A solar-powered sump pump is an ideal choice if you live in an area with sunlight for most of the year. You can save your electricity expenses simply by installing a solar panel on the rooftop. Here’s a complete guide on everything you need to know about installing a solar submersible pump with battery backup.
Advantages of Having a Solar Powered Sump Pump
Renewable power generation technologies have developed over the years. So, you can use the comfort of generating electricity in your own home through solar panels. Using this energy to power up your sump pump is another step ahead. There are many benefits of using solar power for the sump pump system.
Solar-powered sump pumps are comparatively easier and cheaper to maintain. It saves your electricity bill since you can produce your own electricity needed to power the sump pump. The only expense is the initial cost, and there will be no ongoing operating charges afterward. Having a solar-powered sump pump offers a lot of conveniences if you are living in a remote area where it consumes more time and money to get the main power line connection. In that case, the installation of a solar panel will save you a lot of trouble.
Since solar-powered sump pumps are made of modular components, it is easy to upgrade the system by replacing the parts. You can install the solar panel system within two days if you have the necessary equipment and knowledge.
How Does a Solar Powered Sump Pump Work?
The solar panels, sensors, and solar pump connect with the control unit. The sump pump takes power directly from the solar panel which generates electricity using sunlight. The power generated goes through wires to the RPS optimizer. When the float sensor of the sump pump detects a rise in water levels, it will then activate the pump to remove water. Even if you don’t want to use this as the main sump pump, it can be an ideal backup sump pump to drain out the water during a power outage.
Components of a Solar Power Setup
The 12 V solar power setup has a few main components, namely; the solar panel, battery, inverter, and charge controller.
There are various types of solar panels that differ according to size, wattage, and manufacturer. Since you are using the solar panel to power the sump pump, the most common 30 W Polycrystalline panel is suitable for the task.
You can find many mounting options for solar panels such as tall posts or satellite dish mounting poles. If you don’t need wires running across the yard, you can use a satellite dish mounting pole with a solar panel mounting arm. Use an adjustable support rod from the roof to the top of the pole for extra stability. This structure can then withstand even heavy winds.
Since it’s a 12 V system, you can use a car battery for the task. You don’t need anything hardcore since it is a simple setup. You can easily find an affordable battery that can run a 12 V pump for many hours. Having this battery charged for a small time of exposure to sunlight can even keep your sump pump running for a few days.
The charge controller is the device that regulates the charging of the battery. It ensures that the solar panel doesn’t overcharge the battery and allows the sump pump to activate only if it has enough charge. Modern charge controllers have an LED display that shows the voltage and other real-time information. They also have special electronic protection features from overload, short circuits, and reverse polarity.
Power Inverter (Optional)
If your setup is a pure 12 V system, you don’t need to use a power inverter. If you want to power devices that need to be plugged into the power outlets of the house, then you need to use a power inverter. So, the power inverter can convert 12 V DC power to 120 V AC for the other appliances.
How to Connect the Sump Pump to the Backup Power System?
As you are aware of the components required, you can create the backup sump pump system by incorporating the solar panel setup with the sump pump. You also need some electronic controls and suitable housing to contain the equipment.
- The sump pump should turn on only if the main sump pump does not activate. Use the float switches and relays to create suitable logic. Position the backup float switch higher than the main pump’s float switch.
- If you have a very narrow sump pit, it may be hard to install two float switches. So, you can replace the free-floating water level sensor with a vertical float switch. It saves room and allows the new components to fit in easily.
- Since there should be a sturdy fixture to hold the new parts in place, install a galvanized pipe vertically in the pit. Rest it on a flange base and secure the top of the pipe to the ceiling or a beam.
- Attach the backup pump and the float switches to this pipe. These switches will activate the pump accordingly as they are attached to the relays on the main control board. Similarly, the switches will coordinate to turn off the sump pump when the water level decreases.
- You can use suitable housing to place all the components of this solar panel system. If you cannot find an appropriate solution, you can build one yourself. It simply needs to be a minor closet or a similar piece of drawers that can contain the charge controller, relays, battery, and control board.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can We Run Submersible Pump With Solar Panel?
Yes, you can run a submersible sump pump with a properly sized solar panel system. It simply needs to be able to provide the necessary power for the primary pump. You can either use an AC pump with an inverter or get a DC-powered sump pump. If not, it will usually deliver the power needed for a backup sump pump that can run for a limited time.
Are Solar Pumps Any Good?
Solar pumps are very quiet while in operation and can usually pump out smaller water features without trouble. So, if you live in a region with plenty of sunlight for the most part of the year, it can be an economical solution when upgrading your home.
How Far Will a Solar Pump Push Water?
Certain solar pumps can handle up to a total pump head of 1,000 feet. The total pump head differs on how far the pump can be submerged beneath the water’s surface.
Installing a solar powered sump pump is not a difficult task if you know how to handle the work. However, if you are not experienced in electrical work, you should get help from a professional installer. Despite the additional labor cost, you can get the work done with peace of mind that the power system is safe and sound.
If you have trouble installing this, you can also try water-powered backup sump pumps.