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Friday, December 24, 2010

Solar Water Pumping - Maybe the Best Option

Solar Water Pumping: A Do-it-yourself Example

Joe Pattie owns and operates an Angus-cross cattle farm near Lead Hill, Arkansas. Many of his pastures have small ponds or creeks to supply livestock drinking water; others are on permanently fenced ridge tops with very little access to water during the normally dry summer and fall. He started looking for a reliable remote water pumping solution for a 38-acre pasture with no direct access to water. He decided drilling a new well was the most logical solution.
Joe Pattie with solar panels
Joe Pattie with solar panels set at 24 degrees for summer water pumping and tripod for pulling pump in background. Photo by Leif Kindberg.
Pattie knew there were multiple options for pumping well water including mechanical pumps powered by a windmill and AC and DC electric pumps drawing power from the local electric company, a generator, or a solar system. He priced the cost of running power lines for an AC pump with his local electric CO-OP and found that this would cost about $6,000. A generator would create ongoing fuel expenses. His existing Aermotor windmill pump on another pasture required a generator with an AC pump as backup during times of insufficient wind. After researching Solar-Powered Livestock Watering Systems, he found that they pump their highest volume of water during summer days—when the cattle need water the most.
"I was interested in trying out solar pumping," says Pattie. "It sounded pretty reliable."

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