Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Our solar powered well pump

We've had issues with our well pump lately. The valve was malfunctioning and air was getting into the lines, becoming a real pain as it spit at us at the faucets. We knew replacement of the pump was needed and started looking at converting the system to solar to reduce our electric bill. My husband wrote up a very good description of the set up that I wanted to share with you! 

We had a conventional well with 220 pump and pressure tank. I have replaced it with A 100 watt solar panel, Battery, barrels for cistern, A 12V "deep" well pump as well as a 12 volt demand pressure pump. This should provide 300 gallons a day at the lowest light level months.

A brief description of how it works.
Sun powers panel with approx. 3 hours of sun at the worst time of year. This is 300 watts of power or approx. 25 Amp hrs a day.

The low flow deep well pump fills the barrel cisterns at a rate of 2 gallons a min. using about 2 amps an hour. I figure this to run for 3 hours a day for a total of 6 amp hrs.

The house hold demand pump I purchased is a monster... It pumps at 6 gallons a min @40 psi and 5 @ 60. It will use approx 15 amps an hour and run about 1 hour a day for a total of 15 amps.

The battery is from wally world, point of fact is they get great reviews and they are pretty cheap. It's their battery number "95" it's a deep cycle with 122 amp hours. Cost was less than 100 bucks. This battery should easily give 3 days of reserve capacity. Likely better because of the intermittent nature of the power usage.

A quick break down of the costs.

Deep pump, 600
Household pump, 250
100 watt Solar panel kit, 180 (it came with everything to hook up the panel to a battery)
100 feet 12 awg Wire 15 bucks
Cistern float switch 20 bucks
fittings, food grade barrels, tubing, about 100 bucks.
total: $1165


We actually use about 100 gallons a day... The national "average" for a family of 4 is 6000 a month or 200 a day. I figured I'd design it for 50% more. Well I have a "protection" factor of 3. So it should work well.

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