August 2022

Introducing the Ranch Water Gazette. We’re here to de-mystify solar pumping and support every off-grid water journey – without the need for a power company. Our monthly publication is a collection of educational and timely information about water access, pumping, solar, ranch power and water independence from around United States of America – inspired by all the amazing customers we serve here at RPS Solar Pumps. We’re honored to serve you and become a teammate in your solar pump planning and installation.

Ode to the Rancher, the Farmer and the Off Grid Pioneer…

To those not afraid of hard work. Not afraid of rolling up their sleeves and fixing something that is broken or building something new. To those that honor their land, their animals and their heritage. To those growing food, feeding animals, working the land, harvesting their own power from the sun, pumping their own water. To pioneers and problem solvers. To self reliance and independence. We, here at RPS Solar Pumps, salute you. Cheers to you.  



COLORADO – Fall calving sneaks up after a busy summer, next thing you know snow is on the ground. 

“Where we live it is so cold that you have to protect your pump from freezing. Our weep hole was a little bit too big so I had to pull the pump back up and tape that weep hole which is about 3-4 feet below the surface (of the well). I drilled a smaller hole and that really helped the situation. The well itself only produced 1.5 gallons per minute. I really liked that power switch that you can control from a number 1 to a number 10, we’re on about a number 2, it’s really nice to be able to tailor the power to the amount of water that the well would produce. I turned that dial up to 3 and it just quit because it ran out of water, it’s pretty easy to dials it in, you just keep backing your dial off until your pump keeps running steadily.  Because of the dial, we could control the power and the well didn’t really run out of water, so we didn’t need to use the timer to kick it back on.” 

Make sure to install that frost free hydrant, weep hole or check valve BEFORE temperatures drop to avoid any accidents.

PRO TIP: Drill a 1/16″ weep hole in the drop pipe just below the frost line in your area (3-5 feet), any bigger than 3/16″ and the system will loose too much water while pumping.

This Rancher Used…

RPS 200 Top-of-Pole Solar Mount kit

PENNSYLVANIA – “We can see 100 degree weather in the summer and we can see 0 degree weather in the winter.” Says Joshua of Pennsylvania. “We have 70 pairs that we run across these two farms and doing all our own back-grounding and stocking. Everything is out all the time even in extreme temperatures so I needed to be able to supply water no matter when. There are no barns, and the cows are outside all the time, in all honesty they do better out there anyways. This was a nice addition to getting water where we don’t have it and we can expand going forward this way fairly affordably. We’ve evolved into using a management practice in intensive grazing. We’re kind of above the fescue belt, our pastures are pretty heavily fescued with orchard grass we have some rolling hills and the cows can walk up one hill and down the other and we’ll have water for them as they go across. On another property they have what’s called a punched out well. At some point around here they had hand dug wells and at some point they decided to “punch” them out and put in a casing. They built a cinder block box around the well and the pressure tank, so I can’t say that it was originally my idea i just took the concept from them.

Because my well is so isolated away from any kind of structure I didn’t want a structure that had to be insulated. NRCS talked about a couple different examples, like burying the tanks, but I wanted something that was a little more solid. There are some concrete pre-cast businesses 60 miles away and I called them. 

I was looking for a manhole riser that came out of the ground and was square, and then after talking with them a couple different times they came up with the thing that I bought, it’s called a well observation pit. For the money, it was $340 for that whole concrete thing, really not that big of a deal, was pretty affordable. Everything is sitting on a couple of cinder blocks just in case the concrete observation pit floods. 

We have the RPS 400, so we have 4 solar panels. I talked with Katelyn three or four times before I actually bought, she figured out the head that we have to size the pump. She told me the batteries were basically a must if I wanted to use it in the winter on a pressurized system, so I bought the 48V battery bank, I bought a little big bigger than what we actually need, currently I thought it was better to have a little more water on daily basis in case we wanted to expand or our cow numbers go up. We really should keep the batteries out of the weather and I just ran the lines down into the pit. We have a pressure tank set at 30/50 and 1 inch diameter pipeline going 1,700 feet across the farm. Every 300 feet I have a quick connect coupler buried in the ground that connects to a trough, so every 300 feet I have water. 


TEXAS – Why are Ranchers are liquidating cattle in Texas? Check out this article by Greg Henderson on Drovers.com, where he states, “Rapid, unseasonal herd liquidation has been forced on ranchers by a perfect storm of widespread drought, meager profit margins, rising feed and operating costs, and surprisingly high prices for cutter cows. The result is a shrinking factory for calf production that some stakeholders see as alarming.”

That might sound worrying at face value, but The Texas Farm Bureau reported some nuance on the issue…   “Beef cow slaughter has been running over 80,000 head a week,” Anderson said. “We’ve had several weeks in a row over that level, and that’s the biggest cow slaughter in a decade.”

“Most people depend on dirt tanks or ponds to water their herds,” he said. “If they run out feed, hay and water, they don’t have a choice but to either move their cows somewhere or sell them.”

“While this is a sad situation for the Texas cattle sector, there could be a silver lining for those ranchers who can stay in business…This is a scenario similar to the 2011 drought, where the cow herd was reduced, and cattle prices hit record highs in the years that followed.”

Good news -“Five days after the sale, Emory, Texas received a thunderstorm and hope of improvement in the current drought status—at least in the short term. Rain totals measured .75 inches after the storm…”

Solar Pump to combat drought conditions? Sounds like we’re in for another couple year drought cycle. Wells might produce less water than normal and can’t support a previously installed 20 GPM AC pump. DC solar pumps can pump low and slow all day into tanks, even at 5 GPM you’ll get 1,900 gallons of water per 6 hours! All of our solar pumps have adjustable flow rates, dial it in as your needs change.     

TEXAS – Cowboys and Solar Panels?
Yes the combination does exist! Daniel Trevino (on the right) and his family figured out the perfect summer tilt angle for their Texas ranch using our Top-of-Pole ADJUSTABLE solar panel mount kit.  

Seasons change, and so does the angle of the sun. To optimize solar panels and get the most out of your RPS Pump, the Top of Pole Mount Kit allows you to adjust the angle for spring, summer, fall and winter. Are you a one angle kind of guy? Use the ‘Fixed Angle’ option to find out what the optimal angle is for your location, regardless of the season! (Click image at bottom for the easy to use RPS Tilt Angle Calculator)


With water being more valuable than in past years, we hear lots of ranchers that are adding shut-off systems into their system designs to prevent the evaporation of overflow water. More and more we are hearing about electrical sensors and mechanical floats replacing overflowing tanks. 

Whatever you decide, there are a variety of different ways to execute. Ideally like with AC powered pumps, it’s ideal not to be running or “deadheading” when the water is not flowing. With solar we have the option of using pressure switches and different types of sensors that can turn the pump on and off slowly (slow start slow stop). A few are shown at right but feel free to ask any of our specialist for the most popular current trends and ideas in shutoff. 


WISCONSIN – Winner of June’s Customer Photo of the Month: Helmut in Wisconsin. He wanted to create a pond to act as a water source for his 40 acre deer hunting property. His well is about 60 feet deep and the pond is on the smaller size, 50 square feet and about 3 feet deep. We sized Helmut for an RPS 200, which is just happily pumping along continuously throughout the day. He sent us a note… “MAKE SURE AND TELL EVERYONE HOW HAPPY I AM WITH MY TURN-KEY RPS SOLAR PUMP. THANKS FOR THE HAT “


WATER LEVEL – Ways to Measure your Wells Static Water Level RPS co-owner Mike shows that you can use Pro gadgets to measure static water level, but some rope and a water bottle can work just as well. Video here.

  1. Visually
  2. Dropping a Rock & Measuring Fall Time
  3. Fishing Line and Water Bottle
  4. Tape Measure with Weight
  5. Professional Well Measuring Device

TERMS – Here at RPS, we understand that the terminology and functions of your well can be, overWELLming. We want to make it easy for you. RPS’s Solar Pump Academy has great resources for you to learn bit by bit. Start with the diagram here: Anatomy of Well + Terms .


POLY VS PVC – Poly pipe is fast becoming the most common and efficient way to install a submersible well pump. With most well depths up to 350′ the 160psi HDPE Black Poly Pipe shown here is the top choice for well pumps and solar well pumps. 

In CTS, tube dimensions are specified by an exact OD and a tube wall thickness, calculated into a SDR. 

In IPS, pipe dimensions are defined by a nominal OD (which is different from the measured or actual OD) and a “schedule” or SIDR that relates to pipe wall thickness.
** Included in RPS “Turnkey” kits and recommended across the board

Choosing Barbed Insert fittings. If using a stainless steel pump, it’s generally recommended to use the same metal with any fittings threaded into the pump. We like Stainless steel. Be sure you have a tight fitting of the barb insert into the poly pipe with any barb you use. Better to need to heat the poly pipe to push the barb in then have it be loose. Stainless steel hose clamps are vital here. 

PRO TIP – tighten hose clamps with a socket instead of a screwdriver to get tighter while poly pipe is warm. 

SDR stands for “Standard Diameter Ratio” which is the outside diameter divided by the wall thickness. SIDR stands for Standard Inside Diameter Ratio” which is the inside diameter divided by the wall thickness. The higher the number, the thinner the wall thickness.


FARMER RECEIVES $250,000 WATER BILL – We’ve been keeping an eye on the increasing rates for electricity and water. Appalachia’s Homestead with Patara’s videos, discusses an email from a farmer who received a $250,000 electricity bill for just one month of pumping water – who can afford to pay that? 

The farmer also reported that their remaining cattle are drinking higher quantities than usual and they’re leaning on water storage more than ever.  

Pro Tip: Our solar pump specialists recommend integrating about 3 days of backup storage water into systems – just in case there’s a few days where you’re unable to pump water.  So if your animals drink 1,000 gallons of water per day, have your solar pump fill a 3,000 gallon storage tank that gravity feed to stock tanks. Keeps water fresher, cooler and avoids evaporation! 

HEIDI’S GOT HOMESTEAD TIPS! – Heidi covers how to get a homestead loan, growing fruit trees and her personal soil recommendations. Short but packed with information!    

888-637-4493 RPS Water Assurance™ guarantees you’ll have the right pump before you install! Click to size online or call 888-637-4493
Pump Sizing & Pricing >>

 - CORRESPONDENCE FROM THE FIELD -Do you have a news story or update from your part of the world about water, solar pumping  animals, farms or ranches? Send a letter to our owners (Mike from the videos is one!) at [email protected], and your insight might be shared in the next newsletter!  

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