What is a solar-powered water pump?

What is a solar-powered water pump

A solar water pump is also the same as a conventional electrical pump system. The difference is that the solar water pump system operates by the electricity made from solar power and the conventional system works from the grid power.

This solar-powered water pump system is best for rural areas where there are no electricity lines from the grid. This pump system makes the irrigation work easier at farmlands in remote areas.

What is a solar-powered water pump?

A solar-powered water pumping system works the same as a conventional electrical pumping system. But they use solar power instead of grid power.

A solar-powered water pumping system has three main components. They are;

  • Solar panels
  • Inverter/Controller
  • Water pump
  • Accompanying pipes and tubes

There are four main types of solar water pumping systems. They are;

  • DC water pumping system – this system uses DC electric motor.
  • AC water pumping system- this system uses AC electric motor.
  • Surface water pumping system – this pump system is used to pump water from surface water sources. The water pump of this system is installed in a dry place and connects to the water surfaces using pipes. This water pumping system is good to pump water from shallow wells, ponds, etc.
  • Submersible pumping system – this pumping system is used to pump more deep water. The water pump in this system is submerged in the fluid. This pump system can extract fluid from very deep wells. They are used in deep water wells, oil wells, pond filters, irrigation systems, etc.

How does a solar water pumping system work?

When solar panels are exposed to the sunlight they convert the energy of the sunlight to electricity. The output is given as DC voltage.

The electricity generated by the panels can be used directly if it is a DC electric motor. But if it is an AC electric motor the system needs an inverter.

An inverter will convert DC energy to AC.

Then the electric motor will work the water pump.

The pump draws water from any available water source.

A water pumping system often includes a water tank to store water that can be used when sunlight is not available.

Now that you know how solar pumps work, let's examine their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of using solar water pumping system;

There are many advantages of using a solar water pumping system.

  • No need to worry about having power lines – solar water pumping systems do not need any power from a grid connection. It is a standalone system. So you can use a solar water pumping system in rural areas that do not have any power lines or any location you want.
  • Less maintenance
  • No need to worry about electricity bills – with a solar water pumping system you do not have to worry about any operating costs.
  • More environmentally friendly option – this system does not require any fuels or grid power. So this system does not emit any harmful substances to the environment.
  • Easy installation.
  • You can easily modify the system later.

Disadvantages of using solar water pumping system;

  • High initial cost- compared to a conventional water pumping system, solar water pumping systems are expensive. Especially high-quality systems are more expensive.
  • Need good sunlight – this will not be a good investment if the area you want to install the solar water pumping system does not receive good sunlight throughout the year. Even though this system does not receive bright sunlight throughout the day it needs an adequate amount of sunlight.
  • The efficiency of the system varies with the intensity of the sunlight – as the efficiency of a solar panel depends on the sunlight intensity, the output of the system will not remain constant. The reason is the intensity of the sunlight received by the solar panel varies throughout the day and the year according to the location of the sun.

Does the solar water pumping system work during the night or without sunlight?

Yes, you can run a solar water pumping system without sunlight if it has a battery.

But the duration you can run the system without sunlight will depend on the capacity of your battery. So when selecting a battery for your system you should have a good idea about the duration you need to run your pumping system without sunlight.

Does the solar water pumping system work during winter?

Yes, you can run your solar water pumping system even in the winter season.

As long as there is sunlight, you can run your system. The efficiency can be low in the winter season due to the limited daytime.

But the cold temperature during the winter season is good for the solar panels.


Solar water pumping system is worth your attention as it can save both your money and the environment. Some can be reluctant to use this system because of the high initial cost. But it is worth the cost as there are no operating costs. Also, installing this system is cheaper than installing grid power lines in a rural area just to install a water pumping system.

Solar water pumps brought a lot of attention to themselves once again with the recent variations in prices of oil that hit almost everyone. A similar thing happened in the late 70s and 2008 but we did not learn the lesson. As soon as oil prices came down, so did our intent to use more sustainable energy sources.

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