How Many Panels Do You Need To Run A Solar Pump? | Demystifying Solar Pumping


Hey there,

one of the questions we get asked frequently is “How many solar panels are needed to run a solar pump?’ The answer is not as straightforward as you would think, and there are a lot of things to consider when answering that question. So, let’s dive in and get started!

Two Classes of Pumps:

The number of solar panels needed to run a pump depends on the type of pump you have. There are two main classes of pumps:

  • Pumps specifically designed for solar
  • Classic AC pumps that can be adapted for solar

Pumps Designed for Solar:

These pumps are slightly more efficient and can run on anywhere from 200 watts (two 100-watt panels) to around 800 or 1,200 watts of power. They typically range from a quarter of a horsepower up to around one horsepower.

Classic AC Pumps:

We can run AC pumps with a specialized solar controller that RPS developed to run VFD’s on solar, called the Conversion Kit – for pumps up to 200 HP (check out the Big Ag Pump page for those larger HP pumps). The other option is to use our RPS Water Secure system, which is a big inverter that can operate these AC pumps with the added benefit of battery backup – for pumps up to 3HP.

Here’s some estimates on solar power for an AC pump – this varies depending on what kind of system you get but its a start! For a 1/2 horsepower pump, you’ll need about eight solar panels or 800 watts of power. If you need a larger system of up to 100 horsepower, you’ll require around 320 panels (each 375 watts) for a total of 120,000 watts of power.

Keep in mind that such large systems are not very common. Our most popular systems range from 1/2 horsepower to 10 horsepower, which is reasonable for installations in your field, home, or any other water supply that requires a larger volume.

To sum it up:

The number of solar panels needed to run a solar pump depends on the type and size of the pump, if you want to make sure you get the right sizing and pricing click here

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