Converting to solar power?

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Greg Mueller

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I have a well that is 600' deep. The cistern it fills is another 70' up on top of a hill.
I'd like to convert from grid power to solar power.
Looking at the bill I got when they installed the well, it uses a Webtrol model "L" 3hp 4" pump.

I tried calling Webtrol but they need to know the model number which is probably on the pump at the bottom of the well.
It does not need to pressurize the water, it just needs to lift it the 670'.
The well stays pretty full so I am thinking it really doesn't raise it 670' just from the top of the water in the 6" casing to the cistern.

I need to figure out how many solar panels/watts I would need to fill the cistern (once a day?) on top of the hill.

Anyone help?
 

Jeff H Young

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I imagine you need battery as well . it takes over 20 amps just to turn that pump on I wouldnt know how many panels it takes to produce enough power to fill a tank of unkown size each day . I think you need to fill in some blanks . If you are putting panels in why wouldnt you power back to the grid ? unless you are cutting the cord
 

Jeff H Young

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Hopefully some other info comes in but I think the pump might draw a lot of power at once and sun goes behind a cloud or something I think the power would fluctuate so i think a battery is needed.
gas or diesel generator perhaps, you need power beyond pumping water dont you?
 

Greg Mueller

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The well is far enough away that it has it's own meter and that's all that meter does.
It works fine the way it is, but I'm just thinking of the future.
 

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I am guessing you have a 10 GPM, 3HP, just from the depth. It would take a 10KW generator to run that pump. You are correct that even though the pump is set at 670' it is only lifting from the actual water level. Since the pump is working and has grid power, I would test the well and see just how deep the pumping level goes. If the water never goes below say 300', then you could pump the same water with a 3/4HP instead, which only requires a 3KW generator. A pump like the 10SQ07 would work well as it has a 5 second soft start that makes it easy to start on generators or inverters.
 

Greg Mueller

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So I would have to change out the pump to lower the start/run volts?
While I was trying to identify the existing pump I talked with a local well company and they quoted $5600 to change out/replace the pump.
I can pay for a lot of grid power for that much.

Thanks for your response.
 

Jeff H Young

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That was my thought it takes too much solar to run a pump and all day long when the pump isnt running you get nothing out of the solar panels unless you have a place for that electricity to go? back to grid or stored in a battery ,
since you stated that the solar is only for the pumping of water I cant see it being worth it. and you darn sure dont want a generator kicking on everytime the pump turns on. unless you have a sistern, then I suppose there may be scenario that it would be concidered
 

Greg Mueller

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I have a float switch in the cistern which only turns on the pump at the well when the level in the cistern falls below a certain level. One benefit would be energy independence and should the grid fail, I would still have the ability to fill the cistern. There is only two of us using water so the draw down is pretty minor.
Generally the local grid has few outages, but does suffer from frequent "blips" which is very hard on electronics and the noise level of the grid power is quite high. I am a ham radio operator and have investigated the noise level and it seems to be common through out the local grid through out the county.
Still weighing the advantages and disadvantage.
 

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I would still test the well while the pump is still working. If the water level doesn't drop very much, when the 3HP quits you can replace it with a much smaller and much less expensive pump. But yeah, you can never justify the expense of solar or even a windmill if you have grid power available.

With a cistern there is a way to do solar without batteries. Sunshine dictates when the cistern gets filled, not a float switch. You can use the float switch or a sensor to shut the solar pump off if the cistern is completely full. But if not completely full the pump will start and top off the tank anytime the sun shines. It is basically using the cistern as the battery. But you may need a larger cistern to last through a long spell of cloudy days. This way you only need solar panels, not batteries. But the solar panels and solar pumps like the SQFlex are not cheap. But a smaller one maybe the same price as a new 3HP when that happens.

Oh, and sorry about the noise on the electric supply. It used to be mostly from florescent lighting. But I think now most of it comes from Inverters, Variable Frequency Drives or VFD's. The noise they send back to the grid has an accumulative effect. Everything seems to have a VFD or at least an Inverter these days and the more VFD's the more noise on the line. It is sometimes more than electronics can take. That is one reason I like the standard old submersible pump with a regular pressure switch and a Cycle Stop Valve. That way you get the same or better performance as the computerized VFD systems without having a single electronic circuit in the system. It is ironic that electronics make the noise, because it is the electronics that doesn't like the noise either.
 
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Bannerman

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Jeff, the 1st sentence of the opening post said:

"I have a well that is 600' deep. The cistern it fills is another 70' up on top of a hill."
 

sajesak

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I have a well that is 600' deep. The cistern it fills is another 70' up on top of a hill.
I'd like to convert from grid power to solar power.
Looking at the bill I got when they installed the well, it uses a Webtrol model "L" 3hp 4" pump.

I tried calling Webtrol but they need to know the model number which is probably on the pump at the bottom of the well.
It does not need to pressurize the water, it just needs to lift it the 670'.
The well stays pretty full so I am thinking it really doesn't raise it 670' just from the top of the water in the 6" casing to the cistern.

I need to figure out how many 300w solar panel/watts I would need to fill the cistern (once a day?) on top of the hill.

Anyone help?
I am probably about to take the plunge into a solar power and solar battery installation for various reasons including a desire to reduce my carbon footprint, take advantage of the zero rate VAT whilst it lasts, provide a bit of security for power outages, and, in the very long term, perhaps get my money back with reduced electric bills. We don't yet have an electric car but next car will almost certainly be electric. We are in the south of the UK with a big south facing roof. Has anyone had any good, or bad, experiences they are willing to share? I'm particularly interested in things that you hadn't thought about before installation, that you wished you had considered, and also any experiences of selling a house with a solar installation. Was it a selling point or a problem? Thanks all.
 

Fitter30

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Look at a 3 hp dual capacitor pump 600' 13.9 amps 40 amps startup ( lock rotor) @240vac
Think u need a counter for starts and timer for run time to get a average per day.
Amps x volts = watts
Most clamp on amp meters aren't fast enough to catch lock rotor amps. The meter would read it but the display
probably won't display it.
Look at the starter box see if it is a two capacitor. With knowing the depth of pump, type of starter box , valving off the pump and measuring the pressure should give the pump manufacture a better educated guess what pump u have. Pump only needs to run so u can read the pressure.
 

Master Plumber Mark

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I have a well that is 600' deep. The cistern it fills is another 70' up on top of a hill.
I'd like to convert from grid power to solar power.
Looking at the bill I got when they installed the well, it uses a Webtrol model "L" 3hp 4" pump.

I tried calling Webtrol but they need to know the model number which is probably on the pump at the bottom of the well.
It does not need to pressurize the water, it just needs to lift it the 670'.
The well stays pretty full so I am thinking it really doesn't raise it 670' just from the top of the water in the 6" casing to the cistern.

I need to figure out how many solar panels/watts I would need to fill the cistern (once a day?) on top of the hill.

Anyone help?


Some things are really not wise to switch from the gird to solar power...
for the small cost to pump water up to your cistern it
would probably take 20 years to actually break even plus all the
issues that might arise with solar down the road...

I have been down these roads before.......
 

Master Plumber Mark

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I am probably about to take the plunge into a solar power and solar battery installation for various reasons including a desire to reduce my carbon footprint, take advantage of the zero rate VAT whilst it lasts, provide a bit of security for power outages, and, in the very long term, perhaps get my money back with reduced electric bills. We don't yet have an electric car but next car will almost certainly be electric. We are in the south of the UK with a big south facing roof. Has anyone had any good, or bad, experiences they are willing to share? I'm particularly interested in things that you hadn't thought about before installation, that you wished you had considered, and also any experiences of selling a house with a solar installation. Was it a selling point or a problem? Thanks all.

I used to deal with solar power and solar panels a very long time ago.... 1983-1985
I personally have had nothing but bad experiences with solar...
Unless you are technically inclined, working on solar issues it will drive you absolutely nuts
1. Panels on roofs can cause leaks in the roof.... over time maintaince is required...
2. break downs will eventually happen and unless you are a wizz yourself you will be at the mercy
of whomever claims they know what they are doing....

Installing a passive system that heats the home in the wintertime with air flow through the panels
into the home is the most simple and less troublesome way to do solar.... just a fan that is hooked
up to a thermostat that comes on and circulates the heat from the panels into the home is what I
would do if I had the location to do it in.... and if I could I would probably install them on ground level
facing south

Kiss.... keep is simple stupid
 

Jeff H Young

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Sajasek , is confusing this thread start your own if you are serious about it your situation is no where similar. so no suggestion for you.
Greg Mueller, your situation is unique because you want no battery and its only for a well pump a very long way from a seperate meter from the house. I feel as though solar may be worth it but not as you originaly mentioned with the desire to have no connection to grid , i dont have a feeling its likely feasable from a cash outlay . but certainly worth looking into isnt crazy to check out options
 

JamesE

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Your best off to stay on grid and just add solar panels as an option to offset your costs.

Solar depends a lot on where you live and what weather patterns you see throughout a season.
 

JillB

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A friend of mine has told me about a solar system where solar panels can be used to pre heat well water (from about 50 degrees to about 100 degrees) and then send that water to our oil fired boiler to continue heating. The idea is to reduce the amount of energy (fuel oil) needed to heat the water for our radiator system. Just filled my fuel oil tank at a cost of $8.47 gallon!!! We're in a rural area so not natural gas is available. Does anyone know what this system is and where I can get more information?
 
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