Co-op members use solar to pump water

By Ben Delman on February 23, 2017

Solar water pumpLike many co-op members, Middle Peninsula Solar Co-op member John Elkin worked with the group to go solar on his home. But, John also worked with the co-op to have a three-panel ground mounted system installed on farm property in Gloucester. The system provides electricity to a small water pump for Elkin’s 189-acre farm.

“The nearest electric lines were close to a mile away, so it would cost about $100,000 to get electricity,” Elkin said. “That’s why I went with solar.”

Elkin’s pump can provide 12 gallons of water per minute, far more he says, than his well can provide. “As we speak, it’s producing three gallons per minute.”

The pump is powered by Direct Current (DC) electricity, meaning there’s no need for an inverter, which is found on most home solar systems. Inverters change the DC electricity generated by solar panels to Alternating Current (AC), which is used by most homes and appliances. There is a tank to store the pumped water as well as a pond for when the tank gets full.

Elkin leases some of his land for a farmer, while using the remaining space for a combination of beekeeping and timber.

The well was drilled about a year ago. Elkin had been interested in adding a solar powered pump, and when the co-op came along, that provided a great opportunity for him to go solar.