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The essential need for every human being is a clean and steady water supply. With solar technology, it becomes an affordable and easy way to ensure a steady supply of water in isolated regions. These solar pumps replace the current pumps so that numerous weather and socio-economic benefits can be achieved.
A solar water pump system is simply an electrical pump system with one or more PhotoVoltaic (PV) panels supplying the power. A solar-powered pumping system typically comprises a solar panel array that powers an electric motor, which then drives a bore or surface pump. Because the water is usually pumped from the ground or a stream into a storage tank that offers gravity feed, these systems do not require energy storage.
Solar water pumps are robust that are hassle-free to install and require minimum maintenance. The life span of these pumps is a maximum of 20-25 years. These solar pumping systems are usually used in irrigation, and water stock.
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To ensure a better return on your investments, you need to be mindful while choosing the components of the solar water pumping system. A typical solar pump generally includes a solar panel, motor pump, controller, structure, and pipes.
The most integral part of a solar pumping system is the solar pumps. Solar cells, often known as photovoltaic (PV) cells, are constructed of semiconducting materials that can directly convert sunlight into energy. When sunlight strikes the cells, it disintegrates and releases electrons within the cells, resulting in a direct electrical current (DC). PV cells are joined together to form modules,’ which are generally coated in glass or a transparent plastic covering. Furthermore, these modules are organized to form an ‘array’ that is tailored to the individual application.
The pump is another important component of a solar water pumping system. They are specifically built to maximize the usage of solar energy. Solar pumps, as opposed to conventional pumps, which require a constant AC supplied by utility lines or generators, utilize DC power from batteries and/or PV solar panels. Likewise, these pumps are intended to operate in low-light settings and at low voltage without stopping or overheating. There are four types of solar pumps that are available in the market which are powered by PV solar panels, namely, diaphragm, piston, helical, and centrifugal.
The first three types of the solar water pump are referred to as positive displacement. Positive displacement solar pumps can pump water from far deeper depths but have a limited flow rate. The properties of centrifugal solar pumps are exactly the reverse. It has been discovered to have better flow rates, however, it cannot pump water from great depths unless fitted with a higher power rating.
Now not all solar pumps require a controller. For Diaphragm water pumps, a simple controller can perform various tasks. Limiting the power to the solar pump motor to prevent it from being damaged, adding a manual disconnect switch between the solar panel and the pump motor, aids in regulating the voltage and current to increase pumping performance at lower solar radiation levels, along with a float switch to allow the PV solar modules and solar pump motor to be automatically disconnected when the storage tank is full.
Helium solar pump controllers are more complex than diaphragm solar pump controllers, yet they are still highly dependable. Some manufacturers incorporate the majority of the controller function into the submersible motor’s casing. As a result, the controller can safeguard the motor from running dry using a wire sensor linked to the motor. This embedded controller can also identify whether the input current is DC or single-phase alternating current, and if it is single-phase alternating current, it rectifies and converts it to DC before connecting to a DC motor.
Because the DC power generated by the solar panels must be converted to single or three-phase AC electricity, the controllers used for AC solar water pumping systems are more intricate than helium solar pump controllers. This has a significant impact on motor/pump pricing since off-the-shelf motors and pumps may be utilized, which are significantly less expensive due to their high demand. This, however, is only relevant to large-scale activities.
SunShell power’s controller, which comes with the solar pumps, employs MPPT technology to convert the DC power of the SPV into the needed DC or AC power for the solar pumps. These controllers have LED displays, IP54 enclosure protection standards, and the MODBUS protocol via the RS-485 interface. It also assures safety by offering a switch by mechanical isolation, so that even if the farmers come into touch with it with wet hands or feet, they will not be electrocuted. The controllers additionally have an IGBT switching mechanism and a provision for warning when there is an issue with high/low voltage, current overload, low irradiance, or dry run.
While all these make up for a crucial part of the smooth operation of the solar water pumping system, the external components are just as essential to ensure the longevity of the solar pumps. The dimensions of these components often vary depending on the precise function for which the solar water pumps are to be utilized. However, the essential components required to construct the framework are a ‘base structure column,’ which lays the groundwork for the solar panels. The ‘solar base structure’ is then installed on top of the base structure using nuts and bolts. Following that, it should be determined whether the structure can be moved to accommodate dual-axis tracking. Further, the PV solar panels are attached on top of this with plate mounting clamps. Finally, the solar controller is put on the base column, together with all of the wires and the pump, to complete the structural construction of a solar water pumping system.
As you can see, the benefits of switching to solar pumps are numerous. It provides an eco-friendly solution to supply water in remote areas. Not only that, since these solar pumps are a stand-alone system and are not connected to the grid to generate energy, they are not affected by power cuts, low voltage, single-phase problems, or motor burning. After the initial investment, these pumps require little to no maintenance and can continue to reap benefits for over 25 years. On top of that, seeing the rise in popularity of solar power, the government also offers a 90% subsidy on solar pumps.
The panel is only harmed during a hurricane or cyclone if the surface on which it is installed collapses. Building sturdy foundations for the installation of a fixed panel should be given special consideration in locations prone to cyclones and storms. During storms or cyclones, the array should also be kept horizontally at 180 degrees to provide the least amount of resistance to the wind.
Solar water pumps have a substantially longer life expectancy than diesel pumps and can continue to produce electricity for up to 25 years.