In the U.S., solar water pumps are mainly used for livestock (aside from use as solar pool pumps). In remote areas, solar water pumps can also be used for irrigation or to provide villages with water supply, much like in many African countries.
Advantages of Solar Water Pumps
The advantages of a solar water pump are that the installation is easy and little maintenance is required after installation. Furthermore, there are no fuel costs and a solar water pump can operate independently without human attendance. Capital costs might be high, but the long life of a solar water pump (at least 20 years) balances out the initial investment.
The Technology of Solar Water Pumps
A solar water pump is made up of a number of components. For example, a photovoltaic array converts solar energy directly into electricity as DC. A solar water pump also has an electric motor to drive it. The specific characteristics of these components should be matched to the chosen solar water pump to obtain the best performance. The solar water pump motor unit will have its own optimum speed and load depending on the type and size of the solar water pump.
It is important to get the most efficient pump available as the difference in cost between the poor solar water pump and a very efficient solar water pump is much less that the additional cost required for a larger PV panel. Accurate sizing of the array is important in keeping costs to a minimum.