Solar & Alternative Power Options for Aeration
We get several calls each year for interest in solar powered aeration. Our first question is “Why are you interested in solar powered aeration?” Their concern is usually the distance from power to the pond or lake. There are solar powered aeration options and other alternatives to using solar in most operations. The different equipment types are tools. The next step is choosing the right tool for the job.Solar powered aeration can be a very useful tool in very remote situations. If you are over 2,500 feet from any source of electrical power that is available or that could be conveniently provided, then solar aeration is probably the right tool for you. We have provided solar aeration to a park in the Midwest so remote that the equipment had to be brought in by pack mule and protected with a chain to keep out bears. Solar aeration of course does come with additional cost and installation effort. Direct drive solar powered systems allow operation only when the sun is shining. Battery backup models add additional expense with batteries and a controller, but will typically allow the system to operate for 20 hours per 24 hour period.
Some pond owners enjoy using alternative energy, and some situations demand solar power as the only option. There are other substitutes for using solar aeration, such as installation of a compressor where power is located and using inexpensive pipe to deliver air to the edge of the pond/lake where a remote manifold can be used to distribute the air to the different diffusers. This can be a very affordable and useful option. The pipe that delivers the air is not expensive. PVC or sturdy poly tubing can be used to deliver the air. The air delivery pipe also does not have to be trenched very deep, since air is of no particular danger. You just want to get it deep enough to avoid any road traffic issues or farm implement work over the area. We have pumped air up to 5,000 feet using this method!
Windmills can be useful to power a direct drive compressor and aerate ponds. They are quite a bit of work to assemble, however they look wonderful in the landscape and can provide significant aeration as long as you have enough wind to drive them. The shortcoming, potentially, is that in hot, still summer days there may be a risk of an oxygen depletion, while the stillness of the air would not provide any aeration from the windmill. However if there is enough wind to drive the windmill on a regular basis, the water quality does not necessarily reverse to risky stratified conditions that would trend towards a turnover and low oxygen event, endangering fish. I recently had a pond consultation near a sugar cane farm in south Louisiana. The wind whipping across the open field was so regular and fast that it interrupted our conversation. I am sure that his windmill installation will be a good choice.
Grid power is still our preference where conveniently available, and this can be coupled with solar panels feeding back into the grid, lowering your electric bill and contributing green energy. This is sort of using the grid as your battery. Grid power operates dependably and allows for the simplest installation and least expensive equipment options. This is available for near pond and remote manifold installations.
Give us a call today at (225) 308-4145 and we can help you explore the options that will best suit your pond!