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Design of Photovoltaic pumping system

  1. Nov 1, 2009 #1
    Hi all. I am doing a project where I have to design a photovoltaic water pumping system that can be used for applications like water irrigation and borehole water extraction.Right now I am doing my research and the issues that are the most pertinent are the following:1)hybrid systems,2) making the system completely autonomous i.e providing power for the auxilliaries as well and 3)solar tracking. I have searched for books available on the topic on Google but I have not obtained books that can be viewed fully. Also, I am having difficulties in obtaining materials that pertain to Photovoltaic Pumping exclusively or where the focus is more on PV pumping. Can anybody help me please?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 2, 2009 #2
    What is it specifically that you need help with. We can help you find answers to your question, but we wont do your research for you.
  4. Nov 2, 2009 #3
    I have seen a photovoltaic borehole pump that replaced an old windmill. It could pump several gpm on a good day. You first need to understand the gpm required, the borehole depth, and then calculate the power required. Using an efficiency of ~50%, calculate the solar power needed. If you expect 100 gpm, you are talking about many HP.

    Question: Do you know how many watts are required to lift water 100 feet at 1 gpm? If not, then calculate it.

    Bob S
  5. Nov 3, 2009 #4
    If I am not wrong,is it 905.3 Wh........ Please check the attachment to see how I got this answer.

    Coming to Topher925, I will explain in detail. Actually I have a book titled 'Le Pompage Photovoltaique' which is in French. I am having all the world's trouble to understand the language. I wanted to obtain an Engineering software translator for free download to convert the text in English.I suppose that a common translator will not translate the technical terms properly.But after downloading the translators,2 different ones in fact,I am being warned that the publisher's name is unknown before I press the 'Run' button. Afterwards, I have been searching for books related to photovoltaic pumping on Google but as I said, full view is not available. Even if I would have understood my book properly , it would have been necessary to search for the other previously mentioned topics(hybrid, autonomy,solar tracking) in other books. To be specific about what help I would like to obtain from you, it would have been good if you could provide me with links to full view/ download of books and if by chance any of you know about links including the topics related to PV pumping which I am looking for, it would be even better. If you also know about any free Engineering translator software, could you please give me the link?
    I deem that this site is trustworthy and more appropriate as a platform for students and that is why I am seeking your help.

    Attached Files:

  6. Nov 3, 2009 #5


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    Your answer should be in units of power (Watts, W) not energy (watt-hours, Wh).
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  7. Nov 3, 2009 #6


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    I think it is important that you keep in mind "photovoltaic pumping" is simply a system integration, made up of two fairly simple components- an electric well pump, and a solar array. Trying to find a book that is specific to the application "photovoltaic pumping" is not really necessary, because there aren't really any system-specific issues that need to be solved for this integration. It is for all intensive purposes just a pumping system, the power source is independent and can come in any range of forms.

    You have a desired flow rate, and hopefully an expected well depth. That is enough to at least roughly specify a pump. Then given that you know the motor's size and power requirements, you will be able to spec out a solar array and transformer that provides enough power to fit the bill. If you want it to run at night too you will need to add a battery pack to it, but that's about it. Simple!
  8. Nov 3, 2009 #7
    Question: Do you know how many watts are required to lift water 100 feet at 1 gpm? If not, then calculate it.


    1 gallon = 3.785 liters = 3.785 Kg
    100 ft = 30 meters

    mgh/t = 3.785 Kg x 9.81 m/s2 x 30 meters/ 60 sec = 18.56 watts

    Bob S
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  9. Nov 3, 2009 #8
    It's just that I got the formula from a book and I adopted its approach. In fact the energy is calculated in Watts hours and then divided by the voltage requirements to obtain the current required by the pump in Ampere hours. In this way, the battery capacity needed can be determined.

    But about the other issues like solar tracking, hybrid design and complete autonomy, I need further information. That's why I was asking about links to ebooks or any source of info that can help me. Also the free Engineering translator software will do.
  10. Dec 10, 2009 #9
    sciencefan, can you please tell me which book your calculations were referenced from? Thank-you.
  11. Dec 11, 2009 #10
    I would say check the following:
    1. Look at current pumps that use wind power, and look at how to replace the wind energy with solar energy.
    2. Consider solar panels and battery storage for providing auxillary power.
    3. Look at heliostats, trough reflectors, and other solar collectors. A simple approach to eliminate adjusting the mirrors for solar tracking would be troughs or a ribbon mirror arched over the collection array.
  12. Dec 20, 2009 #11
    The book is in French and is titled: 'Le Pompage Photovoltaique' manuel de cours a l'intention des ingenieurs et des techniciens by Jimmy Royer, Thomas Djiako, Eric Schiller, Bocar Sada Sy.
  13. Dec 20, 2009 #12
    Thank you, I'll have a look at it.
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