Solar Pumping for Water Supply

In many of the places we work, solar pumping is more economical than other power sources. It is particularly good when grid power is unreliable, and where managing diesel generators is a headache. Advantages include that solar pumping can be fully automated; there is no fuel to manage; and it is economical across much of the world.

Solar power is the preferred choice and the first option that all Oxfam projects should consider for off grid pumping.

Solar Pumping for Water Supply - The Book

Oxfam have been part of writing a book, which is a complete reference for solar powered pumping.

This book is based on five years’ work, including visiting over a hundred IDP and refugee camps and communities were visited in 12 different countries, during which hundreds of engineers were trained either in onsite events or via dedicated online training courses.

The book explains in simple and clear language not only the theoretical knowledge needed to understand the technology, but also the practicalities and lessons learnt relating to solar water pumping in humanitarian and development contexts.

Solar Pumping for Water Supply

It is also available in French:

Le pompage solaire pour l'approvisionnement en eau

Introduction to Solar Borehole Pumps

This Technical Brief is the best place to start. It introduces the different types of PV module, factors affecting solar energy production, where solar is viable, types of PV pumping systems, the components, sizing, costs and maintenance.

Oxfam Technical Brief 14: Solar powered borehole pumps

Global Solar Water Initiative

The Global Solar Water Initiative has created the Solar Hub, which provides many more resources, including case studies, guidance notes, and literature. A selection of key resources are below.

Template - Invitation to Tender

Criteria for Selection of Quality Solar Pumping Products & Services

Installation Control Checklist

Operation and Maintenance Toolkit for Communitites

Solar kits from the Oxfam Supply centre

Two solar kits are available from the Oxfam Supply Centre:

3" Borehole Pump Kit

A 3" pump for 4" boreholes, provides approximately 10 m³/day at 10-30 m total head.

4" Borehole Pump Kit

Maximum flexibility for larger boreholes according to borehole yield, daily water demand, and available solar energy.

Minimum Requirements

Planning & design