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Subject Solar Well Pump System
Author Sascha
 
 
QUESTION:
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Hi, Did a lot of searching and reading of your site and others over the holidays.

I live in the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains, about 65 miles NE of Bakersfield at 3,550 foot elevation. I live along a seasonal creek which runs sometimes all year and other years stops in August.

I currently irrigate my 1.5 acre garden from my well (AC) before the water is conditioned. I want to convert the well to solar. Before I do, I want to start using the creek to pump water to my garden (mostly native plants so they can go without for long periods when necessary, like when the creek runs dry). This would help me in several ways:

1.. Establish my riparian rights on the stream as that is an issue with an upstream user of water.
2.. Insure my submersible system, when converted, does not need to be big enough to always have to water my very large garden (1.5 acres).
3.. Preserve the water in my well for mainly household use and emergency gardening water. So, the stream has a moderately clean flow. I estimate that during the summer months I would need to pump about 5000 gallons a week. This area of California has virtually no clouds or rain from late April till October. We get winter rains/snows so way less flow then is not a problem.

I can locate the pump very close to the creek, no more than 10 feet horizontal and maybe 5 feet vertical. The panels (if more than one) can be located almost as closely. Then, I need to be able to have the water climb 50 to 60 vertical feet and travel for 300 to 500 feet horizontal depending on where used. I envision a system of hoses and T-valves to direct it where I want on any given day. I already have a solar gate opener now for several years and it has worked out great. I am ready to move forward.

Draining back at the end of the day is actually desired as there is danger of freezing here many months of the year. If the water does not drain back, the delivery system will have frozen water in it resulting in leaks and impossibility to push water through the next day until and if it melts that day.

And, there is with this creek a big danger of running low or dry in late summer and that could happen when I am away so I need ability for the system to stop itself in that case of at least have no damage.

It would be nice if there were some 'complete' systems out there. I think I am starting to see what I need but how do I get the help to turn this idea into an order such that I am not going down the wrong path.

I can get help on this end when delivered with mounting and electricity issues. I am a fairly technical person (computer software mostly) but just don't have the education in this area. I am willing to go through a guide but nothing seems to guide me all the way through. One of their small systems or a Shurflow seems to be the way to go although I notice their systems are discontinued by some solar dealers and their web site is worthless (i.e. Shurfulow).

Any help you can give me will result in an order for this stream system. Then, once I can get a season's use and see the lessened impact on my well, I can start to figure out what it will take to convert that to solar. This would get my water off the grid (we lose power here very often) and keep me in the cheaper KWH's during the summer months (power bills here go up dramatically with higher use).

If the help is recommending a How To book or guide or something like that, I am fine. But, I find the way it is to be a maze which stops me at the decision point.

Thanks, Mike

ANSWER:
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Hello Mike,

You have done a great job of describing your needs.
I think instead of a surface pump for your application you may want to consider a submersible. It is my recommendation mainly because you need a drainback system and none of the surface pumps that we carry are reliably self priming if at all. You can create a drainbackin a submersible application by creating a small "weep hole" just above the pump, below the water surface so that freezing is never aproblem. the system drains back every evening.
The pump system I suggest is the ETA-04-180 Integrated system. It will easily pump the required summer time use per day volume you need at 60 feet. (Around 1400 gallons per day) The system is nice because it comes with everything you need, except for pipe and wire, for an install. It includes, the pump and controller, solar panels, mounting structure, dry run sensor, PV array diconnect, a very detailed instrcution manual, and a four year warranty on the pum and controller.
You can find more info and pricing at this link: https://www.altenergystore.com/cart/1205.html

Please look the information over and let me know if you have questions aout design or any other matter.

ANSWER:
------
Hello Mike,

You have done a great job of describing your needs.
I think instead of a surface pump for your application you may want to consider a submersible. It is my recommendation mainly because you need a drainback system and none of the surface pumps that we carry are reliably self priming if at all. You can create a drainbackin a submersible application by creating a small "weep hole" just above the pump, below the water surface so that freezing is never aproblem. the system drains back every evening.
The pump system I suggest is the ETA-04-180 Integrated system. It will easily pump the required summer time use per day volume you need at 60 feet. (Around 1400 gallons per day) The system is nice because it comes with everything you need, except for pipe and wire, for an install. It includes, the pump and controller, solar panels, mounting structure, dry run sensor, PV array diconnect, a very detailed instrcution manual, and a four year warranty on the pum and controller.
You can find more info and pricing at this link: https://www.altenergystore.com/cart/1205.html

Please look the information over and let me know if you have questions aout design or any other matter.
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