For many of us having a good water source will be one of our most important assets. Depending on where you live, a good well can provide all the clean water that you need. Unfortunately, for many of us, the water table has dropped and wells can be deeper than a good hand pump can reach. Recently I received the following question from a reader, “Our well is 600 feet deep. Do you have any suggestions as to how to access water from that depth in the event of a power outage? We are looking at installing an appropriate sized generator but the generator is only as useful as the amount of fuel available”. Instead of a generator I am going to suggest that they try one of the solar powered well pumps that are currently available.
There are independent solar powered pumps that will pump water from as deep as 850 feet. Now these are not part of a whole house solar system, but can be set up anywhere you have a well. They require no fuel other than the sun and not a whole lot of maintenance. Some of these systems have been around for over thirty years, but are not common knowledge.
I have been talking to my friend Aron who works at Sierra Solar in Grass Valley California. This is a company that specializes in off grid solar, wind and water powered systems. They have an amazing catalog that you can look at on their website. It is located on the right hand side and called the Flare. If you are interested in off grid systems, it is well worth your time to look at it. I have done business with them in the past and have known others who deal with them on a regular basis and have heard nothing but good.
Now they can get hand pumps that can pump water from 300 feet and several types of wind and solar powered well pumps. If your well is fairly shallow, they have some very reasonably priced pumps that can meet your needs.
But today I am going to provide information on the Grundfos Solar Well Pumps. The following is directly copied from their catalog.
“Grundfos SQFlex Solar Submersible Pumps – This versatile, maintenance-free submersible pump can lift up to 525 feet. It can be directly powered by solar or wind or can be run on an inverter, generator, battery, or utility power. Virtually any source of power, 30-300 VDC and 90-240 VAC will run the pump. Manufactured by Grundfos, a world leader in pumping, the SQFlex is maintenance-free and built to last. Seven pump models can deliver from 4.5 gpm at 820 feet to 50 gpm at 20 feet with a one KW solar array or less.
Helical rotor pumps for high heads and centrifugal pumps for lower head applications assure a pump that is efficient for any application. Three of the SQ Flex models are only 3” in diameter, for use in narrow wells. The SQFlex is protected from running dry, overload, or overheating. It will run on solar arrays as small as 129 watts, with operating voltage of over 30 volts. The solar array can be any combination of 3 or more 12 volt nominal or 2 or more 24 volt nominal PV modules in series. Grundfos also has a specially designed Whisper 200 wind generator. The SQFlex features several optional controls that allow you to monitor operating status, power consumption, faults, and dry running. An optional level switch will turn the pump off when the tank is full. There is an available AC back-up that disconnects the solar array when AC power from a generator or grid power is present. A wind interface unit is also available.”
Now the Grundfos Solar Well pumps can be a bit pricey. One that can pump from 850 feet will cost about $5500. But remember you have no running costs and you have water all the time. You don’t have to store fuel or buy a generator for your well. If you use a holding tank, you don’t even need storage batteries. This a simple system to install.
Talk to Aron and they will provide you with everything that you need to convert your well to use solar powered well pumps or other off grid systems..