Solar Irrigation System

Solar Irrigation System for Domestic Use

The solar irrigation system is using solar energy to pump water from the well or other source. It has been found that in dry and sunny regions, it is economical to use solar energy for pumping water from underground wells. The basic components of a solar-energy pump are described below:

A plastic pipe is used as the supply pipe between the pond or bore-well and the distribution points within the farm, thus eliminating direct sunlight on metal pipes. When burying pipes at a depth more than 5 meters below ground level, especially in saline soils, a special material (plastic) should be used to avoid rusting problems associated with metallic piping systems.

Small pumps are mainly used by the farmers who are not having bore-well on their premises. These small pumps serve as a good alternative to diesel pumps when used in conjunction with solar energy.

A solar pumping system consists of the following components:

1) A solar panel (generator)

Payment for the electric power to run these pumps comes from farmers who want their local water supply pumped to a higher elevation or to another place. The water is then transported by hosepipe, bucket, or other means through the fields and gardens of the farm.

These systems are widely used in Japan, China, India, and France. However, they have not been very widespread in other countries because they tend to be expensive options for individual farms.

This equipment is relatively inexpensive compared with conventional diesel pumping set-ups that require an engine pump, battery set-up, and electrical distribution system within the well itself. Thus many rural communities are using this method which can be functional on small sites where no electricity is available.

The solar panel alone is ineffective in energy conversion. It needs further systems to collect and store the solar energy into a useful form of power such as electricity or heat for use in agricultural and domestic applications. The main components of a solar pumping system consist of:

In order to operate these systems, it is necessary for the farmer’s pump to be connected with a storage tank. The water can then be pumped up by day when sunlight is available, stored, and used at night or during cloudy weather periods. This avoids drawing down ground supplies of water which may reduce their level below that of pumps in nearby fields.

The total number of panels required will depend on factors such as location, orientation, type and size of the panel being used, etc., and the power required for the system. These are major factors in determining the cost of a solar-powered pumping system.

The efficiency of photovoltaic cells depends on two main parameters: light intensity and temperature. Higher temperatures increase resistance inside cells, reducing power output per cell by about 0.5% for every 10 °C increase in temperature above 25 °C; while light intensity has an inverse effect on efficiency, causing a loss of approximately 2% for every decrease in illuminance from 1000 W/m² to 500 W/m². A thermo-electric cooler or heat sink can be used to overcome these problems depending upon the requirement and feasibility of each case.

2) Charge controller:

It is connected between the solar panel and the battery. It controls the charging process by disconnecting the power supply when the desired voltage level has been reached on the battery. This ensures that batteries get fully charged without getting overcharged, thus extending their life.

3) Battery bank:

In absence of electricity, a number of lead-acid batteries may be needed to store enough energy for use at night or during cloudy weather periods. Lead-acid deep cycle batteries are widely used in solar pumping systems but other types such as NiCd, alkaline, etc., are also usable depending upon the requirement and feasibility of each case. Deep cycle means that such cells can be discharged more than 80% before they will need to be replaced.

4) Switching System:

It is a system that can be used to switch lamps, fans, and other electrical devices. A typical AC solar pumping system consists of the following components: Solar Panel (photovoltaic module), a Charge controller, a Battery bank, a Switching system, and a Water pump.

Pumping water from underground for irrigation purposes is often impractical when groundwater levels are too low to provide useful quantities of water. The most cost-effective way to raise the level of groundwater is by using pumps in order to lift it above ground level where gravity will then allow it to flow into farm fields where it can help irrigate crops. When the monthly average rainfall in an area is less than 100 mm per month, groundwater may be all that is available to irrigate crops but the depth of the groundwater table and its tendency to dry up during periods of drought means that it is unlikely to be usable without a pumping system.

In most small-scale irrigation systems water is pumped directly from rivers or streams. In order to make use of groundwater instead, a solar-powered pump may be required in areas where electricity or diesel are not readily available. Solar pumps do not require power lines so they can be used in remote areas where such facilities are lacking as well as potentially saving money by cutting the cost of wiring new connections.

The total number of panels and batteries needed will depend on factors such as location, orientation, type and size of the panel being used, etc., and the power required for the system. These are major factors in determining the cost of a solar-powered pumping system.

Solar panels:

The efficiency of photovoltaic cells depends on two main parameters: light intensity and temperature. Higher temperatures increase resistance inside cells, reducing power output per cell by about 0.5% for every 10 °C increase in temperature above 25 °C; while light intensity has an inverse effect on efficiency, causing a loss of approximately 2% for every decrease in illuminance from 1000 W/m² to 500 W/m².

The most commonly used solar panels are made of polycrystalline silicon, often abbreviated as “polysilicon”. They provide good efficiency in small sizes (less than 20 cm per side). It is much less expensive than newer technologies such as monocrystalline and thin-film solar cells. Newer technology has enhanced performance but they have yet to reach parity with traditional solar cells. The price of these new types of solar cells has fallen faster than those who manufacture them had anticipated due to strong demand for hybrid-electric vehicles and other consumer products using them.

Other types include amorphous silicon panels, cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium diselenide, copper indium selenide, CIGS (copper indium gallium (di)selenide), Copper Indium Diselenide(CIS), and Copper indium germanium.

Modules of solar panels may only be available in monocrystalline silicon or polycrystalline silicon; other types of cells are typically sold as arrays on a backing plate. Large scale panel assemblies are usually mounted at an incline facing the sun’s position in order to maximize power output by tracking the sun using small motors and gears. Such mounting systems can often be designed specifically for each site so that cost savings from mass production can still be achieved while not having any moving parts subject to wear and requiring maintenance.

Sizing solar panels requires a great deal of research, time, and effort as the parameters involved will depend on the location, climate, orientation, etc., so incorrect sizing may result in poor system performance or even non-functionality. When sizing solar panels one must be aware that the efficiency of photovoltaic cells depends not only on light intensity but also temperature; higher temperatures decrease their efficiency by about 0.5% for every 10 °C increase over 25 °C while increased illuminance increases it by 2 percent for every W/m² added above 1000 W/m²(designated as 1 sun). Solar panel manufacturers usually provide data sheets outlining typical values under various conditions such as illumination level , temperature, and panel orientation.


The most common battery used with solar-powered pumping is the lead-acid battery, which functions well across a wide range of climates and is relatively cheap, but has poor performance compared to other types. Other batteries that may be suitable include nickel-cadmium, lithium-ion polymer(Li-ion plastic), and nickel-metal hydride(NiMH). Typically only one or two batteries are needed, depending on their capacity, to allow the system to continue operating at night after the sun goes down.

If multiple batteries are being used they should be wired in series so that charging occurs sequentially from one battery to another as opposed to parallel wiring where charging will occur simultaneously from all of them at once. (Parallel wiring is often used to provide better amperage when large pumps or other loads are being hooked up.)


The most common type of pump in a small-scale solar irrigation system is an axial flow pump, which has the advantage of providing even pressure distribution along its length and will run properly even when there are air gaps in the lines. A submersible pump may also be employed but that would require the water level to be sufficient enough for submergence. Other types of pumps include centrifugal pumps which will usually not work with a solar-powered system; they are mainly suited for conveyance purposes such as moving grain from one place to another so they can be used on gravity-fed systems but not vacuum systems. Solar irrigation pumps may be used to directly water the plants or sent through a drip irrigation system.

The most common application for solar pumping is to increase the efficiency of an existing low-flow or micro-irrigation system where higher pressures and larger lines can be economically justified compared to the investment in a solar array; it also allows water to be raised higher which means that more land can then be irrigated with gravity feed systems without the need to install pumps at lower elevations (when they would incur high energy costs).

Also some applications require that roots be kept continually moist so that they do not dry out and wither; the most common way of doing this is through the use of drip irrigation where water is distributed evenly over a given area through tubes with emitters located every few meters; this system can only work when there is sufficient pressure at all times but it takes less energy for the same amount water as compared to spray or sprinkler methods and thus (if using electricity) would result in lower costs.

Another application for solar-powered pumps is to reclaim waste or polluted water by pumping it back into the ground; this is usually done through a closed-loop water system where water usage can be tightly monitored. Seawater and brackish groundwater are commonly used in deserts for irrigation purposes because evaporation will result in higher salinity levels. A potential problem with using seawater for agricultural purposes is that there may be excessive calcium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate from the dissolving of limestone which will reduce soil fertility due to poor exchange capacity and thus only low concentrations should be used (sand filtration can help solve this issue).

An advanced method of micro-irrigation called pressurized drip irrigation was developed at the Agricultural Research Service’s Western Regional Research Center as part of an effort to improve water productivity in arid land areas and to conserve water, fertilizer, and energy.

Most solar-powered water pumps are designed with high-efficiency PV panels which can deliver power more efficiently than most other forms of renewable energy like wind or hydro, however, they usually cost more too. In some places it is possible to use solar energy to save water (and money) by using a panel that moves in the sun and sends the power back through cables in a closed-loop system; this means that you don’t need batteries or inverters but you do need a large amount of free space which is often hard to find in urban areas, but not all countries have this rule.

Energy Use And CO2 Emissions

Compared with electricity generated by fossil fuels, a PV-powered water supply system will reduce both direct greenhouse gas emissions as well as those resulting from the production and distribution of fuel for conventional power plants.

Since the amount of electric power used by these pumps can vary greatly depending on local climate, shading, and seasonal variations, a PV-powered pumping system can be less efficient than one powered by conventional fuels.

Most solar energy water pumps can only be used in certain areas because they require sunlight; water quality must also be good enough to meet drinking standards but not perfect or you risk having bacteria grow inside the pipes which could be cleaned if you were relying on this pump solely for drinking water purposes but if you are just using your solar panel safely for other things then the cost savings may make this worth it anyway. Some countries will not allow you to use solar energy-powered equipment for drinking water except in emergency situations.

In some areas, you will need a large amount of space for your panels as well, and if you live in an urban area this may not be possible but the size needed depends on how much water you want to pump.

A lot of people say that it is best used on private land because you can install the wires higher up (for example on top of a fence) where they are less likely to be damaged by animals or climate change affecting your wires; this also means that it will cost less since you don’t have to bury them.

In order for your water supply to remain healthy and safe from bacteria growth then nothing should touch the pipes which means no animals need to cross over them; the pipes should also be raised above the ground so that they are harder for people to step on or bury items in.

The solar panels used for this do not have moving parts which mean that they require little maintenance, and because of their function as irrigation equipment you will have to clean your pump every year; if you live in an area where the weather is harsh on materials you may want to make sure that your panel is made from high-quality materials like tempered glass since most pumps come with a warranty.

This method uses solar energy to power electric water pumps. Water is pumped from ponds, wells, or boreholes into storage tanks. The advantages include:

Solar-powered electric pumps are also generally quieter than diesel or gasoline-powered pumps, usually because they have fewer moving parts. However, this is not universally true – some solar-powered water pumping systems are very noisy due to the need for high pressure to move water along long distances from a borehole in remote locations where no other power sources are available.

In arid regions of the world – especially Africa and parts of Asia-solar water pumping can reduce reliance on fossil fuels, conserving natural resources and halving the cost of pumping compared to diesel or petrol generators which suffer from frequent fuel shortages. In addition, solar-powered irrigation frees up time that would otherwise be spent collecting firewood for cooking and heating homes (and thus cuts down on deforestation).

Solar-powered water pumps are designed for rural applications – areas where electricity is unavailable to many people. In addition, solar-powered pumping offers a more sustainable way of irrigating crops and watering livestock than diesel or petrol pump-sets which typically use fossil fuels from nonrenewable sources which increase atmospheric pollution and greenhouse gas emissions; contribute to the harmful Greenhouse Effect; cause global warming, local air pollution, and acid rain; contaminate groundwater supplies with toxic residues that seep into borehole water supply systems; require expensive and complex maintenance – some pump sets may fail on average after only one season whereas solar panels can last 25 years, and are more prone to break down when not used regularly.

In fact, most diesel or petrol pump sets are purpose-built to pump water at high pressures for long distances whereas solar pumps can be installed in more remote locations and lower altitudes.

Two types of solar pumping technology are available: passive systems where the panels are fixed in position; active systems where the panels rotate and track the sun allowing them to generate up to 50% more electricity (than non-tracking panels). In addition, tracking panels are usually fitted with a Motion sensor and pump controller so that they work automatically as dusk approaches.

Most rural people do not have access to piped town water supplies – many live beyond road access so their only supply is from wells or shallow hand-dug ponds. This means they also need inexpensive tools like handpumps which make it easier to withdraw water from these sources. Solar-powered water pumps are used in areas of low or no electricity where the major challenge is pumping water from remote boreholes or streams into storage tanks above ground so that it can be accessed via handpumps and rainfall harvesting systems.

Solar-powered water pumps are usually installed on concrete pedestals, which make them easier to clean then those mounted on poles – this increases the lifespan of the pump. In addition, if you live in a cold region with heavy snowfall – like North America – you can also employ solar panel covers known as Snow Shield (a vinyl sheeting product sold by commercial solar panel manufacturers) because your panels will last longer and work better when they are protected against ice build-up and damaging heat.

In areas where solar pumping is available, diesel or petrol generators are sold second-hand at a fraction of their original cost – this means that they then become affordable to rural residents who previously could not afford running costs and maintenance. In addition, you can employ the generator as backup in case your solar panel array becomes damaged or there is no sun for several consecutive days.

The benefits of using a water pump powered by a photovoltaic (PV) array include:

Half the cost of purchasing fossil fuels and powering up generators; less need for expensive fuel delivery systems because these pumps require very little electricity (in comparison to drawing water from deep boreholes with handpumps); easier to install and maintain; and no expensive spare parts to keep on hand. This can also be used for irrigation, water pumping, washing cars, or watering livestock.

This is usually employed in remote areas where you need electricity – like Africa – to power radios so that farmers can quickly receive weather reports and crop prices from the nearest market town.

In areas where the grid has not been extended, you can deal with this power shortage in a number of ways which include: using generators to produce electricity; investing in more efficient solar panels (capturing maximum sunlight by tracking them towards the sun during daylight hours); buying rechargeable batteries for your solar system; and employing solar-powered lanterns and LED lights (which are now available on the market). However, if you are considering this last option, check product reviews first because some LED bulbs.

The notion that battery storage makes solar systems more reliable is counterintuitive, as it implies that you have excess capacity when there’s no sunshine. In reality, when you have a good solar system, you rarely need storage because the capacity of your array should be such that it covers your usage needs most of the time.

Finally, here’s a way to make sure that your batteries don’t sit idle for months at a time: install a smart energy monitor (a device that measures actual power consumption and sends an alert if usage exceeds expectations). This is particularly useful in regions where there are more sunny days than rainy ones; so that farmers know when they need to irrigate their fields or use water pumps during dry spells. In addition, this can also be used for irrigation purposes as well as monitoring factory activities – like making sure that oil refineries do not use too much electricity when pumping crude oil into large tanks.