Building a Solar Power Fountain – Design, Cost and Elbow Grease Variety for Every Personality
Building a solar power fountain is a DIY project that can be undertaken by all ages and all skill levels. There is almost no electrical wiring, and little risk of shock, since pumps and PV modules work very well together. A decent solar power water fountain is about $100, and the outdoor project is fun and educational for kids and teens. Water flows when its sunny, and slows when cloudy, and shows just how the sun's rays can be harnessed for practical applications.
If you want a decent size backyard solar power fountain and nature centerpiece, you can build a really nice display for around $300, or a full-fledged koi pond for about $500. That is, if you handle all the elbow grease yourself, using free natural resources such as rocks and plants.
All solar power water fountains will usually require these basics; wiring, a power supply, the fountain, a lower pond or reservoir, a pump and the necessary tubing. You can mix and match parts, or you can also purchase all-in-one solutions that contain a plastic “pond”, pump, PV cell and wiring. You simply put in place, add rocks, plants and water, and your solar power water fountain is up and running.
But before you begin any solar fountain project, you need to know how the technology works. When the sun shines, the upper reservoir fills gradually. When the upper reservoir is either too full, or the sun disappears, water is bled off by the overflow spout or fountain. One really nice feature of larger solar power fountains is the large upper water reservoir. This is used to regulate even water flow in changing sunlight, and allows you to save water for use when you are nearby and can enjoy it more.
If you envision a much larger display, and do most of the back-breaking physical labor yourself, you can use a larger, more expensive solar power fountain as the center of a very elaborate, natural display. And using indigenous rocks and plants already in your yard means no cost other than the pump and solar power water fountain. You can spend from $20 to $20,000, the options are available for all sizes and designs. And you can employ all-in-one kits, or mix and match a pump, PV module and fountain.
But if you want to start off slow, you only need to connect two wires from a DC pump motor to a PV module and you are in business. The sun does the rest of the work, and when the sun shines, the brook babbles. Where does that wonderful sound come from? Water trickling is supplied by three different sources, a water control valve, pump tube and overflow spout. And by monitoring different times of day, you can find your favorite sounds and realize the full enjoyment your solar power fountain has to offer.
The design and job of a solar power water fountain is limited only by your imagination, pocketbook and level of physical labor desired. You can build mini-fountains in an afternoon, or cascading solar power fountains intricately flowing through several layers of massive rock and earth that take a month to complete. And you can channel the water-flow for any number of jobs, even designing for night-time enjoyment.
How about a backyard Niagara Falls, or a quiet, gentle sliding solar power water fountain? The choice is all yours, and you can add koi, goldfish, water plants and flowers that will attract animals like raccoons, birds, rabbits and squirrels. The more intricate you get, you will have to learn about water flow, valves, electricity and more, but the payoff is a peaceful, calm backyard oasis that helps wash your worldly worries away. Remember, larger systems are more labor-intensive, but not more complex. The same basics apply to all solar power fountain projects.