Solar Waterfall

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Our site is ideal for a water feature ... a rather dramatic water fall.  After discussing this with various landscape companies, it appeared that to power the waterfall would cost around $25-30 per month in electricity.  As our goal is to be zero net energy, this was a problem.

So, we decided to build a solar system to run the waterfall.  When the sun was out, we would like to be in the garden, and the waterfall would run.  When it was cloudy or at night, the waterfall would turn off,and we would be less likely to be outside in any event.

Thus, we settled on a DC electric pump. DC (direct current) power is the type of electricity generated by solar panels vs AC (alternating current) power that we are accustomed to in our homes and offices. The benefit of a DC pump will not be lost converting it to AC and there is no cost for an inverter.

Jeremy Smithson, Puget Sound Solar, from Seattle did the main solar electric system for the house and has designed the solar water feature.  As we performed other tasks such as pouring the concrete foundation, we poured a base for the pump and the support for the pole to support the array. As Brad Thorkildsen's plumbing team did the initial plumbing work, we had them install the pump.

In other words, we planned the project and steps to be completed in a holistic rather than project basis.

Six solar panels are mounted on a tracking devise that keeps the array perpendicular to the sun as in moves across the sky.  This will provide a constant electrical current to the pump.  Even when there is some fog or thin clouds the array continues to deliver power to the pump and keep the waterfall flowing.

It also looks great and is a real conversation item ... high tech garden art.

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We welcome your comments on this site.
You can email Christine Garst at
cbgarst@aol.com
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