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Solar Piston Water Pumps For Off-Grid Homestead On The Hill


Top photo: The spring-fed pond we pump water from. Our house with the red roof sits on the hill above the pond .

The Amazing Solar Pump

We wanted to build our house on the hill with its maximum exposure to the sun and breath-taking mountain and ocean views. But the problem was that our ex-gravel quarry property had no water up at the top but tons of water in the form of ponds, creeks, springs, and waterfall 110 feet down in the meadow. What to do? Well, we built the house up on the steep hill anyway and left the rest to nature. For 5 years, we hand-watered everything from the rainwater and swamp water we collected in cisterns. Then we found out about the solar-powered piston pump that can push water over 100 feet up the hill with lots of water pressure to spare! Thankfully, we have water down below to pump from.

We now enjoy unlimited water in our garden, which is a huge relief. It's much easier to water with a hose than to hand-carry water in cans. Plus, our hay mulch breaks down faster into soil under moist conditions; otherwise our drought spell of 4 or 5 months really dries up the hay until the fall rains. The salad greens are a lot easier to grow and more tender if they are watered consistently through the summer months. The mulberries bear a lot more with water, too. Even the figs appreciate the extra gallons. All the plants, even the cactus, appreciates the little extra water we are now able to give them.

With a solar piston pump, we can also supply our ponds up by the house with water through the summer. The geese, ducks, and wildlife around the ponds sure appreciate it.

When the sun shines, the pump turns on automatically (it goes ka-chuk, ka-chuk, pushing a heavy column of water up a steep hill), and of course when it's sunny is when we need the water the most, so everything is perfect. We collect some water in reservoirs for cloudy days so that we can still water by hand if the need arises. In winter, there's not much sun but lots of rain, so we don't need the pump to run anyway. It all works out perfectly in the end.

We connect a one-and-a-quarter inch pipe to our solar-powered piston pump, which pushes water up to our garden, where we channel the water into a network of pipes to which garden hoses are connected. Valves with shut-offs direct water to where it's needed. The water pressure is incredible; nozzles and watering guns work perfectly to provide different types of watering pressure suited to different plants. To us, having watered our big garden by hand for years, the simple joy of being to walk around with a hose to douse the whole garden with unlimited water is indescribable. Our neighbors and friends simply don't understand why we are so hyped up about the solar pump. If you're connected to the grid, then you may take for granted where your power or water come from. Not us! Having lived totally off the grid for many years, we have learned to appreciate even the smallest, simplest things. Big things like the solar pump is a true, life-changing blessing.

What a great invention the solar piston pump is!

This is the solar piston pump which is powered by direct current from the two solar panels. It pushes the water 110 feet up the hill through 300 feet of plumbing pipes to our cliff-top garden.

View of the pump and pond from 110 feet up at the top of the cliff.