5 Disadvantages of Solar Water Pumping Systems

Solar pumps help us to pump out water that is used for various reasons. One of its main features is that it is eco-friendly, however, there are various disadvantages of solar water pumping systems.

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JAN23disadvantages of solar water pumping systems
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A solar water pump system is still a fairly new idea. The mechanics, though, are very identical to those of all other water pumping systems. It is based on the fundamental idea of positive displacement and the transfer of kinetic energy, which is how water is moved from one location to another. Like every other mechanical system, it requires energy to function. There are various types of solar water pump, each having its own pros and cons. So, let us learn the disadvantages of solar water pumping systems and other facts related to them.

What is Solar Water Pump? 

The PV (photovoltaic) panels’ electricity or the radiant heat produced by the sun’s heat collection power solar water pumps. A water pump powered by grid energy or diesel is the opposite of this. Solar energy is used to operate the solar-powered pump. It is made up of a solar charge controller (MPPT), a solar panel array, electrical connections, a breaker/fuse box, a DC water pump, and a water storage tank. Operating a water pump driven by solar energy is more effective. These pumps are inexpensive to install and maintain. Compared to pumps driven by IC engines or grid energy, solar pumps have a smaller environmental impact. The solar-powered pump is a wonderful technological advancement that may provide isolated locations with water in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. As a result, it is always the preferred economic technology. However, there are several disadvantages of solar water pumping systems.

What are the Disadvantages of Solar Water Pumping Systems?

JAN23disadvantages of solar water pumping systems

Although solar water pumps are eco-friendly to use, there are various disadvantages of them, in terms of technology as well as usage. The various disadvantages of solar water pumping systems are:

  1. The capital expenses of solar water pumping systems are often greater than those of comparable diesel alternatives. The cost of systems is, however, currently declining.
  2. Most applications require higher water storage than required by comparable diesel systems.
  3. Risk of panel theft since they are still seen as valuable goods in some places.
  4. Such systems are very dependent on solar radiation.
  5. Usually, the capital level is the only level where spare parts and skilled technicians are available.

What are Advantages of Solar Water Pump?

The advantages of solar water pumps are as follows-

  1. They have very low operating costs.
  2. They are comparatively low maintenance.
  3. Such pumps are very reliable but simple.
  4. These pumps are financially beneficial.
  5. They are also environmentally friendly.

Also See: 5 Major Agrivoltaics Disadvantages

What are the Components of Solar Water Pumping Systems?

There are three components of solar water pumping systems:

1. Pump

This is the solar water pumping system’s brain and heart. The pump generates a distinct combination of flow and pressure for a given power input. When properly maintained, these pumps can provide service for more than 15 years. Here is a list of points depicting the operational flow of solar water pumps:

  • A number of solar modules are connected in parallel or series in each solar array. By converting solar radiation into electrical energy, every solar PV panel produces current.
  • The built-in controller in DC pumps or through the Variable Frequency Driver (VFD) directs, tunes, and controls the electrical energy from the entire array, allowing the associated pump (which may be submersible or surface) to pull water and feed the delivery pipelines.
  • By using a solar water pump, water is thus extracted from bore wells, ponds, or other sources and pumped to supply lines as needed. It can be kept in tanks and then directed to the fields, or the supply from the pump can be connected to drip irrigation systems to deliver the best water to the fields right away.

2. Controller

A little gadget that is positioned in between the pump and the panels enables the pump to turn on when it becomes dark outside. The controller serves two purposes. First, it balances the input power from the solar panels with the output power that the pump receives. Second, a controller typically has a low-voltage protection feature that turns the system off if the voltage is either too low or too high for the pump’s operational voltage range. This lengthens the pump’s lifespan and decreases the need for maintenance.

Direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC) voltage options are available for the solar pump motors. Direct current motors are utilized for small to medium applications with a power rating of up to roughly 3 kW, and they are appropriate for uses like garden fountains, landscaping, animal drinking water systems, and small irrigation projects. Since smaller solar panels can be utilized, the cost is decreased because DC systems often have higher overall efficiency than AC pumps of the same size.

When using a solar pump that runs on alternating current, an inverter is required to convert the direct current generated by the solar panels into the alternating current needed by the pump. Larger systems can use inverters, which have a supported power range of 0.15 to 55 kW. However, in order to meet the current drawing capacity of an AC motor, the panel and inverters must be sized appropriately.

3. Solar Panels

The capacity of photovoltaic (PV) panels as a power source is measured in watts. To create a specific amount of fluid, a pump will need a certain amount of power of pressure and flow rates. Pump operation can be done at a reasonable cost by utilizing a PV array of the right size. When wiring the panel directly to the pump, the majority of solar pumps actually need roughly 20% more watts than is supplied. Additionally, a larger panel will enable the pump to operate in comparatively lower light settings and at earlier and later times of the day.

Nearly 80% of the cost of the system is made up of solar panels. The size of the pump, the amount of water needed (m3/d), and the amount of solar radiation available all have a direct impact on the size of the PV system.

Also Read: What is Floating Solar Power Plant?

What are Types of Solar Water Pump?

JAN23disadvantages of solar water pumping systemsAfter learning about the components of solar water pumping systems, let’s learn about the various types of solar water pumps-

1. Submersible Solar pumps: A submersible pump can be installed in huge wells and can lift water up to 650 feet. These types of solar water pump work directly to switch off batteries, solar panels, and, in certain situations, electricity, as long as the well water is more than 20 feet above the ground. When the sun is out, the pump runs continuously, pumping water that is then stored in tanks for later use. Inclement weather prevents the sun from shining, which makes it impossible to pump water. As a result, it’s best to only store water in favorable weather conditions. These types of solar water pump are typically utilized in undrilled, deep water. These types of solar water pump are also used for good pumping, irrigation, pressurization, pond aeration, residential water systems, and livestock watering. 50m is the highest recommended pump depth.

2. Surface Solar pumps: These types of solar water pump are used in ponds, shallow wells, storage tanks, and streams. We use a surface solar water pump when the depth of the well’s water supply is 20 feet or less from the ground. In general, these pumps are only able to pump water up to 200 feet or more from deep wells. These pumps have little trouble lifting water from up to 20 meters in depth.

3. AC Solar Pumps: Alternating current is employed by the electric motor in this type of pump. The direct current generated by the switchboard is changed into an alternating current with the aid of an inverter. Power interruptions during production and consumption may result from this conversion.

4. DC Solar Pumps: A DC electric motor powers this pump. Therefore, this pump does not need a battery or an inverter.

Also See: 4 Advantages Of Solar Water Heater

What is Working of Solar Water Pump? What is Solar Water Pump Working Principle?

The power produced by a solar PV (photovoltaic) system power the system. Solar energy is converted into electricity by the photovoltaic array, which powers the motor pump system. Water is pumped by the pumping system from open wells, bore wells, streams, ponds, canals, etc. The system needs a place where the solar panel may be installed without any shadows.

The photovoltaic principle is the foundation of how a solar pump operates. PV (photovoltaic) systems capture radiant solar energy and convert it into electricity when a solar pump is operating. The entire system received an electricity supply as a result of this. The PV system’s output of direct current is changed into alternating current by the pump’s inverter, which powers the pump. To achieve the highest power point tracking, these inverters also modify the output frequency and voltage in real-time in accordance with variations in the sunlight intensity. The water lifting system realizes the function of switching the municipal electricity that serves as auxiliary energy for the water lifting system as the sunlight’s intensity declines. Even with all these pros, there are several drawbacks or disadvantages of solar water pumping systems.

Which Motor is Used in Solar Water Pump?

In comparison to AC pumps, BLDC motor-pump has a higher efficiency, which results in a higher water flow for the same capacity of solar panels. The most typical output power for agricultural applications is 5 HP/3.7 kW. powered by solar (Green Energy). The induction motor has been replaced by a BLDC motor built on a NdFeB magnet. Still, there are also disadvantages of solar water pumping systems, such as this motor which is quite expensive.

Also See: 5 Major Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroelectric Energy

What are the Three Main Elements of a Pumping System?

The three main elements of a pumping system are-

1. Housing: The pump’s exterior shell, or housing or casing, shields the majority of its parts from the environment. The material used for the pump’s casing should be able to survive the environmental conditions of the application (for example, submersible pumps should be corrosion- and water-resistant).

2. Impeller: A rotating disc attached to a shaft by a set of vanes. The fluid gives the energy to provide flow when the impeller rotates. Depending on the design of the impeller, the pump’s flow characteristics might vary greatly.

3. Motor: The pump’s motor, which powers the shaft, is its power source. The most typical power sources for pumps are AC and DC motors, but other options include internal combustion engines (ICEs), hydraulic power, and steam power.

Also Read: Hydrogen Energy Advantages and Disadvantages

Is Solar Pump AC or DC?

Solar pumps are available as both AC and DC. A DC solar pump gives maximum output with fewer solar panels and is very efficient. On the other hand, an AC solar pump requires more solar panels because electricity needs to be converted into AC for utilization.

How Much Can a Solar-Pump Pump?

Solar pumps are of two types: submersible and above-ground. These pumps can provide an average flow of 4 to 10 gallons of water per minute in any body of water. Additionally, these pumps don’t even consume much power.

These kinds of pumps are typically used in places with electricity problems. You won’t have a reliable power supply if you don’t. This technique of water withdrawal for green energy is ideal because it combines the benefits of dependability, affordability, and environmental protection. The controller, electric motor or battery, water pump, and solar panels are the key components of the block diagram for the solar-powered water pump (PV).

Recommended: 5 Rooftop Solar Panels Benefits

Olivia is committed to green energy and works to help ensure our planet's long-term habitability. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and avoiding single-use plastic.

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