You are on page 1of 6



Development of a solar powered irrigation system has been discussed in this paper. This system
would be quite useful in areas where there is plenty of sunshine but insufficient water to carry
out farming activities, such as rubber plantation, strawberry plantation, or any plantation, that
requires frequent watering. The system is powered by solar system as a renewable energy which
uses solar panel module to convert Sunlight into electricity. The development and
implementation of an automated controller is significant to agricultural, oil and gas monitoring
and control purpose purposes. In addition, the system is powered by an intelligent solar system in
which solar panel targets the radiation from the Sun. Other than that, the solar system has
reduced energy cost as well as pollution.

A solar-powered pump is a pump running on electricity generated by photovoltaic panels or the

radiated thermal energy available from collected sunlight as opposed to grid electricity or diesel
run water pumps. The operation of solar powered pumps is more economical mainly due to the
lower operation and maintenance costs and has less environmental impact than pumps powered
by an internal combustion engine. Solar pumps are useful where grid electricity is unavailable
and alternative sources (in particular wind) do not provide sufficient energy.

Solar powered water pumps can deliver drinking water as well as water for livestock or irrigation
purposes. Solar water pumps may be especially useful in small scale or community based
irrigation, as large scale irrigation requires large volumes of water that in turn require a large
solar PV array. As the water may only be required during some parts of the year, a large PV
array would provide excess energy that is not necessarily required, thus making the system

Solar PV water pumping systems are used for irrigation and drinking water in India. The
majority of the pumps are fitted with a 200 watt - 3,000 watt motor that receives energy from a
1,800 Wp PV array. The larger systems can deliver about 140,000 liters of water/day from a total
head of 10 meters. By 30 September 2006, a total of 7,068 solar PV water pumping systems have
been installed.

Water pumping has a long history with solar power; so many methods have been developed to
pump water with a minimum of effort and incorporate solar energy. These have utilized a variety
of power sources, namely solar for energy power generation. Solar irrigation pump systems are
used principally for three applications:

• Town and City Water Supply

• Livestock Watering
• Irrigation

A solar irrigation pump system methods needs to take account of the fact that demand for
irrigation system water will vary throughout the year. Peak demand during the irrigation system
seasons is often more than twice the average demand. This means that solar pumps for irrigation
are under-utilized for most of the year. Attention should be paid to the system of irrigation water
distribution and application to the crops. The irrigation pump system should minimize water
losses, without imposing significant additional head on the irrigation pumping system and be of
low cost.
Submerged multistage centrifugal motor irrigation pumpset. This type is probably the most
common type of solar pump used for town and city water supply. The advantages of this
configuration are that it is easy to install, often with lay-flat flexible pipework and the motor
irrigation pumpset is submerged away from potential damage. Either ac or dc motors can be
incorporated into the irrigation pumpset although an inverter would be needed for ac systems. If
a brushed dc motor is used then the equipment will need to be pulled up from the well
(approximately every 2 years) to replace brushes. Brushless dc pump motors would require
electronic commutation. The most commonly employed system consists of an ac irrigation pump
and inverter with a solar pv panel photovoltaic array.

Submerged irrigation pump with surface mounted motor. This configuration was widely installed
with turbine pumps. It gives easy access to the pump motor for brush changing and other
maintenance. The low efficiency from power losses in the shaft bearings and the high cost of
installation has been disadvantages. In general this configuration is largely being replaced by the
submersible motor and irrigation pumpset.

Reciprocating positive displacement irrigation pump. The

reciprocating positive displacement pump (often known as the jack
or nodding donkey) is very suitable for high head, low flow
applications. The output is proportional to the speed of the
irrigation pump. At high heads the frictional forces are low
compared to the hydrostatic forces often making positive displacement pumps more efficient
than centrifugal pumps for this situation. Reciprocating positive displacement pumps create a
cyclic load on the motor which, for efficient operation, needs to be balanced. Thus, the above
ground components of the solar pump are often heavy and robust, and power controllers for
impedance matching often used.
Floating motor irrigation pump sets. The versatility of the floating unit set, makes it ideal for
irrigation pumping for canals and open wells. The pumpset is easily portable and there is a
negligible chance of the irrigation pump running dry. Most of these types use a single stage
submersed centrifugal irrigation pump. The most common type utilizes a brushless
(electronically commutated) dc motor. Often the solar pv panel array support incorporates a
handle or 'wheel barrow' type trolley to enable transportation.

Surface suction irrigation pumpsets. This type of irrigation pumpset is not recommended except
where an operator will always be in attendance. Although the use of primary chambers and non-
return valves can prevent loss of prime, in practice self-start and priming problems are
experienced. It is impractical to have suction heads of more than 8 meters.

Solar pumping technology methods continue to improve. In the early 1980s the typical solar
energy to hydraulic (pumped water) energy efficiency was around 2% with the solar pv panel
photovoltaic array being 6-8% efficient and the motor pumpset typically 25% efficient. Today,
an efficient solar pump system has an average daily solar energy power to hydraulic efficiency of
more than 4%. Solar pv panel photovoltaic modules of the monocrystalline type now have
efficiencies in excess of 12% and more efficient motor and irrigation pumpsets are available. A
good sub-system (that is the motor, pump and any power conditioning) should have an average
daily energy throughput efficiency of 30-40%.


This project helps the farmer to get proper amount of water for irrigation without any obstruction
or banning. This type of system will help to improve the farming conditions and will develop the
dependency on the natural resource of energy for farming and irrigation.

[1] Harris 2009 Solar Powered Automated Greenhouse Irrigation System (LumiTech
International Limited)
[2] Morris And Lynne 2008 Solar-Powered Livestock Watering Systems (ATTRA)
[3] B.L.S. Lui 2006 Trial Use of Solar Power Automatic Irrigation System 7-11
[4] Noko And Road 2005 Solar International Botswana (Pty) Ltd.(InWEnt)
[5] B. Eker 2005 Solar Powered Water Pumping Systems