I wish to run a pond pump (such as this here) off of solar electricity, because the electricity in my area is very expensive, but clouds are rare. For this example, it is listed as running on 199 Watts and no other details are given about its electricity in the manual. I don't have a good understanding of electricity. What specifications do I need to search for when attaching a solar panel to this? Does it just need to have >= 199 Watts listed? Is volts or some other detail important? If the sun goes behind a cloud, and power is reduced, can that break the products that are plugged into it?

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    While the Amazon listing linked doesn't provide the voltage for the pump, it does provide this very helpful information: Allergen Information Abalone Free. Just in case you were wondering. lol – FreeMan Jun 17 '20 at 16:47
  • @FreeMan 120V. It's down in the details, but it's just "presumed", in the way that North America market toasters "presume" 120V. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Jun 17 '20 at 17:57
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    Ah, glad you found that, @Harper-ReinstateMonica. I guess I was distracted by the allergen information and didn't see it. :) – FreeMan Jun 17 '20 at 17:59

You need a different pump, and you need help speccing it.

You lack enough knowledge about electricity to be able to design a system, spec a pump, and certainly to build it in a way that would work. You'll either need to skill up, or get help.

Right off the bat, the pump you picked uses 120V AC power - the zappy kind that can kill you, and that you buy from the power company.

If the goal is to go solar, you probably want another kind of power, called low voltage DC power, commonly 12 or 24 volts, and that is the kind that is used in cars.

  • You would need to identify and purchase a pump which happily ran on that voltage and type of power.
  • Usable solar panels already provide that type of power, so that part is largely done.
  • It won't be hard to add a charge controller and battery if you wanted to bridge across cloudy moments.

You need to supply both the wattage and the voltage needed by the pump. Let's say it's a 200W 120V pump. So you'll probably want at least 350W (and perhaps more) worth of PV panels. Why the extra? Because a 120V pump can't be run from the DC output of the panel. You need an inverter to take the DC and convert it to AC at 120V. Similarly with a 12V pump you will need a converter to take the 40V or so you get out of a common PV panel and give you steady 12V for the pump.

You also need MORE wattage in your PV panels since conversion are less than 100% efficient. Also keep in mind that if you want to run your pump throughout the day, you will need enough power to run the pump when the sun is lower in the sky. So if you want to run it 8-10 hours a day you may need 700W or more of panels. (If you indicated where you are located some more specific information could be provided.)

  • I am in the United States. – Village Jun 17 '20 at 19:04
  • That's not really helpful. The USA goes from above the Arctic Circle to below the Tropic of Cancer. The solar characteristics vary widely between those two. – jwh20 Jun 17 '20 at 19:13

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