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  #1  
Old 04-01-2015, 03:58 PM
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Default Solar Powered Well Pump

We had a well dug last fall- 350 ft deep, so hand pumping ain't gunna cut it. While we have easy access to grid power, I'm reluctant to rely on the grid for so vital a need as water supply.

What I'd like to do is install a PV array directly to a DC pump that would keep a cistern full, the cistern buried to a depth below the 40in freeze line here in central WI. The house & barn, located downhill, with a fall of well over 10ft, would be supplied by gravity powered flow.

My initial conversation with the pump installer wasn't productive. He has no experience with either DC pumps or cisterns. He said a 1.5 hp pump would be adequate for our needs.

Any suggestions on pumps &/or PV requirements/specs?
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2015, 05:58 PM
wywhitewolf Male wywhitewolf is offline
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Yes it can be done. I run a solar setup on my well. But I'm under 200' of lift so can get by with a cheaper diaphram pump (Shurflo 9300). You'll need to go with something like a Grundfos SQ Flex pump.

What's the static water level in the well and how many GPM?

I feed a ground mounted cistern that will gravity feed to my orchard this summer.

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  #3  
Old 04-02-2015, 08:26 PM
Lurch Male Lurch is offline
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www.backwoodssolar.com

Go to products, then water pumps, then submersible pumps: The Aquetec SWP-4000 is a 12 or 24 volt DC submersible water pump that can provide up 230 feet of lift. I also run the Shurflo 9300 pump on my drilled well, but my static water level is within 30 feet of the surface.
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Old 04-18-2015, 10:13 AM
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I found this site: http://www.sunshineworks.com/solar-water-well-pump.htm and contacted them. Owner Ron appeared most knowledgeable and professional. He suggested a diaphragm system, calculated for our location, complete with panels, water level sensor and pump that would supply up to 80 gal per day, for about 2 Grand. Rethinking it, I asked about a higher volume system and he offered a helical pump that would give almost unlimited flow for 4 Grand. I'd rather over-build initially rather than regret a small system later.

Now my question is, being a city kid and thoroughly unfamiliar with wells, the pipe coming out of the pump has to come up thru the casing pipe, which sticks ~ 18 inches above grade, and then down to the proposed underground cistern. Once the pump shuts off, doesn't gravity empty that feed pipe, both forward into the cistern & backward down the shaft? How does the pump stay primed, and if water remains in the feed pipe above ground, won't it freeze in the winter? Does the pump have a check valve that keeps it primed?

I'd like to do the installation myself (it seems simple enough), but wondering if it would be worth it to pay someone knowledgeable just to get me thru the permitting process.
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Old 04-18-2015, 03:26 PM
HuntingHawk HuntingHawk is offline
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There is a foot valve at the bottom end of the pump. Valve only opens when pump is running due to pressure.
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Old 04-18-2015, 06:02 PM
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You can also add a "check valve" which does the same thing as a foot valve, but is in the line rather than in the well

It's just a simple device that only allows water to flow in one direction
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Old 04-18-2015, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuntingHawk View Post
There is a foot valve at the bottom end of the pump. Valve only opens when pump is running due to pressure.
So then wouldn't the pipe remain full and thus susceptible to freezing at the top, or is it like a barn hydrant valve that allows the water to flow back and out when the pump is off so the stand pipe doesn't remain full and exposed to the cold above ground?
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Old 04-18-2015, 07:49 PM
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Around here, most of us use a heated well house. One might also set a check valve, in your area, at around 6-feet or more, another check valve at the surface in a heated area, if you desire, and drill a small hole in the tubing a bit above the bottem check valve-- or some variation of the idea. I think they also sell check valves with tiny drains above the flapper. Try this type thing on your well man to see if this might take care of your concerns. He'll likely have other, perhaps better, ideas.
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:28 PM
HuntingHawk HuntingHawk is offline
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As mentioned, a well house. Normally an incandescent bulb would be enough to keep it warm. But if really cold might require a grow lamp.
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuntingHawk View Post
As mentioned, a well house. Normally an incandescent bulb would be enough to keep it warm. But if really cold might require a grow lamp.
We're talking central WI: -10* common; -25* not unusual. As oeb suggests, a hole in the tube 6 ft down would solve the problem without resorting to the cost prohibitive heating of the well house.
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Old 04-18-2015, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
As oeb suggests, a hole in the tube 6 ft down would solve the problem
I suspect it would also require another hole near the end with a one way valve to let air into the pipe being drained

Is this system going to have batteries, and if so, wouldn't you have to keep them from freezing also?
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Old 04-19-2015, 03:06 AM
HuntingHawk HuntingHawk is offline
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Basically a hose bib?
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Old 04-19-2015, 10:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearfootfarm View Post
I suspect it would also require another hole near the end with a one way valve to let air into the pipe being drained

Is this system going to have batteries, and if so, wouldn't you have to keep them from freezing also?
The feed hose coming up out of the well casing would loop over & down to fill the underground cistern. If the end of that hose remains above water level, its free end would serve as the air inlet.

Use of batteries can be avoided by using the cistern. Water to be used is drawn out of the 200+ gal storage. A water level sensor actuates the pump only if/when electricity is being generated. The folks at Sunshine Works calculated that even in winter at 43*N, I should average 2.5 hrs of good sun per day, enough to pump 80 gal of water, even with the smaller system.

I'm not familiar with the term hose bib. I figure the holes in the pipe would serve like a freeze-proof hydrant often used in unheated barns: with the supply line buried below the freeze line, the hydrant is a vertical pipe with handle at the top actuating the valve at the bottom of the pipe. Perforations above the valve allow water to slowly drain out of the vertical pipe after the valve is shut off.
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Old 04-19-2015, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
The feed hose coming up out of the well casing would loop over & down to fill the underground cistern. If the end of that hose remains above water level, its free end would serve as the air inlet.
Yes, that would work as long as the air volume is equal to or more than the water's volume

A "hose bib" is a simple threaded faucet connection which often has backflow preventers and "frost free" features.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...ds&form=QBILPG
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  #15  
Old 04-20-2015, 09:33 PM
Lurch Male Lurch is offline
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The water pipe should be underground, below the frost level, by using a device called a Pitless Adapter. My cistern is inside of my house, so it will not freeze. The incoming water pipe comes up from the ground, under the foundation of the house, into the cistern. I have an overflow pipe on the top of the cistern that indicates when it is full of water.
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:37 PM
Lurch Male Lurch is offline
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FYI- If you Google "pitless adapter" there are pictures and diagrams of the entire system.
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Old 04-22-2015, 10:58 AM
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Now that makes sense, Lurch. I was confused reading the WI code which says casing must extend at least 12" above grade level. I assumed the water pipe had to come up out of the casing. Just placing the exit opening below the freeze line would solve the problem. In fact, if I can do that, I see no need for any special valve.
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Old 08-31-2015, 11:52 AM
TnAndy Male TnAndy is offline
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This post is several months old now, and you may have already picked your route, but if not, look at Grundfos SQ series pumps. They can be run on 240v on grid power, OR DC solar power directly (no battery involved) from solar panels. Depending on which series, they can be used up to 820' depth with varying amounts of flow.

If you DO use it on DC, you will need a storage holding tank, as the pump will simply run when the sun shines on the panels, so it's not an "on demand" pump like when you run it on normal 240v AC. If you can get enough fall from your storage tank, you can use gravity for your pressure (about 1/2 PSI per foot of elevation)(this is how we run our household off a spring), or you can install a relatively inexpensive Sureflow type pressure pump between your storage and use point.
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Old 08-31-2015, 01:30 PM
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am using a grundfos pump with a 5000 gal storage tank. the controller shuts the system off when the tank is full, so the pump is not running continuously while the sun is shining --in fact, it doesn't run much at all since I am currently only feeding a 100 gal stock tank with it. Next step is to get enough 2 inch poly pipe to get to the storage tank set up beside the garden with an option of diverting water to the pond which does go dry occasionally. I believe that there is enough elevation change that I can do it all by gravity flow, but need to check that with an altimeter yet.

JVC
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