How Do Solar-Powered Water Pumps Work?


Quick Answer

Solar powered water pumps convert solar energy from the sun into electricity to run water circulating pumps. Surface pumps move water from bodies of water through pipes above ground. Submersible pumps bring water up from underground wells to the surface. Both utilize solar panels placed above ground.

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Full Answer

Cells on a solar panel are covered in a semiconductor material that converts the sun's energy into direct-current electricity. DC currents travel through wires to power the water pump which moves water. Some solar water pumps also have a battery that is charged with solar power during the day so the pump can be run at night. Solar panels generally work best when placed somewhere sunny and preferably facing south.

Solar powered water pumps can be used to run swimming pools, fountains and carry out agricultural projects. Solar powered water pumps are especially useful in areas where water sources are far away, fuel costs are high or electricity is lacking. Livestock watering is the most common use of solar powered water pumps, according to Home Power Magazine. Solar pumps can be used year-round in temperate regions. Pumps powered with solar energy tend to move smaller amounts of water over a longer period of time than conventional AC powered pumps.

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