How does the Futurepump SF2 solar pump work?

The SF2 solar irrigation pump is a simple piston pump which runs on energy collected from the sun.

How the SF2 solar powered water pump works

The Futurepump SF2 solar water pump works via a series of interconnected parts. The work together to convert the suns energy into mechanical energy which draws water through the pump.

  1. PV to MOTOR: 120W of solar PV panels power the DC motor on the pump
  2. MOTOR to PULLEY: The motor then turns a pulley; the pulley can be placed in two gears (this optimises the pump for higher and lower lifts) The larger pulley setting is for low lifts this optimises for higher flowrate. The smaller pulley setting is for high lifts, this makes it easier for the pump to push water up.
  3. PULLEY to FLYWHEEL: The pulley rests on the flywheel and makes it turn
  4. FLYWHEEL to PISTON: The combination of the main shaft, bearings and a yoke change the rotational flywheel motion into an up and down force. This force moves a piston up and down in the pump cylinder.
  5. THE PUMP: Inside the pump there are two valves, they ensure the pump sucks water in on the up stroke and pushes water out on the down stroke.

What are those air vessels on the pump?

The air vessels on either side of the pump cylinder make the pump more efficient as it evens out the pulsating water flow caused by the up and down motion of the piston.

View of the SF2 solar water pump showing the two air vessels - black tubes each side of the pump cylinder
View of the SF2 solar water pump showing the air vessels (black tubes either side of the pump cylinder)

The Futurepump SF2 solar water pumping system

The SF2 solar water pump can be used in a wide variety of locations as long as there is sun and a suitable water source (shallow well, river, lake…).

How does a solar pump work? A line diagram showing the total head for the Futurepump SF2 solar pump. On the inlet side water can be lifted from a maximum of 7 m and has a total head of 15 m.
Diagram showing the suction, discharge and total lift of the SF2 solar pump. Suction lift + discharge lift = total lift

At shallow heads, the Futurepump SF2 can deliver up to 1 l/s, which is 3,600 l/hr.

  • Inlet side vertical suction limit: 7 metres
  • Maximum total vertical lift: 15 metres
  • Horizontal discharge: 500m+

See how the Futurepump SF2 solar powered water pump works in this video:

Talking through the SF2 solar water pump with Product Manager, Martina

Some extra questions from our customers:

How does a solar cell work?

A solar panel works by allowing particles of light (photons) to release electrons from atoms causing a flow of electricity. Many photovoltaic (PV) cells combine to make a solar panel.

Does solar work in winter?

As covered in our solar myth busting post. Solar PV panels produce electrical energy from UV light (from the sun), so anywhere it is daylight, the panel will produce electricity. Temperature is not related to UV rays and therefore does not affect the panels ability to produce electricity, in fact, it has been found that panels in cooler climates are slightly more efficient.

Cloud can have an effect by blocking a percentage of the direct UV rays, but this does not stop the panel from producing electricity, it may just produce a bit less!

Does solar work at night?

No. Solar PV panels require UV light which is only available when there is daylight. Instead of pumping water at night, Futurepump customers often pump to raised tanks during the day and use gravity flow to water their crops at dusk and dawn – this method makes the most efficient use of free solar energy without the need for a battery as batteries are expensive and do not last for long.

How does a solar irrigation system work?

Interested in finding out more? We’ve got the blog for you…check out our “What is solar irrigation?” post.

More questions?

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