Solar Pumps are an appealing option as they are environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Even with these benefits there are a number of things to consider before going solar, as they may not be entirely suitable for your pond set-up. They are best suited to small ponds or features with few or no fish where it is not possible to access power.
Battery Back-up – Not all solar pumps have battery back-up this means they will only run while the sun is out. Even with a battery back-up the pumps will not run 24/7. How long they will run into the afternoon will depend on how much sunlight they get during the day and the setting you are running the pump on. Generally Solar pumps have a low, medium and high setting on the battery. The higher the setting you have it on the more power you will get but that means you will have less running time. Not being able to run 24/7 means solar pumps are not ideal for bigger fish such as Koi or anyone trying to run an external filter. Koi and Goldfish need oxygen rich water, which the solar pumps can provide during the day but they cannot at night which is when the oxygen is at its lowest. External filters can be hooked up to a solar pumps but without that constant flow you will keep killing that beneficial bacteria that is trying to form.
Price – Solar pumps are more expensive to buy than 240V pumps, you may pay 3 or 4 times as much for a solar pump compared to its equivalent in a 240v pump. If you are someone who is passionate about being eco-friendly then this extra cost may not bother you. The running cost of an equivalent 240v pump is generally very low, it would take many years to make up the extra cost of the pump in power savings. Another thing to be wary of is that the maximum flow capacity of a solar pump is dependent on the amount and intensity of sunlight hitting the panel.
Head Heights – Solar pumps don’t have that power to push as high as a 240v pump. This needs to be taken into consideration when planning on putting a solar pump into any water feature. This may make things difficult if you are planning to put a 2m high water feature in a position with no access to power. The labelling of pumps tell you the max head height and the max flow, it doesn't mean you will get that flow from that height. The maximum flow is straight out of the pump and the closer you get to the maximum height the less flow you will get. Generally the pump box will have a chart showing you the approximate flow you will get at certain heights.
Filtration - Be aware that most solar pumps don’t have much in the way of pre-filtration so they may not be able to handle a lot of suspended debris and organic matter. Depending on the brand and model of the solar pump we may be able to adapt a pre-filter onto the pump to make it more suited for a pond environment.
Please contact us if you have any queries as to whether a solar powered pump will be suitable for you.