DIY Solar Powered Water Pump

I collect water off my two sheds into a 10200L tank. To avoid running a pump every time I turn on a tap I use gravity. A larger header tank is positioned at the highest point on my property which gives me 6m of head. To pump my water up to this tank I built a simple Solar Powered Pump set up.

Heres what I did.

Parts purchased:

12V Mini DC Diaphragm Water Pump 40PSI 17L/min $60

30A 12/24V Solar Regulator CM3024Z 30 amp $89

80 Watt 12v Monocrystalline Solar Panel $125

Garden Hose $10

+/- Alligator Clips Large $20

Electrical Wire 5 strand 2mm

On/Off switch taken from a broken water pump (the one I converted to pedal power)

Trolley I built years ago from recycled steel for  gas bottles

Old steel tool box and scrap aluminium tubing, hinges and L section aluminium, tec screws

Used 12V Car Battery from my truck – I purchased a new one for the truck for about $120

est total expense = $450.00 – if new battery is purchased


The Solar panel is collecting energy from the sun, the flow of energy to and out of the 12V battery is monitored by the Solar regulator. The pump is powered by the battery. There is a hose with a particle filter running from the collection tank into the pump and another hose from the pump into the feed line to the header tank. The small diameter garden hose is connected to 32mm polypipe that runs 110m up hill. The flow rate is not restricted too much.

The diaphragm pump is only small and draws little energy and on my calculations pumps approximately 550L per hour. As I am only moving the water from my collection tank I am in no great hurry to get large volumes of water up to the header tank. The job is best done on a cloudless day as the regulator shuts the battery off if energy hitting the solar panel is insufficient to top up the battery.

I spoke to a battery seller and he said the car battery is best for the job as it is being trickle charged by the solar panel whereas a deep cycle battery works best if it is used to exhaustion and then charged while not in use. Make sure you sit the set up in the sun for a day or so to charge/top up the battery with the pump switched off.

The solar panel is attached to the trolley with hinges so the panel folds down and the support legs swing up when you want to pack it up and wheel it inside.

I’ve been running this set up for a year now with no problems.


6 responses to “DIY Solar Powered Water Pump

  1. I love the simplicity of solar (& once you’ve set it up it’s FREE). I completed this activity on my ‘Block’ last winter. I cheated & purchased the whole kit from Aussie Solar in the Blue Mtns. It’s fitted & running perfectly. love watching the control panel & listening to the rotar starting up. I haven’t attached my panel but move it around & change the angles, interesting to see how a couple of degrees can make a HUGE difference. .I’d love you to visit one day when you’re down Mudgee way 🙂

  2. Hi
    I am building a very similar system and I was wondering how long you leave the pump running at a time and do you ever have problems with the pump cutting out from over heating I live in the Hunter Valley and it gets pretty hot in summer and I am lifting the water about 30 metres which should only need 45 psi
    Regards Errol

    • Hi Errol – I have run the pump up to 3 hours and it does get hot but doesn’t seem to impact the unit or cut out. I have it open to the air – not enclosed. The only time its cut out is when the clouds come over for too long – the regulator turns the power off. Maybe make sure you keep the pump in shade.

      • Hi Kade
        I have it down by the creek and I have built a cover to keep the rain of it hopefully this will do. Thanks for getting back to me so quick
        Regards Errol

  3. Hi, thanks for the info. I need to do something similar so it helps a great deal. I need to pump water from a dam 80m away and to a head of around 6m to an elevated 1000 ltr tank. It is for gravity feeding a toilet. Trouble is, if I had the pump located at the dam, I would not get any sun. So, im restricted to keep the pump and solar gear at the tank end. My question is will one of these little pumps suck and lift this distance and head? I know I would need to put a check valve at the dam inlet.
    Appreciate comments. Thank you

    • Hi Neil,
      I’d suggest talking to a irrigation/pump shop about the draw strength of certain pumps. You may need something bigger than a diaphragm pump.

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