Best use for solar panels already on property

Tradiscantia Solar Expert Posts: 35 ✭✭
We have an array of 21 solar panels, about 5-6 years old, that the former owners used to power a submersible well pump for an irrigation well. The pump broke and since we're not irrigating, we are trying to decide between two alternatives.
[1] keep panels where they are on NE corner of property, replace well pump, run water through irrigation lines to residential well and storage tank, and wire for feedback to turn off when full. This would reduce our electric bill for the water (where we pay these crazy surcharges if we go over 3 KW a month)
[2] move the panels near or on top of the ramada at the storage tank and residential well, purchase a good inverter, and set up net metering with our local company.  We have to pay aboub 60% more for electric than they pay us, but I think we'd still end up supplying more than we use down here in Southern Arizona, Cochise County.  
Option two would probably cost a bit more, but maybe not given the cost of the submersible well pumps.


  • Tradiscantia
    Tradiscantia Solar Expert Posts: 35 ✭✭
    I forgot the most imporant:  has anyone tried this?  I'd really like opinions from those of you with experience.  When the solar pump broke in August, our electric bills at the water meter jumped from 35/40 a month to 120.  This is on top of the electric for the house.
  • MichaelK
    MichaelK Registered Users Posts: 234 ✭✭✭
    The first question is what exactly is the pump?  Is it actually a "solar" pump, meaning that it runs on raw DC solar output, or is it a standard 120/240VAC pump?  First order of business is to find out whether the pump was AC or DC, 120V or 240V.

    After that, the specification of the solar system and the electronics controlling it.  Was is battery supplied?  What sort of battery, system voltage, ect?  Is there an inverter?  The way you are writing your post, it sounds like you have two wells, the irrigation well, and a second residential well, is that correct?

    I myself now power my own 1hp 240V pump solely via solar, and I am very happy with it's performance. I have a water system where the water gets pumped out of the well, and up the hill to storage tanks.  With the pump off, the water flows back by gravity to give me ~75psi of pressure.  The one system supplies water to both the cabin, and for irrigating the orchard.

    It sounds like you already have a grid-tie agreement, and if you only pay 60% extra, that sounds like a quite good contract.  I have a nephew that's paying 150%.

    I'm inclined to suggest that you install a good hybrid inverter like an XW Pro, or Outback Radian, continue your grid-tie, but use your solar power to pump your water into your tank, like I do.  That I would think would bring both your electric and water bills to a minimum.
    System 1) 15 Renogy 300w + 4 250W Astronergy panels,  Midnight 200 CC, 8 Trojan L16 bat., Schneider XW6848 NA inverter, AC-Delco 6000w gen.
    System 2) 8 YingLi 250W panels, Midnight 200CC, three 8V Rolls batteries, Schneider Conext 4024 inverter (workshop)