Author Topic: Solar Well Pump Ideas  (Read 40222 times)

Offline Jazkal

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Solar Well Pump Ideas
« on: April 15, 2009, 07:28:58 AM »
I made a post mentioning I was converting my 350' grid water pump system to a solar powered setup. And I have received a couple of requests to describe what I'm doing exactly. So... that is what this post is about.

I actually own a Sunrise 5218 solar pump, and was just planning on buying the solar panels, batteries, controller, storage tank, etc needed to finish out the system. But once I priced everything out, I was looking at around $5000 (and that doesn't include the $1800 price tag of the pump I already own).

Because Sunrise is now out of the solar pump game, I figured the parts were more expensive than needed. So I looked at some other systems, and If I was to go with a standard solar powered system, I'd go with Grundfos.

But I found something a little different, called a Brumby Pump (Australian). This pump works by pushing compressed air down to the pump (which has no moving parts), which uses air to move the water to the surface. So for my purposes of a 350' well, I'm looking at the Brumby S2 Pump (which pumps up to 150 gallons/hour).

So, a list of the major components needed:

Brumby S2 pump
12v or 24v air compressor (4+ CFM at 110psi)
water storage tank
12v or 24v water pressurizer (to provide pressure to house)
PV array and batteries

All of this is still under review, but from my research, this is looking like the best option for me (at 350' well depth).

I'm still looking into the best options for air compressor and the house pressurizer. I'll post more once I flush those out.



EDIT:
Link to pump
http://www.brumbypumps.com/

Offline archer

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2009, 12:04:30 PM »
Thanks, let us know if you order one and how it works out.

ken

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2009, 04:22:44 PM »
I just posted to your previous post for your plan details, then noticed the new thread.

Thanks for the new thread.  Deep wells without ample power are big problems.  Nobody wants to be left pulling on a 300 ft rope to get a 2 gallon PVC pipe bucket to the surface in an emergency, ha.   Hmmm, besides I have steel pipe down the well, could not even pull the pump by myself, so I don't have that option. 

Buying a windmill and tower is a good option, but also very expensive.

 I have a well , about the same depth, currently a 1-1/2 HP pump, it is the only electrical load that requires the grid or generator.  I have surface tanks for backup, so it is not my top priority.  I was hoping you had a lower cost solution than the grundfos pumps, ouch, I get sticker shock just thinking about it.  I understand they are pretty reliable and work in very deep holes, however, they are very sophisticated, I would like a simpler pump system if I could have my choice. 

On another property I own, I have a deep well, same story, but the static level is at about 125 ft, very tempting.  The problem is that the well is a low producer, so I need all that static head to offset a low flow rate.  I have been wondering if a slow (1/2 to 1 gallon per minute) pump might actually work, and not suck the water level down to 300 ft, ha.  I can get one of those pumps for about 600 bucks, and only need a few panels at the surface, a gallon a minute for 5 hours would be 300 gallons a day into the storage tank, plenty of water. A simple float switch at the tank would shut the pump off when filled.  My fear is that setting the pump at say 150 feet would not be sufficient margin.  Hmmm, still looking for a better option. 

My current plan is to keep the surface tanks topped off from the well, and use solar pressure pumps to supply water to the houses from the tank.  If the power goes, I have the surface water to act as a buffer supply.  If the power stays off, then I shut down water use to a minimum, and simply use the generator twice a year to top off the big storage tank.  If the power is off longer than that, then I will have to learn to live without water, something like that, ha. 
« Last Edit: April 15, 2009, 04:26:13 PM by ken »

Offline Jazkal

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2009, 05:10:43 PM »
Now that I found the Brumbly pumps, I will NOT be going the grundfos way.

Overall costs projected:

Brumby S2 pump ($500)
12v or 24v air compressor (4+ CFM at 110psi) ($400)
water storage tank ($1000 for a 2500 gal)
12v or 24v water pressurizer (to provide pressure to house) ($350)
PV array and batteries ($500 - plan on making my own panels)

Total: $2800 or $1800 if you already have storage


AFS2

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2009, 12:55:36 PM »

I'm new here, I hope you don't mind me stepping in.

I can't imagine that you are going have very big panels (even if you make your own) with only $500 for both batteries and panels.

For my system, I originally was going to use a 1/2 hp pump that would run on 110VAC because I could get an el cheapo inverter to run it. When I had the well drilled, I talked with the driller. He suggested and I went with the Grundfos.

I had heard of pumps similar to the Brumbly  before but decided that I would rather not deal with the compressor. (actually the pumps I heard of were driven by a compressor mounted to a windmill)

I too am going with the large, unpressurized storage tank (1550 gallons - just got it today) and a small pressurizing pump. I will probably run my pressurizing pump off the grid with inverter backup. One thing that helps me is that my well is actually higher than the house so I may actually not need to pressurize except for things like the showers etc.

ken

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2009, 04:44:23 PM »
I wanted to be able to select the power source for my 1/2 HP water pressure pump (takes water from the rain water storage tanks), just in case.  So, I wired both a grid powered outlet, and a solar (inverter) powered outlet by the pump, so I can select the power source with the plug.  I usually keep the pump connected to the solar powered outlet, but can switch outlets if I happen to be working on the solar electric system.  Overall, I am pleased with the performance.

A word of caution, using a 1/2 HP pump was a compromise, as it wont pump a lot of water but is a lot easier to power with an inverter.  A larger pump would supply more gallons per minute, but might not have been that easy to power.  This pump only feeds a washing machine, a bathroom sink, and a single outdoor faucet.  Don't assume this would work for your needs without first calculating your water demands (gallons per minute) with several simultaneous demands.     

Gravity fed water systems are excellent, a very smart way to go if you have sufficient change in elevation.  Eliminating the pump, and pressure tank will save you a lot of money. 

Offline Jazkal

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2009, 06:31:17 PM »
My property is flat, so I can't use elevation to get my pressure. And I have a family of 6 which need 600+ gallons of water a day.

The PV array and batteries to run the compressor and pressurizer doesn't need to be that big. I was planning on 2 - 85w panels, which i can make myself for around $200. And then 4 - 6v golf cart batteries.


AFS2

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2009, 08:42:02 PM »
Sounds like good plan, but you may be a little light on the panels, especially if it becomes necessary to de-rate panel output  due to temperature rise.

Offline susan1957

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2009, 07:21:43 PM »
I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble but hopefully it will save you some money.  Our Well is 200 ft deep and it works on a 220 pump.  We contacted our well guy that  kept telling us that solar was not going to provide enough power to pump water out of our well.  Today he brought over a solar system to hook up to show us that it wouldn't work.  Sad to say it worked a few minutes then it quit.  He suggested that if we had a power outage we have on hand a 4500 watt generator and pump it to a cistern then on it have a hand pump.  That way we only run the generator long enough to fill the cistern. 

I'm now checking again to see if there is another way but so far this does look like what we will be doing.  Does anyone have any information on what to do with a cistern.  I was so upset the solar wouldn't work I didn't ask.

Thanks

Offline Jazkal

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2009, 07:29:37 PM »
I'm sorry, but what your water well guy showed you was not a solar powered pump meant for deep wells. There have been lots of people using deep solar well pumps to pull enough water to supply a family house needs.

Most solar well pumps I've seen pull 1-2 gallons a min. which is slow compared to your 110v or 220v AC pump. It just requires you to pump to a storage tank, and then pressurize it to the house.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2009, 05:45:43 PM »
The Bellocq Pump

I've never used one of these, but I've had the tech on file for years, just in case.

This is a rig that can pull water up from VERY deep, in generous quantities, using no more electricity than a small sewing machine motor. It could definitely be solar powered, and doesn't particularly require AC.

It's very simple, and just about anyone should be able to knock one together pretty easily.

Here's where to look:

http://www.rexresearch.com/bellocq/bellocq.htm

Enjoy!

Offline DDrew

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2009, 07:16:44 PM »
The Bellocq Pump

I've never used one of these, but I've had the tech on file for years, just in case.

This is a rig that can pull water up from VERY deep, in generous quantities, using no more electricity than a small sewing machine motor. It could definitely be solar powered, and doesn't particularly require AC.

It's very simple, and just about anyone should be able to knock one together pretty easily.

Here's where to look:

http://www.rexresearch.com/bellocq/bellocq.htm

Enjoy!


I've been looking at this and found a video on it at http://www.archive.org/details/BobPaddockTonibioBellocqCompressionWavePumpinoperation and more information at http://www.unusualresearch.com/Pump/bellocq.htm. I'm interested in this pump, and was curious if anyone has seen this in action (other than these old videos)? If it looks promising, I know of a machinist that may be able to make one.  Is anyone else interested in getting one, if we can make it work?

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2009, 10:34:21 PM »
I'm interested in getting one. I've started a project to design one you could make out of off-the-shelf parts (as far as possible) but haven't made much progress on it yet. Strapped for free time at the moment.


Offline “Mark”

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2009, 10:52:32 AM »
I'm now checking again to see if there is another way but so far this does look like what we will be doing.  Does anyone have any information on what to do with a cistern.  I was so upset the solar wouldn't work I didn't ask.

If possible, elevate your cistern. If you keep it in your attic, you will have sufficient pressure for most purposes just from gravity (except taking showers, perhaps). If you have two stories, even better!

My grandparents used a gasoline-powered water pump, and kept a cistern in their attic. They had an overflow pipe that dumped into the bathtub for the rare occasion they pumped too long. After some experience with pumping water, they knew how many minutes it would take to fill the tank. They pumped water about every two days.

If you're going to be running a generator to power your pump, consider getting a gas powered pump which should work more efficiently.

danielle89506

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2009, 10:27:12 PM »

Here is an idea that has revolutionized our water system we have a 450' well that we felt was not cost effective at solar.  Not to mention we need quick volume for fire suppression and with livestock and our irrigation.
The solar guy we used came up with a device that was added to our off-grid system that has now be in service for 3 or so years.
The basic tenant is that he load shifts our efficient yet power hungry ac well pump to our auto-start backup generator.  In the summer time it makes the generator run about 20 min every other day.  As it runs it also tops off our battery bank.  The controller he came up with keeps our 1500 gallon above ground storage tank full and we use an efficient centrifugal 1/2 hp pump running off of the batteries and inverter to pressurize our domestic water.

Best $700.00  we spent in reference to our water issues

his info by the way  universalenergyonline.biz

cheers

Dani




Offline Jazkal

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2010, 06:08:10 PM »
The basic tenant is that he load shifts our efficient yet power hungry ac well pump to our auto-start backup generator.  In the summer time it makes the generator run about 20 min every other day.  As it runs it also tops off our battery bank.  The controller he came up with keeps our 1500 gallon above ground storage tank full and we use an efficient centrifugal 1/2 hp pump running off of the batteries and inverter to pressurize our domestic water.
What size generator are you running for this?

Offline phargolf

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2010, 10:18:38 PM »
Here is an idea that has revolutionized our water system we have a 450' well that we felt was not cost effective at solar.  Not to mention we need quick volume for fire suppression and with livestock and our irrigation.
The solar guy we used came up with a device that was added to our off-grid system that has now be in service for 3 or so years.
The basic tenant is that he load shifts our efficient yet power hungry ac well pump to our auto-start backup generator.  In the summer time it makes the generator run about 20 min every other day.  As it runs it also tops off our battery bank.  The controller he came up with keeps our 1500 gallon above ground storage tank full and we use an efficient centrifugal 1/2 hp pump running off of the batteries and inverter to pressurize our domestic water.

Best $700.00  we spent in reference to our water issues

his info by the way  universalenergyonline.biz

cheers

Dani




Nice setup , do you use a regular water pressure tank for home use?

Offline oktheniknow

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2010, 11:20:56 AM »
Interesting post. Have started to look into as we have a well dug in the '60s. Think it is a 275 foot shallow well, straight T type. Has 230volt pump attached to 44 gallon tank.
Any suggestions on how much solar power/panels & batteries would be needed for a backup? Looking into that Bellocq pump.

Offline CdnGuy

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2011, 09:06:47 PM »
The company I work for uses a type of electric motor to pump chemicals into gas and oil wells. We power it with a 180 watt panel and 2 x 100 Ah batteries. It can do up to 720 litres a day with our motor controller on it. I don't know what it can do with the controller, maybe more. It's a positive pressure pump and can inject thick chemicals into wells pushing several hundred psi back on the pump.

I'll look into this a bit further and find out if it'd be any good for your application. If it is, I'll post the pump manufacturer here.

Offline oktheniknow

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2011, 09:55:38 PM »
Best $700.00  we spent in reference to our water issues
his info by the way  universalenergyonline.biz
That site is offline by the way.

Offline daltdad@yahoo.com

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2011, 08:47:04 PM »
Completely new on site/posting. Has anyone heard of the site " simplepump.com" reportedly is a hand pump system with options for solar and 12v

Offline 4bull

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2011, 09:58:27 AM »
I saw world water , has some killer pump setups. But i havent found out if they will sell to me.

Offline CdnGuy

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2011, 09:31:51 PM »
Learned something interesting today...for pumping applications, the open circuit voltage is a very important number on the solar panel. The higher that number, the better suited the panel will be to provide that initial kick to get a pump going. That is, if you are going straight from the panel to the pump controller. If you have a battery array in there, this number isn't as important.

Offline fasteddie

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2011, 11:18:04 PM »
has anybody had any experience with the lorentz solar pumps ? i think there out of germany

Offline Iron Edison

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2011, 08:30:53 PM »
Have you considered using a DC well pump?


Here is a link to some general info, use the bar on the L to navigate.

Good luck!

http://www.aeesolar.com/catalog/products/H_ASW_WP_SBP_GFS.htm

Offline Vivily

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2012, 10:30:49 PM »
Finally understand the solar concept, I feel that the contribution to the after life will be very large.

Offline GomerPile

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2012, 08:36:50 AM »
I'm using a SDS series from sun pumps:  http://www.sunpumps.com/products.php?Cat=54

My 200ft well has a static level of 10ft with 5+ GPM so I don't have the issues you guys have.  I can tell you that their pumps are really well built and you can buy rebuild kits to keep in your critical spare parts bin.

I'm using their controller/booster box and the pump uses just under 50 watts at the peak of my pressure tank.  If you run it from 12V into an open tank the power needs are much less.  I bet you could do a system pumping 200ft into an open tank with a 100W solar panel.

The flow rates are low on these pumps so you need to have some storage capability at ground level.

Offline scaffdog

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2013, 09:19:29 PM »
Im interested to see where this goes, I have a 300' deep well and the biggest load by far is the well pump(3HP/220V).  If there is a solar option that really works, Id be interested in it since right now the plan is to stack my 4kW inverters in order to handle the load along with others.

Offline Jakevf

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2013, 12:31:02 PM »
I would be interested in looking into a much lower power pump designed to move much smaller amounts of water but capable of the 300' lift. It will have to run a lot longer than your big 3 HP pump, but it won't tax your battery bank and use up a lot of your inverter capacity. (You might even get a DC motor and run directly off your battery bank with no inverter.)

Also, If you have water storage top-side then pumping water is a good application for solar power simply because you don't care if it's working or not at any given moment as long as it produces enough  water to meet your needs and keep your storage topped off. A relatively small pump lifting something like 1 gal / minute doesn't sound like it'd do anything until you realize it might run continuously 3-5 hours per day. That's 180-300 gallons daily, and while I'm no expert, it looks like such a pump could run pretty comfortably on about 200 W of solar panels, which is not outrageous at all. You may have a week of cloudy weather where it does very little for you, but on those occasions you still have a generator and a 3HP pump you can use to make up for any shortfall.

Just an idea I've been kicking around in my head recently...

Offline jb59

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Re: Solar Well Pump Ideas
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2013, 08:01:59 AM »
Priceless information.  Thanks for posting Jazkal!