What level of sunlight do you need to power an average solar powered water feature?
Do you need direct sunshine for a certain number of hours or is even 1 hour of dull daylight enough? Nearly all solar power water fountains require direct sunlight to function, there are however, different options available. A sunlight only water fountain will only operate on when bright sunlight hits the solar panel, exactly as we are experiencing in this heat wave! In an alternative version the solar pump has a battery operated back up which allows the solar panel to charge up the battery and the feature will then operate from battery power - this will then function until the battery has fully drained of power. All of this type of Aqua Moda solar fountain include a mains adapter whereby you can also charge the battery indoors so not having to rely of the British sun! The final option is a solar panel which works both off the direct sun and battery backup - the sunlight powers the fountain through the solar panel and the solar panel will also use some of that gained electricity to charge the battery backup. You can choose to switch to battery operated by simply pressing a button, and the water feature will continue to work off the battery until it has drained. This type also has a mains adapter to also charge the battery.
What is the difference - in terms of design possibilities/lighting options/ water fall height between mains powered, solar powered and battery powered water features?
This is determined by the size of the pump rather than the solar panel, the higher the LPH (litres per hour) the more lift it will give the water fall. Of course, the stronger the pump will need a larger solar panel with more solar components. Mains powered pumps can push water flow much higher with solar pumps only able to manage 1550LPH maximum (with 2 large solar panels) compared to the mains powered version which can push upwards of 250,000LPH!
What are the main benefits of a solar powered water feature?
• Zero Running fees once purchased
• No electrical wiring into the house
• Environmentally friendly (harness the power of the sun!)
Is it possible to adapt an existing water feature to solar power? How do you go about doing this? Is this something a home owner can do or a job for the professionals?
A homeowner could do this, they would just need to do their research! You would need to know the height the water has to lift which determines the size of the pump required which determines how big a solar panel you would need.
How has solar powered improved over the past few years? what are the next innovations the UK homeowner/gardener can expect to see?
Moving towards more powerful solar panels, better technology and functionality such as dry pump cut off to prolong life of pump, more programming in the chips such as the sun only then switch over to battery mode. Moving away from lead acid batteries to lithium packs, last more cycles before failure. Next innovation would be hybrid pumps which can link to mains electric and then use solar when viable, great if you need reliable pump action 24 7 but expensive and a hassle for home owner as they like the simplicity of solar only.
Find out more information from our dedicated solar water features page