There is a curious ineluctability that simple solutions are difficult to achieve. After four years of tinkering, I am finally satisfied that I have a working solar water pumping station.
Most of the farm is downhill from our pond, so we can siphon our water to the cattle and the poultry without using any power. But there are a few fields at the same elevation as the pond, and for those we need to pump water.
Over the years I’ve gone through five different pumps, four charge controllers, and two sets of panels. One of the charge controllers caught on fire, one was defective out of the box. Some of the early pumps were undersized for the flow required, and when I found larger pumps capable of supporting higher flow, I had to upgrade the solar array and the battery bank from 12 volts to 24 volts.
Not all has been wasted in the progress toward building the pumping station. Several of the old 12 volt components are in use elsewhere on the farm. I’ve learned a few technical details about solar systems, so there is some imputed worth there. But perhaps the most valuable and least quantifiable benefit is the appreciation I have for having water flowing when and where I need it. There’s always an underpinning of true and simple good, quite apart from complex moral philosophy, in completing a project satisfactorily. It is the good of making a meal, or building a bookshelf, or fixing the brakes. We find certitude in tasks that stand for themselves.