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Solar Water Pump Systems: It’s Advantages & Types

Updated: Mar 19



Solar water pump system
Solar water pump system

Access to water is critical for agriculture, industries, and households. Traditional electric and diesel pumps have limitations in terms of high operating costs and reliability issues. Solar-powered water pumps are emerging as a sustainable solution, especially in rural parts of India that lack consistent electricity supply. 


In this blog, we will look at what a solar pump is, its advantages over conventional pumps, the main components, and the different types of solar pump systems available.

 

What is a Solar Water Pump?


A solar water pump system uses power from sunlight to operate the pump instead of electricity from the grid or a diesel generator. It converts solar energy into electrical energy to draw water from a well, lake, or other source and transport it where needed for irrigation, drinking water, etc.

It consists of two main components:

  1. Solar PV Array: Made up of solar panels that generate electricity when exposed to sunlight.

  2. Pump Set: Powered by a motor that draws water from a source and pushes it to the desired outlet. It comes in AC or DC variants.

The PV array is connected to the pump set, either directly or via a controller. When sunlight falls on the solar panels, a DC electric current is produced, which drives the connected pump.

 

Benefits of Solar Water Pumps

 

Solar powered pumps have several advantages over conventional pump systems:

  • Reduce Electricity Costs: Sunlight is free. Solar pumps can eliminate energy bills associated with grid electricity or diesel.

  • Lower Maintenance: Fewer mechanical parts compared to diesel pumps. No fuel is needed.

  • Reliable in Rural Areas: Provides uniform water supply without depending on erratic rural electricity supply.

  • Environmentally Clean: Solar energy does not cause air or noise pollution or greenhouse gases. 

  • Require No Tailing: Can access water in remote locations without needing electric lines or roads.

  • Subsidies Available: MNRE capital subsidies are available for farmers adopting solar pumps. Lowers the initial cost.

These benefits make solar-powered systems ideal for meeting irrigation and drinking water needs in rural, remote regions.


Components of a Solar Pump System


The two main components, the solar PV array and pump set, require other parts to function as an integrated system:

  • Mounting Structure: Holds the solar panels in an inclined position facing the sun. Allows tilting angle adjustment for seasonal changes.

  • Water Storage Tank: Provides a water buffer for when sunlight is low. Connected to the pump outlet.

  • Plumbing: Includes water pipes to take water in and out of the pump. Valves and filters may also be added.

  • Controller (for AC pumps): Converts DC output from panels to AC input for pumps. Manages optimum speed and flow.

  • Batteries: Some systems add a battery bank to store excess solar power and use it when sunlight is reduced.

The size of these components is determined by the water flow rate needed. A higher-capacity pump and more PV panels are used for large-scale water requirements.


Types of Solar Water Pumping Systems


There are two main classifications of solar pumps based on the type of pump used:


  • Submersible Solar Pump Sets

These pumps operate while fully submerged in water. Common in bore wells and water tanks. Since the pump itself is immersed, no suction head is required. Make almost no noise compared to surface pumps. Have high discharge capacity from greater surrounding pressure. Require fewer panels too. But maintenance is tough, requiring the removal of the entire pump assembly from the water.


  • Surface Solar Pump Sets

In these, only the impellers of the pump are under water while the motor stays outside. Typically mounted on floating platforms on ponds or fixed ground installations, It requires more panels than the submersible variant to match discharge volumes. It is easy to inspect, repair, and replace parts since major components are externally accessible. Include centrifugal and positive displacement designs.

Solar pumps can also be categorized based on the motor type - AC or DC - used in the pump set.


DC Solar Pumps


Directly powered by DC electric current generated by the solar PV system. Most have brushless DC motors for high reliability and lower maintenance. As no inverter AC conversion takes place, some power loss is avoided, increasing efficiency. Typically, submersible pumps use DC motors. Cheaper than AC variants. But output and capacity are lower. Speed regulation is also poorer in the absence of a motor controller.


AC Solar pumps


The solar panel's electricity is first sent to a controller or inverter unit to be converted to AC power. This then drives a standard AC induction motor in the pump. AC motors provide higher water discharge volumes and consistency in output. But it involves additional power conversion losses, lowering overall efficiency slightly. Costlier due to extra electronics. Used where large volumes of water need to be handled.


Conclusion


Solar PV water pumping systems provide a cost-effective and sustainable solution for meeting irrigation, drinking water, and industrial fluid transport needs, especially in rural India. Solar pumps eliminate dependence on grid electricity availability and diesel fuel supplies. They harness the abundant, free power of the sun to bring water access to remote locations. With government subsidies also available, solar pumps represent the future of pumping infrastructure for India's diverse water needs across sectors.


At Waaree, we offer a wide range of solar pumps and complete system solutions tailored to customer requirements. With over three decades of experience in PV and a leading solar pump installation footprint, Waaree is a trusted partner for all solar pumping projects, from individual farmers to state-level solar irrigation initiatives. Contact us and visit our website waamotors.com today to learn how our solar water pumping systems can meet your needs!


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