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Mechanical pumps have a lot of uses nowadays. They are common in pumping water from wells, aquarium filtering, pond filtering and aeration. When it comes to water pumps, the main use of this device is the exchange of fluids such as water.
From agriculture to the energy industry, pumps are found in a wide range of applications. The main working principle of a water pump basically depends upon the positive displacement principle and kinetic energy which helps pushing the water.
Solar water pumps are a relatively new concept in mechanics. A Solar Water Pump system is commonly seen in residential and commercial uses, as well as for irrigation of agricultural land. Through solar panels, the pump can eliminate the cost of energy and provide a more feasible option that uses energy from the sun (and not fuel-burning mechanisms) for pumping water.
Introducing solar-powered irrigation for poor and remote areas
In times when the entire world is switching to solar, using the sun’s energy in water pumping systems can significantly help and accelerate the development of agriculture in African countries and many other poor remote areas. This concept is known as solar-powered irrigation and is used in many regions nowadays.
The truth is, solar energy might be the easiest way for farmers to produce energy, especially for those living off the electricity grids with poor infrastructure around their homes. Therefore, the use of DC Solar Water Pumps in agriculture is becoming increasingly popular. The concept of solar irrigation represents a virtuous circle—when the sun shines, it feeds the irrigation system and feeds the crops which are dependant on water in sunny weather. Therefore, a large quantity of energy is being released right at the time when it is needed the most.
Solar irrigation is a concept that works through solar water pumps. Below, we are describing them in detail.
What is a solar water pump and what are the most popular types?
As we discussed before, solar pumps present a clean, simple and energy-efficient alternative to traditional electric and fuel-driven pump sets. They are part of an environmentally friendly approach in agriculture and can be used to exploit every region, whether its developed or poor.
Due to their immense potential for productive use and agricultural productivity, Submersible Solar Water Pumps are now powering more and more agriculture projects. Knowing that 40% of the global population relies on agriculture as its main source of income, access to water remains an ongoing struggle for many people. This is what solar aims to change and introduce a cost-effective future for around 500 million small-scale farmers all around the world.
The main components in a solar pumping system include a photovoltaic (PV) array, an electric motor and a pump. Solar water pumping systems, on the other hand, are classified as either direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC) systems based on their motor’s ability. Recently, the concept of brushless DC (BLDC) motors for solar pumping water applications was presented as well.
Advantages of solar water pumps
The first advantage of solar pumps is that they are reliable in regional and remote areas. A perfect example of this is Africa, which is one of the poorest remote regions in the world with an abundance of water—but also the most dominant region when it comes to most days of sun in the year. On the flip side, Africa is thought to possess 9% of the world’s freshwater resources which translates to around 4,000 km3 of water per year. Deploying Surface Solar Water Pumps in Africa is, therefore, the perfect alternative to any other fuel-based sources—and an alternative which can stimulate life in every part of this continent.
Easy to transport and relocate, solar water pumps can be organized as per the needs of the farm and have extremely low operating costs. Both of these are major advantages, paired with their cost-efficiency in the long run, show that a solar water pumping system is the perfect solution for regions with sunny days and plenty of water on their grounds.
Are solar water pumps worth the investment?
One important thing to note when it comes to solar pumps and irrigation systems is the fact that their costs have dropped significantly in the past few years. According to new research from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), there will be a 59% cost reduction for electricity generated by solar PV by 2025 compared to the 2015 prices.
As such, the economic viability of these systems varies for different regions and areas, mostly depending on site conditions, crops and markets. An infographic from The World Bank shows that in 1997, the average price of deploying solar energy per watt was $76. In 2015, that price was $0.3 which clearly showcases the drop in prices. Now, a solar panel has an average lifespan of 25 years and compared to diesel pumping, it lacks any fuel and presents less operation and maintenance. The only disadvantage is its initial cost which is around two times higher compared to diesel water pumping systems.
Price is also a key differentiator when it comes to returns on investment (ROI). The key aspect that determines the economic viability (the factor associated with the worth of Irrigation Solar Water Pumps as an investment) is how the solar-powered systems compared with other forms of energy.