Solar Water Pumping System

by | Dec 22, 2023

Solar Water Pumping system

In a country where most farmers depend on the monsoon or a grid-powered tube well, a solar water pumping system can do wonders. A solar water pumping system not only supplies water almost everyday, it also reduces electricity bills considerably.

A solar water pump is nothing but a sunlight powered tube well. It almost completely negates a farmer’s dependance on electricity-grid or diesel gensets to irrigate their farms throughout the year.

This article is handcrafted to demolish all the doubts you have about solar water pumping systems and enable you to choose the right one for yourself.

Let’s begin by knowing exactly what we are after!

What is a Solar Water Pumping System?

A solar water pumping system consists of a submersible or surface pump powered by solar panels. These pumps may work on Alternating Current(AC) as well as Direct Current(DC) regardless of the type of solar panels as the pumping system comes with a built-in inverter.

                                                                                                                                                 CC: IndiaMart

Below is a detailed diagram of a solar water pumping system with an inverter and other important devices:

CC: Research Gate

How Does A Solar Water Pumping System Work?

A solar water pumping system utilizes solar energy to power water pumps. It operates through a series of components that work synergistically to efficiently pump water using solar power.

To understand the working of a Solar Water Pumping System, we must know its components.

Components of a Solar Water Pumping System:

1. Solar Panels:

Solar panels are the heart of the system. The photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight into electricity of direct current (DC) using semiconductor materials like silicon. 

2. Controller:

The controller manages the flow of electricity from the solar panels to the pump. It regulates the voltage and current to optimize the pump’s performance and protects it from overloading or underperformance due to variations in sunlight.

3. Pump:

The pump, which can be either a submersible or a surface pump, is powered by the electricity generated by the solar panels. The pump draws water from a source and pushes it through pipelines for usage.

4. Storage Tank (Optional):

In some setups, a storage tank stores excess water pumped during peak sunlight hours. This stored water can be utilized during periods of low sunlight or high demand.

5. Batteries (Optional):

Batteries are not necessary to operate a solar water pumping system but can be used to store electricity on days when it is not fully used. The stored battery can be utilised on days of no sunlight.

Working Principle:

When sunlight falls on the solar panels, they generate DC electricity through the photovoltaic effect. The generated electricity is then channeled to the controller, which optimizes the power output and sends it to the pump.

The pump, powered by the electricity from the solar panels, draws water from the source and moves it through the pipelines to the required destination. The flow rate and pressure of the water depend on the pump’s specifications and the amount of sunlight available.

Benefits of Solar Water Pumps

Here’s a list outlining the major benefits of a solar water pumping system:

1. Energy Efficiency:

Solar water pumping systems harness abundant sunlight to generate electricity, eliminating the need for grid power or fossil fuels. Huge amount of capital can be saved in the long run by exploiting the efficiency of solar-powered systems.

2. Cost Savings:

By utilizing free solar energy, these systems offer substantial long-term cost savings compared to conventional fuel-powered pumps. Once installed, the ongoing operational expenses are minimal.

3. Reliability:

In places where the electricity grid is not very trustworthy, solar water pumping systems provide a dependable water supply.

4. Low Maintenance:

With fewer moving parts and simple designs, solar water pumps typically require minimal maintenance, reducing operational hassles and costs.

5. Longevity and Durability:

Quality solar water pumping systems are designed for durability, with components built to withstand harsh weather conditions, ensuring a longer lifespan.

6. Flexibility in Installation:

Solar water pumps can be installed in diverse terrains and locations, providing flexibility in deployment without the need for extensive infrastructure.

7. Environment-friendly:

By utilizing solar power to pump water, solar water pumps contribute to the environment by making better use of available resources.

8. Government Incentives:

The government offers huge incentives and subsidies for the purchase of solar-powered systems, making them more financially appealing for users.

Cost of Solar Water Pump

The cost of solar water pumps in India varies depending on the technology used, capacity, and features. On average, the cost of a surface solar water pump ranges from ₹50,000 to ₹2.5 lakhs, while the cost of a submersible solar water pump ranges from ₹1.5 lakhs to ₹3.5 lakhs. 

The cost of a floating solar water pump ranges from ₹3 lakhs to ₹10 lakhs. Although the initial cost of solar water pumps is higher than traditional diesel pumps, their operating costs are much lower, reducing the risk of price fluctuations for farmers. 

The government of India provides subsidies to promote the use of solar water pumps, ranging from 30% to 60% of the total cost of the project, depending on the location and type of pump.

Here is a list of various reputed suppliers of solar water pumping systems along with a cost estimate:

CompanyTypeCapacityCost Range (Approx.)
Tata Power SolarSubmersible1 HP to 10 HPINR 75,000 – INR 6,30,000
Kirloskar SolarSurface/Submersible3 HPINR 1,60,000
Shakti PumpsSubmersible0.5 HP to 100 HPINR 35,000 onwards
Jain Irrigation SystemsSurface/Submersible0.5 HP to 50 HPINR 95,000 onwards
CromptonSubmersible1 HP to 10 HPINR 79,475 onwards

Importance of Solar Water Pumps in India

In countries like India, with strong ties to agriculture and water access being a challenge, the advent of solar pumps signals a new dawn. Water pumps powered by solar energy have become a real breakthrough. They provide a solution to the problem of freshwater availability as well as the issue of sustainable development for most Indian cities and communities living in the countryside.

1. Bridging the Water Access Gap

India grapples with water scarcity issues, particularly in rural areas where traditional electricity infrastructure is often lacking. The solar pump is the last savior that has shown up with an affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly option. 

2. Revolutionizing Agriculture

Agriculture sustains millions of livelihoods in India. Solar pumps are essential in ensuring regular water supply for irrigation and thus increase productivity in agriculture. 

3. Sustainable Water Management

The importance of sustainable water management cannot be overstated. Judicious use of water is provided in solar pumps that help to regulate the distribution and scheduling of water usage. 

4. Empowering Rural Development

In rural India, where access to electricity remains a challenge, solar pumps bring about a socio-economic transformation. These enable people’s social economy through a secure water supply for consumption, sanitation, and irrigation purposes. 

5. Environmental Conservation

Solar power also fits into India’s pledge for an environmentally sound country. The solar pumps reduce CO2 emissions by substituting the current use of diesel/grid-powered pumps in line with India’s renewable energy ambitions and mitigate climate-related adversities.

6. Government Initiatives and Incentives

The Indian government has also initiated a variety of plans and incentives to embrace solar pumps which are essential. The subsidies, grants, and finances are meant to be more affordable by farmers and communities making them more efficient in uptaking of these systems in the country.

Advantages and Applications 

There are numerous benefits of solar water pumping systems which can be used in diverse areas with no additional costs compared to other conventional methods. Here are some key advantages and applications of solar water pumping systems:

Applications

1. Cost-effective
solar water pumps are powered by solar panels, utilizing the sun’s free energy, significantly reducing operating costs.

2. Environmentally Friendly
These systems are sustainable and use renewable energy, producing no harmful pollutants, which helps keep the air and soil clean.

3. Low Maintenance
Solar pumps require less maintenance compared to traditional fossil fuel pumps, reducing the need for frequent repairs and upkeep.

4. Long-Term Investment
While the upfront cost may be a barrier, solar water pumps are a cheaper long-term option due to their low maintenance and lack of ongoing fuel costs, making them a sound investment.
Applications

1. Cost-effective
solar water pumps are powered by solar panels, utilizing free energy from the sun, which significantly reduces operating costs.

2. Environmentally Friendly
These systems are sustainable and use renewable energy, producing no harmful pollutants, which helps keep the air and soil clean.

3. Low Maintenance
Solar pumps require less maintenance compared to traditional fossil fuel pumps, reducing the need for frequent repairs and upkeep.

4. Long-Term Investment
While the upfront cost may be a barrier, solar water pumps are a cheaper long-term option due to their low maintenance and lack of ongoing fuel costs, making them a sound investment.
Advantages and Applications

PM-Kusum Scheme

The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme was launched by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in February 2019. It aims to reduce pollution and improve farmer’s income. They provide energy and water security for farmers.

The scheme aims to install 30,800 MW of solar capacity with a total central financial support of Rs. 34,422 Crore.

Objectives and Salient Features

The PM-KUSUM scheme has three main objectives:

  • Reduce environmental pollution
  • Double farmers’ incomes
  • Ensure energy and water security for farmers

Some salient features of the scheme include:

  • Individual farmers can install solar power plants on their barren land.
  • Electricity Distribution Companies are expected to buy this power and generate income for farmers who have put up these plants.
  • This involves installing mini solar generators and on-grid solar pumps under this scheme.
  • PM-KUSUM has a provision to support USPC controllers, which allows electrical appliances other than pumps to run on the solar setup as a secondary use.

Challenges and Underutilization

Despite its potential, the PM-KUSUM scheme has faced challenges and underutilization. The COVID-19 pandemic derailed the execution of the scheme, pushing it to March 2026.

Additionally, the underutilization of off-grid and standalone solar pumps remain a challenge.

Impact and Results Framework

Multiple organizations and agencies track the PM-KUSUM Scheme’s overall progress. Nevertheless, they neglect the effect these policies have on the beneficiaries for instance, crop types, the amount borrowed, and even the use of water.

Implementing agencies can use a results framework. This framework displays the direct and indirect transformation of each of his countries or place. It adopts a comprehensive process that enables easy understanding of PM- KUSUM elements. The model features dimensions of feasibility, implementation, and evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is solar water pumping system?

A solar water pumping system is basically a submersible or surface pump powered by solar panels. These pumps may work on Alternating Current(AC) as well as Direct Current(DC) regardless of the type of solar panels as the pumping system comes with a built-in inverter.

2. Are solar water pumps worth it?

Solar water pumps are definitely worth it in the long run. They save a ton of money over years by saving electricity costs and improving productivity.

3. How long can a solar water pump last?

A solar water pump can easily last 10 to 20 years depending upon the usage and build quality.

4. What is the subsidy of Kusum Yojana?

Through the PM Kusum program, the Central Financial Assistance (CFA) will cover up to 30% of the benchmark cost, a figure set annually by MNRE for standalone solar pumps. The State Government will offer a 30% subsidy, leaving the farmer responsible for the remaining 40% contribution.

Bhuwan Bhatia

Bhuwan Bhatia

Bhuwan Bhatia, an engineering graduate with a diverse background, has been passionate about entrepreneurship since age 13. Founder of edtech startup Technoshaala, Bhuwan now focuses on leading his innovative water management startup, FLOTAA, in Kanpur to create sustainable solutions.
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