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The Challenge: 

Supply water to livestock using a solar powered pump.

Gavin Fowler and his family own Boode Farm in Braunton Devon. They have around 600 acres of land, 90 acres of this is away from the main holding and is used for summer grazing. In the spring and summer up to 150 cattle are moved into this grazing so it is imperative that a constant water supply is available.

Agricultural pumps

Gavin explained he was using a petrol pump but was finding it unreliable and costly (about £700 a year) so he had decided to start looking for an alternative solution.

Gavin got in touch with a local company called Forest Builders who specialise in wind turbine and solar PV technologies and with whom we collaborate. He spoke to Wayne (owner of Forest builders) who went through the options available. It was decided that a solar powered pumping system would be the best solution.

agricultural pump

The solution

Wayne contacted us and once we had gathered all the information we specified a Grundfos SQF 1.2-3 solar powered borehole pump with a IO50 switch box (solar panels were supplied by Forest builders).

A Grundfos SQF 1.2-3 was installed a couple of feet down in a collection chamber next to a shed to house the controls and pipework. The solar panels were installed on the roof of the shed and an overflow was installed next to the stream so any unused water would flow back into the stream and would not be wasted.

Gavin made his own water indicator using a long white stick with a float attached to the bottom. He placed it down a hole using black tape he indicated a quarter from the bottom and a quarter from the top, when the black tape is showing the water is 1/3 full Gavin can then turn the pump on and when the tape indicated it is 1/2 from the top Gavin then turns the pump off. This is a very easy and cost effective way of keeping an eye on the water level.

From designing the layout to installing the pump and panels took around 7 hours, and Gavin should start to see a payback in about 2-3 years time.

Gavin is very happy so far with the outcome and is looking forward to reaping the benefits of his new solar pumping system.

It has now been over a year since the installation and Gavin is still very pleased with his decision to switch to a solar pumping system. Gavin says using the new system is much easier than having to pump with a petrol engine once or twice a day.

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