This solar water pump system supplies running water without electrical current. The system can handle enough water pumping to flush toilets and pull water to sinks and showers during a prolonged power outage or indefinitely.
We have been using this off-the-grid water system to supply water to our home, whether or not electrical current is available.
After Hurricane Omar left us without power for 2 weeks just after we moved into a remote mountain top Caribbean caretakers cottage, this was the system we set up to avoid washing dishes with buckets of water pulled from our landlord’s pool. Then as we went into hurricane season each year, we’d test the system and make sure it was prepared for when/if the power was out for an extended period of time.
It was the system that Ethan set up for his mom before Hurricanes Irma and Maria left her without power for almost 3 months. He also helped a number of friends duplicate the system.
Off-The-Grid Water Pump:
We also set up this solar water pump system on our latest project and forever home cottage as we waited for electrical power to be hooked from the grid power. While WAPA did eventually come and hook up our power, we continue to run our water from this pump system rather than the WAPA grid. One less thing to be charged for on WAPA!
Solar Water Pump Capacity:
As shown, this pump system handles the following for the three of us:
- Kitchen sink
- Bathroom sink
- Toilet, shower
- Plant irrigation and watering
Note: we do not have a dishwasher, unless you count a 11 year old child.
This system can be scaled up or down for need, but this is what works for us.
Components/Specifics of the Solar Water Pump System:
The system is set up with an alternative energy 12V water pump (link). We use a 5.5 gpm and that handles one bathroom, kitchen (no dishwasher), and watering plants on a daily basis.
The links in this post include Amazon affiliate links. I have purchased and used all items in this post. I actually set up my Amazon affiliate account to write this blog. Please consider using my links so I get credit.
1. Solar panel:
Depending on where you live and how much you need to run this pump, you may choose more or less solar panels than us.
If you want to collect more solar rays quicker, consider the 160 Watt version for about $170.
While we’ve tried panels through Northern Tool and one from eBay, we like this vendor Rich Solar (list of products), they seem to have the options and the pricing makes sense.
2. Voltage Regulator:
The voltage regulator regulates the voltages to the battery to protect the battery from overcharging. The solar panels can convert light energy into electric energy stored in batteries which will be protected by the solar controller. When it’s fully charged it cuts off the amperage.
ZEALLIFE has a great list of products at reasonable costs to run RV, boat, and off-the-grid solar systems. Check out the ZEALLIFE Amazon storefront through this link to give me credit for sending you there.
3. Water Pump:
We use a 12V pump, like one usually used in RVs. It’s typically 5.5 gallons per minute and it’s perfect to keep your house in a normal supply of water. While it may not be as efficient as your standard grid-style water pump, it does the trick for us (3 humans, 1 dog, many plants). We have purchased ones as high as 7 gpm because of availability. Here is a link to all the SEAFLO water pumps on Amazon. Use this link to find your most appropriate choice.
If there are more people, pets, and plants that require you to handle more than a minimal amount of water OR you live in an area without as much sun as we have here in the Caribbean, you might need more battery storage, and more solar power generation. This is simply what works for us as requested by a number of friends.
4. Battery Storage:
You’ll need some battery storage. You can purchase a marine (deep cycle) battery at your local battery shop or you can go with a Lithium Ion battery like these from BigBattery.com. The Big Battery battery is lighter, lasts longer, and a bit more expensive. On St. Croix, there is a guy who orders wholesale from Big Battery and has a small supply on hand. Contact me for his information. Or check out a local battery store for a deep cycle battery.
GBGS TSSS-SWP03-T2 10ft 12AWG, 20A Solar Panel Branch Adaptor Waterproof Photovoltaic Extension Cable Connector (2 Pairs), Black/Red – these extension cables allow you more extentions from your solar panel to your voltage regulator. Depending on how far away you need to place your solar panel, you may need two sets of these.
Thank you for checking out our water pump setup. Here’s a photo of it, although it is in a corner so it’s hard to capture.