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Solar-Powered Tile Sump Pumps
When you need to power pumps to drain tile in remote fields, you might consider going solar, says Jamie Near, owner of Energy Service Solutions, LLC. He designs systems that can be less expensive and easier to install than hooking into an electric power grid.
    “We use regular 240-volt AC dewatering pumps, so there are no special pumps or direct current systems that cost double,” Near says. “You use the same thing as a farmer uses with grid power. My system is designed as ‘solar direct’ meaning it only pumps water during the day when there is enough solar power to start the pump. There are no batteries.”
    Near’s system includes equipment that converts DC to AC and a variable frequency drive to maximize the power generated on cloudy days from a 320 to 360-watt solar panel to run single or 3-phase AC pump motors. Systems typically lift water at 100 to 300 gpm, though Near says he recently designed a system to pump at 400 gpm for 40 acres.
    “We came up with this out of necessity, because before there was no option when fields were remote,” he says, noting most of his work is with generator systems. Solar makes economic sense when grid power is 1/4 to 1/2 mile away or farther. Windmill pumps are also more expensive.
    Costs for solar pump systems start at about $4,800 for an installed 100 gpm system with 6 to 9 solar panels. With no utility bills, there is a fairly quick payback, Near says.
    “The other thing we’ve done is used the solar system in a well pump for irrigation application,” he adds. “These water pumping systems can also be used for water wells and produce over 50 gpm at high pumping heads. They can also be used for pond aerating and decorative fountains.”
    Near installs the solar systems in his region near Lake Michigan, and is available as a consultant to people in other parts of the country.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Jamie Near, Energy Service Solutions, LLC, 2986 W. Garfield Rd., New Era, Mich. 49446 (ph 231 923-6186; www.energyservicesolutionsllc.com; jamienear@essllc.co).

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2018 - Volume #42, Issue #4