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Thread: Question on moving water uphill with solar well pump

  1. #1
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    Default Question on moving water uphill with solar well pump

    Hi all, Not sure if this is the right forum for this question but I'm trying to figure out what the correct way to move water from a shallow well in a ravine up 100ft in elevation and around 700ft in run. I want to use it to fill a stock tank for the animals, irrigating a small garden and to fill up and keep topped off an underground cistern that can later be filtered and used for water for a cabin.

    There's no electricity within 1/2 mile of there so running it in is not an option for me, also my plan is for this homestead to be completely off grid. I'm thinking i only have two options. The first is build a solar array at the cabin and then run a cable (along side the water line) down to a conventional pump at the well. The other option is get a solar well pump and see if that would work. I know nothing of solar well pumps.

    I only know a little about running wire those kinds of distances. If i figure out what a standard well pump would use in current and the run I come up with crazy heavy gage wire that I'd imagine would cost more than the price of a solar pump that runs directly off the panels unless I'm figuring something out wrong? Like most ravines, this one is full of trees so I know I'd get a lot more sun up at the cabin than down in the ravine so if there is a way of running cable from the cabin down it would make more sense in that i can just build one larger array and tie the well pump into it.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    2nd Law: In a closed system, the entropy of the system will either remain constant or increase

  2. #2
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    Not a big help from me unless you wanna use a generator to run a pump. That being said, have you thought about running rain water collection from a cabin or shed to the cistern.
    Common sense is so uncommon nowadays it ought to be reclassified as a super power

  3. #3
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    First question comes to mind, how deep is the well? How deep and narrow s the ravine? What orientation is the ravine, E-W or N-S? What about putting the array in between the house and ravine?
    Greater love hath no man than this, That a man lay down his life for a friend.
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  4. #4
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    700 feet is a very long electric run even for AC. Not very practical. A solar submersible pump would work but I imagine you have a small well casing (smaller than 4"). Would relocating the well be at all practical?

  5. #5
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    Hi guys, No, it will be a dug shallow well. Probably 10' deep using concrete water tiles so a submersible pump is no problem at all.

    Around here our water if very hit/miss. Most areas have almost no water until 300' then it's only 1-2gal a minute. So wells are usually in the $15K range. On my place i have a ravine along the northern boarder (runs east-west) that has natural surface water. There's springs in two seperate places and my neighbor has a spring flowing tons of water. The cabin will be south of the ravine (pretty much right up against it) but due to the 100' elevation change I need 700' to run the road down along the side of the ravine to the well to get the backhoe and truck down there.

    I can't really put the array on the hill as it's a north facing hill and will get no sun. Either it's up on the flats by the cabin or down on the south facing side of the ravine so it at least gets some sun. (like most places around here the north facing sides are full of pines and the south facing are pretty bare.
    2nd Law: In a closed system, the entropy of the system will either remain constant or increase

  6. #6
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    You can put together a diaphragm solar rig for about $2500. Not the best pump, but with 2 panels, 100' lift will provide about 1.5 gpm.
    Once on safari in deepest darkest Afganistan we ran out of Gin, and were compelled to survive on food and water for several days.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KINGCHIP View Post
    You can put together a diaphragm solar rig for about $2500. Not the best pump, but with 2 panels, 100' lift will provide about 1.5 gpm.
    That's a diaphragm solar rig? I looked up solar deep well pumps which seem to be around the same price for a full kit but is there a better way?
    2nd Law: In a closed system, the entropy of the system will either remain constant or increase

  8. #8
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    Seems like a solar powered pump should work pretty well. But they can be expensive. http://www.solar-electric.com/wind-a...pu/grsqpu.html or possibly http://www.solar-electric.com/wind-a...3susowapu.html

    You really wouldn't need a large solar array. Just one 24 volt 230 Watt Panel would be more than adequate. Figure $200 for the Panel, $200 for a MPPT solar controller, and $100 in materials to make a mount and get it all wired up. No battery needed. The pump only works when the sun hits the panel, but even just 4 hours of light should net you well over 500 gallons per day. So if you can design the system to place everything at the water source. Then pump the water up to a reservoir that you can use for whatever you need. A float switch prevent over pumping. Preferably take the battery out of the equation and you solve a ton of future issues with solar as batteries are always the expensive weak link when it comes to off grid power, just make a large enough reservoir so that you have the stored capacity you need/want.

    Also if you're in an area with good wind don't discount the old fashioned windmills you see all over Texas, they work surprisingly well.
    Last edited by Tdale; 09-10-2015 at 11:30 AM.
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tdale View Post
    Seems like a solar powered pump should work pretty well. But they can be expensive. http://www.solar-electric.com/wind-a...pu/grsqpu.html or possibly http://www.solar-electric.com/wind-a...3susowapu.html

    You really wouldn't need a large solar array. Just one 24 volt 230 Watt Panel would be more than adequate. Figure $200 for the Panel, $200 for a MPPT solar controller, and $100 in materials to make a mount and get it all wired up. No battery needed. The pump only works when the sun hits the panel, but even just 2 hours of light should net you well over 500 gallons per day. So if you can design the system to place everything at the water source. Then pump the water up to a reservoir that you can use for whatever you need. A float switch prevent over pumping. Preferably take the battery out of the equation and you solve a ton of future issues with solar as batteries are always the expensive weak link when it comes to off grid power, just make a large enough reservoir so that you have the stored capacity you need want.

    Also if you're in an area with good wind don't discount the old fashioned windmills you see all over Texas, they work surprisingly well.
    I was surprised how inexpensive an actual aero motor windmill actually is.
    Common sense is so uncommon nowadays it ought to be reclassified as a super power

  10. #10
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    EMP proof too lol
    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

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