It will be a gravity feed system. No energy required. Just the energy to power the pump. That why I'm so interested in a solar pump. No battery of any power storage. Just pump when the sun is up. The 3000gal storage tank should give me at least a week of reserve.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,684 admin
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    Here is a good article with basic information on a home/ranch well powered with solar panels...

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/yago91.html

    Lots of interesting information.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • AFWnSAFWnS Solar Expert Posts: 13
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    If you put your tank about 40ft below your well, you could set up a syphon from the well to the storage tank, then use a pressure tank with a booster pump in your house, no external power required. The difficult part is to get the syphon started.

    You would need a float shutoff at the storage tank, from the well to the storage tank use 1/2" or 3/4" line. Even a small line running 24/7 will probably take care of your water needs. Be sure to take care of any freeze considerations.

    NAWS has a Shurflo 9300 booster pump that has worked well for me for 3 years.
  • AFWnSAFWnS Solar Expert Posts: 13
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    Sorry, that pump model is a 2088 115V
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 31,684 admin
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    By the way, a siphon will only lift water a bit under 34 feet of water at sea level under perfect conditions (and water would boil in a hard vacuum so you would not even get 34 feet)...

    In reality, it is probably closer to 20-25 feet maximum lift for a siphon. And will be less at if you are much above sea level (mountains, 7,000' would probably 4'-5' less).

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    I'm going to try the siphon idea. My well is at about 2900' elevation. The practical limit is about 26' at sea level. With the altitude adjustment and pipe/hose lost, I don't have much to spare. If the water level drops just a couple of feet, then it probably won't work. Anyone currently using a DC pump powered with solar panels? I want to focus on systems without batteries or other power source. Just PV panels and pump when the sun is up. Here what I've found so far:

    SunPumps -- even though the depth capability is rated for up to 230ft. The pump can't be submerged more than 50ft under water. Since my static water level is at 20', with this pump, I have to place the pump at 70'. I will lose all that extra storage capacity in the well below 70'. At 1st, I thought this pump would be perfect but they don't tell you about how deep it can be submerged under water until you call them or read the fine prints in the user's manual.

    Shurflo -- same issue but a little bit better. It can be submerged 100' under water.

    Grundfos SQflex -- cost about 3x as much. I guess it might work but still waiting for an answer if I can place the pump at 220' so it's 200' submerged under water. None of the pump specs online show how deep the pump can be submerged under water.




    This is a new well with no other wells in the area. I don't know how stable is the static water level. I don't want to keep moving the pump down further and splice hose/cable each time the water level drops. So, I want to start with placing the pump at low as possible.
  • AFWnSAFWnS Solar Expert Posts: 13
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    I think you have a bit of a wrong idea about the water in the casing, that is not just storage space. Your water table is under pressure, that is what pushes the water up to 20', you probably have more capacity than you think.

    We were syphoning from our cistern for 3 years until we recently put in our well. My well did not hit water until 280', but after it was cased we measured it again and the level was up to 115' (it is obviously under some pressure). Our pump is a Wayne 1/2 HP 110V unit and it would not pump from 280', so we reset it to 160' and it works great. Happiness is water you do not have to haul.

    Good Luck
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    The well driller said 2GPM. So, I don't have any reason not to believe him. It could change with time but very unlikely. Out here in the sierra foothills of California, there's not really a water table. The well is drill into granite just a few feet below the surface. Water flows through the fractures in the rock from high elevation to the valley floor below like an underground river system. When the well shaft intesects one or more fractures in the rock, that's how the well gets it's water. My well probably hit a tiny fracture. There are methods that may increase the yield like putting dynamine and explode it near the fracture or use hydrofracking. But I think I'm happy with the 2GPM if I get most of it out of the well efficiently.

    When you siphon from your cistern, how to you start/stop the siphon process easily? Do you lose the siphon flow due to air bubbles build up in the system? How to you deal with that? Thanks for your comments.
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar pump recommendation
    stump wrote:
    When you siphon from your cistern, how to you start/stop the siphon process easily? Do you lose the siphon flow due to air bubbles build up in the system? How to you deal with that? Thanks for your comments.

    Here in Nova Scotia, during Winter months, or cool weather, the buildup of bubbles in a long siphon is not a problem. However, during hot summer weather, the gasses dissolved in the water come out of solution rapidly and gather in any high points of the pipe. It can be cleared (if caught in time) by running the water full wide open and it will drag the "air" bubbles through the pipe and sddddddddddddddddddddddddddd (oops, I'm falling asleep at the computer again, have to get to bed) clear them out that way. If however it is left too long, you'll get a complete "air lock", which will require a pump to force them through. The nature of a siphon, creates an area of low pressure, which greatly increases the production of "air" formation, which if left unchecked, will stop the flow of water.
    Good luck
    Wayne
  • System2System2 Posts: 6,290 admin
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    You might try something like I did, I had a well I drilled by hand it was 126 to the point. I used a old jack pump with a 2 1/2 hp gas motor on it for ten years. My water was way down the pipe. I had 2 storage tanks that the water was stored into and It was higher than my house and I buried 1" plastic water line to the house.
    I later put up solar panels and a battery bank and found a dc motor and was able to pump the water with the dc motor. If you can find a old jack pump and dc motor you could do it that way also. I moved a few years ago from that house and I am working now again on setting up a solar water pumping system where I now am. I have a 5" well at 125 feet here and have bought some panels and a 4000 watt inverter with a 110/120 transformer, when I get my battery band purchased I will set up a system for emergency water needs.
    I wish you luck with your system you should be able to do what you need. I did not have the 100ft above house like you have and I had a 2 story home and had a shower on 2nd floor and it worked great. we did not have alot of water pressure but I think that helped us conserve on water. When I sold that home I had to drill a new well at the house to make buyers/lenders happy but I really missed the gravity feed system.
  • SilverbulletSilverbullet Registered Users Posts: 2
    Re: Solar pump recommendation

    I have a deep well through 165 feet of solid granite. We have 205 gallons per minute. Because of circumstances overall, my system operates off a very standard system. Either generator powered, (I have both diesel and LP. Diesel storage is 500 gallons and LP storage is 1000 gallons) The underground well pump is the smallest 240vac pump we could find. It pumps into two storage tanks. One inside the house which is elevated and whose primary use is to the toilets with no pumps. Flush anytime you want, day or night, power available or no power available. It holds 125 gallons, atmospheric.

    The other storage tank is on a lower level, is also atmospheric and holds 250 gallons. Both are round horizontal fiberglass food grade with 4 outlets on the end and a manwell. So I can fill both tanks in minutes with either generator. Water lasts for weeks. The lower tank has a Grundfos 120vac bronze pump for house/shelter pressure.

    There is a spare sitting right next to it. It is run from a small inverter off the batteries. There is a spare inverter sitting right next to that one. Its all cheap! The pump pressure is controlled by a standard, adjustable well pressure regulator connected to the pumps. There are spare regulators sitting next to the pumps. Also cheap. So much redundancy there you could limp along for decades by scavenging parts if you had to.

    The other concern for proper health precautions was primary in my system! On the incoming side I have a whole house filter, 50 micron, and a secondary filter 5 micron with spares for both standing by. I built a huge activated charcoal filter (Use only coconut shells) that is never in the loop but awaiting an event where you must be sure. It is constructed from 4" pvc and in that volume could last ten years. The primary elevated tank has those filters. It also has a 53 watt UV filter for a large fish pond. It has a small circulation pump such as you would use for an aquarium. Almost no power consumption. All incoming water is filtered before it gets to the smaller tank.

    The only device for healthy water on the larger tank which takes water after its filtered by the larger tank is another 53 watt UV lamp. Same 24/7 pumping arrangement when the cabin is in use. Each tank does have a 12vdc connection and a spare Sureflow 12vdc pump with necessary connections in the event nothing but 12vdc power is available. This may sound like a lot but it really isn't. Most everything is available on ebay. I just wanted to spend a bit of extra time and money to assure me and my family could meet just about any emergency situation where our water was concerned and I think we have done that. Only the recirculation UV system runs 24/7.

    As an aside, we used to use Johnson Penn float controls in tanks. They now cost about $300.00!!! I found on ebay a float control and a solenoid to do the same job for about eight dollars total, but purchased separately. The housing for the float control is inside a 90 degree pvc fitting, reduced down to 3/4 and mounted to control the highest water level desired. Pretty cool! And to be sure, right next to those are redundancy parts with simple instructions about how to replace them. Maybe that will keep you thinking for a while. I do also have 3000 watts of solar panels which do all but the well pump.

    Why complicate things if you don't have to. Buy standard well pumps and use a generator with a 220vac connection running well water into atmospheric tanks. Ive been doing this for over thirty years. Show me a better, easier, cheaper, more reliable way and I will take it.

    PS: The generator that is pumping water into the storage tanks is charging the battery banks at the same time. Hope some of this is useful.
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