What is a photovoltaic solar pumping system?

Photovoltaic water pumping systems convert solar energy into electrical energy to power the water pump. Solar water pumping technology can be considered a promising alternative to electricity, diesel, or gasoline-based pumping systems as they are cost-effective and environment friendly.

Solar pumping systems make it possible to collect water from a source (river, basin, well …) even if no energy source is present on the site. Often used to provide drinking water, irrigation or to fill reservoirs, these systems allow access to water in the most remote areas.


How does it work?

Photovoltaic water pumping systems convert solar radiation into electricity via PV panels with the mission to power the electric pumps. The electrical energy produced by the PV modules is used to supply DC motors or to be converted into alternating current by the inverter. Depending on the installation, it is possible to store energy in batteries. However, it is not always necessary to store the energy produced because the installation of a reservoir at the pump outlet makes it possible to store water and thus obtain a usable reserve even without the sun. Another option is the thermodynamic conversion which converts solar energy into mechanical energy to run the solar pump.


Main advantages of installing a solar pumping system

PV systems can be used not only for irrigation but as well for supplying drinking water, water purification, and desalination. Access to safe water is essential and, certain regions of the developing countries in the world, do not have always this privilege. Besides, many rural communities are not connected to a centralized system for supply drinking water. In these cases, solar PV water pumping technology could be an appropriate option.

“As the community expands, solar hand pumping may not be sufficient even if the capacity is large enough. Fuel is expensive to obtain and normally the quality of fuel is poor due to adulteration, which leads to shorter maintenance periods”. (Photovoltaic Solar Energy Generation, Adolf Goetzberger, Volker Uwe).

  • PV water pumping systems have long-term lower costs when compared to diesel or gasoline-based pumping systems.
  • They are reliable and low maintenance as they don’t require an attendant to be present during operations.
  • No energy storage is needed as the water can be stored by itself.
  • High modularity, photovoltaic water pumping systems can adapt to the eventual needs of growth.
  • Environment friendly, PV water pumping technology does not cause air, water, or noise pollution.
  • archelios™ Pro, the PV design solution

    archelios™ Pro is a powerful, innovative, and easy-to-use PV software for feasibility and bankability study, simulation, 3D design, and sizing of any photovoltaic project.

    In its current version, the software allows the user to size the PV array and the water storage to fulfill the water needs. In addition, it will be possible to obtain a detailed simulation, based on the PV system details, pump characteristics, and storage size indicated by the user.


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