Pool Pumps and Heaters

Pool pumps and heaters typically represent the second largest residential and commercial  power load behind HVAC. Residential pools can be effectively turned and filtered by running the pump during the daylight hours, making them an ideal candidate for offloading from the grid. In areas of high power costs such as Califonia, Hawaii, the Carribean, and parts of Southern Europe, being able to offload the operation of the pump can represent dramtic cost savings.

Commercial pool operators not only need to operate their pumps for longer or continuous duty cycles, they typically have water features such as fountains or waterfalls that require a constant flow rate regardless of the cloud cover. SunTech Drive’s power blending functionality allows for these features to operate consistently as clouds pass by or as day turns to night. During cloud cover, the system seamlessly “blends” power from the solar array and the power grid. This allows for the maximum offloading of energy cost to solar without sacrificing any performance. For commercial operators this has the added benefit of being able to market their green eco-friendly credentials to customers with visible solar panels, signage, and even a real-time display showing the offloading of the pool pump.

Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation is an ideal application for solar pumping. The inherent rural nature of agriculture leads to high upfront costs of bringing grid power to the fields. The cost of diesel in rural and remote areas can make diesel generators or diesel driven pumps impractical.

Historically, drip irrigation has been deployed using one large, central pump coupled with an industrial variable frequency drive or a large shaft driven diesel pump. The central pump distributes water to numerous zones via a series of valves. This architecture has multiple inefficiencies and limitations. The centralized pump and motor drive represent single points of failure for the entire system. The centralization of a single pump also creates challenges in keeping numerous irrigation zones balanced and requires multiple zoning valves. By moving to a distributed architecture where each zone is powered by its own autonomous solar powered pump with a VFD controller, all of these issues are eliminated. There is no longer any single point of failure. Each zone can now be individually controlled allowing for easier flexibility in managing a variety of crops. The operating expense of powering a large industrial pump off of either the power grid or diesel goes away. Since the smaller pumps are manufactured at such dramatically higher volumes than the larger devices, the overall capex investment also is reduced. The PicoCell’s sensor management capabilities allow for zone specific integration of soil moisture and other sensors. The optional WiFi communications module allows for remote management of the system at a granular level.

Livestock Watering

Livestock watering is an application perfectly suited to off-grid solar pumping. While a ranch may have grid power, remote pastures often do not. Installing grid power out to the pastures is not cost effective nor are the ongoing operating expenses windmills or diesel driven pumps.

SunTech Drive offers turnkey kits that include the pump, an appropriately sized solar array complete with panels, racking, cabling, disconnect and the PicoCell to control it all. The well pumping kit also works with a genset or electricity backup. The small sized universal controller is weather proof, durable, automatic, and only requires a simple hook up. An optional float switch can also be added to turn off the pump when the tank is full, or when the well is low. The integrated Variable Frequency Drive will run motors even at lower solar output, which will extend the useful pumping time. One small PicoCell device now integrates the functions of an inverter, VFD, MPPT controller, and voltage boost with automatic control.

Aquaculture

Modern aquaculture science relies on the use of aeration to optimize yields in both fresh and salt water installations. Since these facilities are often in very remote areas without a ubiquitous power grid or on Islands where the cost of electrical power is extremely high, Aquaculture is an ideal candidate for the use of solar power.

Due to the need to provide aeration after dark to maintain critical O2 levels once natural photosynthesis driven oxygenation has ceased, solar power alone is often not sufficient. SunTech’s Pico architecture addresses this with its combination of PicoCell solar controllers and Hybrid Controller modules. The combination of these devices allows for the seamless blending of power from solar and other sources such as the grid, diesel gensets, and batteries. The SunTech Drive powered system works equally well with pump, compressor or paddle wheel driven aeration.

As cloud cover comes over the panels or day turns to night, the system will automatically draw power from the grid or other sources as needed to maintain full power. In areas of high power cost where only periodic night time operation is required, the system can be run in a timer mode to further reduce operating costs.

Pond Aeration

SunTech Drive’s turnkey fountain kits are pre-configured and simple to install. Our turnkey solar kits can retreat existing fountains for solar. The optional SolProtect module provide full ground fault protection for safety.

Decorative or aerating fountains are a popular feature in ponds. In addition to fountains for agricultural and decorative ponds, many are being added to bodies of standing water as a means of mosquito control, particularly in areas impacted by the Zika virus. Since these fountains are often installed in bodies of standing water where grid power is not available and prohibitively expensive to extend, solar power is the answer. The PicoCell decreases or eliminates overall electrical power costs by powering your pond fountain, aviator or compressor off of solar power. Using free solar power can improve your pond health by increasing oxygenation and turning over your pond thermocline.

Evaporation Pond

Evaporation ponds are used in a variety of industries including oil & gas, mining and salt farming. Whether the objective is to evaporate waste water or harvest salt, the approach is the same. Applying energy to atomize water or otherwise accelerate the passive rate of evaporation needs to be done cost effectively. Many installations today rely on diesel powered pumps or generators which are only marginally profitable when compared to a power blending system.

SunTech Drive has developed sophisticated evaporation pond solutions incorporating surface based elements such as misting nozzles and liner drip lines during the winter months the system switches to subsurface elements such as compressed air diffusers. All of these mechanical elements are driven by common solar PV assets to optimize ROI. The system is comprised of multiple autonomous zones each driven by small pumps and compressors taking advantage of the variable drive and voltage boost capability of the PicoCell. Integral communications and sensor inputs allow for the incorporation of sophisticated sensor networks measuring wind speed and direction, air and water temperature, humidity, etc. Enhanced evaporation rates up to 6x the passive rate can be achieved with little variable operating expense. ROIs can be less than 1 year.