Solar Powered Aquaponics

If you want to power your aquaponics pumps and aerator with solar power then there are a number of steps you will need to take. There may also be some cost associated with purchasing and assembling the needed equipment. But at the end of the day solar power for the aquaponics system will save you money and eliminate the need for running power lines from your home power box. This can especially be the case for powering the DC water pump, aerator, thermocouples, and charging the battery.

Instead of using electrical power from your house for the aquaponics garden, install a solar power system with a solar panel, controller, and DC submersible pond pump.

You want the solar panel to be exposed to the sun from the south to keep the battery charged. Remember that the pumps on the aquaponics system run continual. So you may have to provide some supplement the solar power at times when the battery is not fully charge enough to provide power to the pump.

Sunshine measurement

Before you begin investing money in solar power aquaponics you need to determine if it is possible. What you need to determine is the location where the maximum amount of sunlight would reach the solar panel.

A solar Pathfinder is a device that you can use to determine the amount of sunlight is available for possible locations. Only after you have found the location where is enough direct light that you should move to buying the required equipment for the solar system.

What you will need for a complete solar powered aquaponics garden:
 Submersible pond pump (DC power)
 Aquaponics fish tank and grow bed
 Photovoltaic solar panel
 Pump controller with a battery
 Wiring and hardware

Step 1: Build Your Aquaponics Garden

The first thing to do is to put grow bed, fish tank, and drain and flood system together for the aquaponics garden.  The purpose of the submersible pump is to make the water flow process work. Now it is time to  install the solar system to provide power.
Step 2: Mount the Solar Panel
Place a post next to the aquaponics garden in the ground or use an existing structure to support the panel. The solar panel must face the south and be angled so it receives adequet sunlight during the day. Make sure to mount it at a height so it does not get in the way of gardening.  

Step 3: Install The Controller For The Pump
The pump controller with a battery receives solar energy from the solar panel and provides power to the pump. For ease of connection mount the controller on to the post beneath the solar panel.

Step 4: Wire the Pump Controller
Like a battery the energy of the sun is stored in the individual photocells in the solar panel. The stored energy is then transferred to the mounted controller as direct current. Because the pump is powered by Direct Current there is no need to convert the energy in the system. Now run wires from the solar panel to the pump controller. Energy from the sun is absorbed and transferred to the battery in the controller. The DC power from the battery is used to run the Submersible pond pump.

Step 5: Connect the Pump
Connect the battery to the pump. You will need to have some type of backup power source ready to start to run the pump when the solar panel does not provide enough solar energy. You need an electrical backup in place such as a gas generator, because the aquaponics system should never be without power.

Now that the pump is wired to the solar panel through the battery in the controller the stored energy in solar panels is transferred to the controller battery. The pump will be in continuous use as it runs the flood drain cycle as part of the aquaponics fish and plant system. The pump will run off solar power as long as the controller battery remains charged from the sunlight.