Solar Irrigation Cart Project For Garden, Orchard, Livestock Watering

Solar Irrigation Cart Project For Garden, Orchard, Livestock Watering

When you have lemons, make lemonade?  A damaged 250 watt 24 volt solar panel and a shipping damaged SHURflo 2088 pump have come together to make a roll around solar irrigation cart that will deliver about 3 gallons per minute from Neal Creek at our farm.  See Neal Creek Farm if you are interested.  Note that Toby, the world's biggest smallest dog has been overseeing this project.  He loves the creek and is a stalwart advocate of all things solar. The 250 watt panel was accidentally drilled through the glass during installation, shattering the glass.  We epoxied up the hole and coated the glass with clear polyurethane.  The panel is fully functional with a very slight loss of power.  A SHURflo 2088 water pump was damaged in shipment - the pressure switch housing was fractured making the pump leak.  So we removed the switch and expoxied up the hole.  The pump works fine for this application. At Neal Creek Farm we have our amazing creek that flows about 800 gallons per minute, clear and cold for about 3/8ths of a mile through the property.  We have gardens, fruit trees, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries that are beside the creek over an area of about 200 yards.  We roll the cart up to the creek, put the intake hose in the creek, turn on the pump and use several hundred feet of garden hose to irrigate where needed.

We made a 2 by 4 wooden frame to support the panel and provide a structure to mount some additional components.  The cart wheels came from Amazon.  $35 each.  The axels are 5/8 inch bolts that are partially threaded.  The wheels come with both 5/8 and 3/4 ball  bearings and changing them out is easy.

The solar panel is attached to the cart with 4 Z-bracket panel mounts and stainless steel lag screws with washers.

To keep the weight down we reinforced the corners of the wood frame with some 3.5 inch wide angle brackets from Home Depot.  Use bolts and screws!  Nails are for manicures.

We added a 5/4 pressure treated deck board cross member screwed to the back of the frame to mount a weatherproof enclosure which contains a terminal strip to make the connections between the solar panel positive and negative pigtails, a 7 amp linear current booster and a weatherproof on off switch wired to the pump.  Note the SHURflo screen on the intake hose.  If you are pumping from turbid water, you would likely want to use a filter as well as the screen.

The hose attachments to the pump are a SHURflo product, braided reinforced flexible vinyl  with 1/2 inch NPT fittings on both ends.  We have these in stock.

We used a couple of 3/4 inch plastic conduit clamps to loosely attach two brass 1/2 inch NPT sill cocks with 5/8 inch hose threads so that they protrude just outside the wood frame for garden hose attachment.  The loose attachment makes connecting the garden hoses easier, more wiggle room. What is not yet done: a garden cart or wheel barrow set of handles to make walking the cart around easier.  And a set of tilt legs that will attached to the top outside of the wooden frame to make the cart more stable in the laying down position. Besides pumping from the creek, we have several hundred gallon or more rain catchment tubs under the eaves of the barn that we use for watering our 40-50 chickens.  We can pump from these when needed.  We can move the cart down the creek and pump water up to livestock watering tubs in multiple paddocks along the creek.  We can also pump water uphill on the west side of the creek to water what will eventually be about 30 raised bed gardens.  The creek is to the left in this view.  The 40-50 feet elevation rise will reduce the pump flow. 

How does it work?  In full sun and with even with some clouds or light overcast the linear current booster is driving the pump at full capacity of about 3 gallons per minute.  Even during heavy overcast days at mid day, the pump is pumping about a gallon per minute.  Linear current boosters are amazing. Cost if you were starting from scratch? Less than $800. For pricing and applications assistance to pick the right SHURflo water pump for your application, please contact us.