Is Solar Water Pumping the Winner?

System TypeAdvantagesDisadvantages
Solar Electric Power System1. Low Maintenance
2. Clean
3. No Fuel Needed
4. Easy to Install
5. Reliable Long Life
6. Unattended Operation
7. Low Recurrent Costs
8. The System is Modular and can be Matched Closely to the Need
1. Relatively High Initial Cost
2. Lower Output in Cloudy Weather
Diesel (or Gas) Power System1. Moderate Capital Costs
2. Portability
3. Extensive Experience Available
4. Easy to Install
1. Needs Maintenance and Eventual 2. Replacement
3. Maintenance is Often Inadequate, Reducing Its Life
4. Fuel Costs are on the Rise
5. Noise, Dirt, and Fumes Problem
6. Site Visits Necessary
Windmill1. Potentially Long Lasting
2. Works Well in a Windy State
1. High Maintenance
2. Costly Repairs Needed
3. Difficulty in Locating Parts
4. Seasonal Disadvantages
5. Requires Special Tools to Work on
6. Labor Intensive
7. No Wind = No Power = No Water

Rancher Concerns

With cattle prices fluctuating frequently and being difficult to forecast, the cost of getting water to the cattle has become one of a rancher’s main monetary concerns. Every dollar wasted on an inefficient watering system is a dollar of profit out of the rancher’s pocket. When faced with a need for a new watering system or to repair an old one, the natural thought is to look at the option with the lowest initial cost, but this does not always translate to being the most cost-effective option in the long run.

A wise rancher will not only look at the initial price but also consider the long-term costs along with the reliability of the pumping system. Efficient watering systems can help boost the rancher’s profits in subsequent years, and often a solar pumping system will pay for itself in the first 2-3 years of use.

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