Solar energy does a lot of great things. It can power our homes, our businesses, and even run the air-conditioning in our cars. One of its many applications is powering fountains. Solar powered outdoor fountains have been around for some time now, but the last few years have seen some great products come out, making solar products more stylish and efficient than in years past. Here’s a look at all you need to know on using solar panels to power your outdoor fountains.
The first thing to consider is whether you want a fountain that comes with the solar panel and accessories or whether you want to make your own. Making your own isn’t that hard, as we’ll discuss later, but some people prefer the convenience of having everything ready to go right out of the box. For fountains that come with a panel, you’ll most often find them either mounted in the basin or outside the fountain attached by a cord. Pre-mounted ones are well positioned to get as much sun as possible, while those outside the fountain offer more versatility in where you place the fountain. For example, you could have your fountain on a shaded patio but keep the panel out in the yard to it gets plenty of sun to keep it running.
If you’re more of a do-it-yourselfer, there’s different ways to go about using solar power to run your fountain. A few companies manufacture solar kits that give you everything you need to transform your electric fountain into a 100% solar powered one. These typically include a solar panel, a few fountain heads, a pump, and all the wiring you need. Some may have a stake for the panel if it’s one that sits outside the fountain. Certain kits are made to convert electric fountains and others are made to transform something that’s not a fountain, like a planter, into a fountain.
For doing it all yourself, there’s a few things you’ll need. First, obviously, is a solar panel. You’ll want to get at least a 12-volt model with 10 watts of power so it’s strong enough to power the pump. Next, you’ll need a submersible pump, also 12 volts. Most solar fountains tend to run off smaller pumps, so anything from 30-75 gallons per hour should be sufficient. Make sure your pump has plenty of head height, which refers to how high the pump can lift water up. However tall your fountain is, you’ll want a pump with head height a full foot larger. To set things up, start by installing your solar panel. You can mount it in the fountain using brackets or place it outside of it on a stand. Next, put your pump down in the water reservoir and make sure its connections to the solar panel are secure. Get the tubing that runs through your fountain in place and you should be all ready to go. Bonus tip: consider getting a backup battery for your panel that can store the sun’s energy so you can enjoy your fountain when the sun’s not out!
Don’t forget about solar power next time you’re looking at outdoor accessories – they’re an easy way to enhance the look of your home while helping the environment!
About The Author – Melissa Anne is a writer with OutdoorLiving.com/learning-center/ who loves solar powered outdoor products. For more on solar fountains, visit OutdoorFountains.com, home to solar pumps, solar fountain kits, and all sorts of other outdoor fountains.