U.S. Water News Online
AMARILLO, Texas -- An estimated 6 million windmills stand
in American pastures, and another 2,000 are added yearly.
An Amarillo company would like to change the landscape with a
submersible pump that can be powered by the sun.
Danish manufacturer Grundfos chose SunBelt Pump & Supply Ltd.
for one of three test sites in the world for the pumping system it
calls SQ Flex, said Matthew Beasley, head of SunBelt Pump.
The conversion from the venerable steel and wood structures that
dot the prairie to modern technology is likely to be slow, Beasley
Solar systems have been tried in the past with little success.
Beasley said recent technology has advanced the SQ pumping system
beyond those earlier attempts.
Grundfos, which has sold more than 10 million pumps worldwide each
year, selected the High Plains, Australia and South Africa for test
Beasley set up test sites near Clarendon and Pecos in Texas and
Santa Fe, N.M. In Pecos and Clarendon. The test sites are located on
ranches. In Santa Fe, the system is being used to provide water for a
Because the system can draw power from a solar panel, wind
turbines or diesel-powered generators, the system does not need an
electric line, Beasley said. That saves costs for isolated locations.
The depth of the well dictates the number of solar panels
required, he said.
The matching calculations mean that the SQ system is less likely
to overpump groundwater than a traditional windmill, Beasley said.
Joe Morrow of 4M Water Well Service in Clarendon, which is a
dealer for the system, said the four-panel solar system -- the
minimum for a solar-powered well -- can provide 10 gallons a minute
at 80 feet or 4 gallons a minute at 200 feet.
Flow restrictors can limit flow to 2 gallons a minute, he said.
Beasley said the SQ system is an improvement over previous
alternative energy water pumps because it is stainless steel. The BP
solar panels put out 43 watts of electricity at 123 volts instead of
the usual 12 or 24 volts, he said, and is designed to withstand a
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