1992 - Volume #16, Issue #3, Page #36[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Trailer-Mounted Solar Water Pump"My trailer-mounted solar water pump doesn't cost anything to operate and is maintenance free. I also use it to aerate grain bins," says Illinois fanner Perry Riechmann, who primarily uses his home-built solar system to pump water into a 5-acre pond for wildlife. -
Rieckmann, of Valmeyer, mounted 12 90-watt photovoltaic panels on steel frames that attach to 6-in. dia. steel pipes welded to motor and pump and a 1 hp direct current aeration fan also mount on the trailer. A linear current booster converts solar energy to low-voltage direct current. A freon tracking system rotates the panels during the day so that they constantly receive maximum sunlight.
''The photovoltaic panels provide 24 volts of direct current which is enough to pump 45 to 50 gal. of water per min. or about 30,000 gal. per day," says Riechmann. "I use it to flood some Mississippi river bottomland that used to have water on it for a few months every year so I'd only get a decent crop once every 5 years or so. Since I can't depend on it for farming I decided to keep it full of water all year long so wildlife could use it. At first I used a gas engine to pump water into the pond. However, I had to spend a lot of time refueling and the engines kept burning up from the non-stop use.
"I can go weeks without even looking at my solar pump. It runs so quiet that deer and ducks hardly notice it. I can hear the motors vary in speed according to the amount of sunlight received by the panels. However, low power won't damage the motor because it's direct current. It quits running when the sun goes down or when the weather turns cloudy. I could use batteries to power the motor after dark, but after checking out prices I decided I couldn't justify the expense."
Riechmann got a grant to pay for the $12,000 project. He worked with the Extension Service, the Soil and Water Conservation Service, and the Illinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources in setting up the system. He plans to use it to aerate grain for the first time next fall.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Perry Riechmann, Valmeyer, Ill. 62295 (ph 618 935-2713).
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