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 solar water pump 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, 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.
Classification and types of solar pumps
When it comes to stand-alone solar pumping systems, the main types include rotating and positive displacement pumps or hybrid solar pump. Centrifugal pumps are the common choice for rotation and are designed for fixed head applications. Their output increases in proportion to their speed of rotation.
Additionally, pumps are also classified as submersible and surface pumps, based on their placement (underwater and above the waterline).
All in all, the main aspect related to the efficiency of a solar water pump is based on three variables including pressure, flow and input power to the pump. Wire-to-water efficiency is the commonly used metric that determines the overall efficiency of a solar water pump (as the ratio between the hydraulic energy that comes out of the pipe and the energy coming over the electrical wires through solar panels).