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[liberationtech] [TIER] Solarizing water pumps in Puerto Rico

Richard Graves richardb.graves at
Mon Oct 9 09:40:16 PDT 2017

Yes, but I believe the issue here is that the centralized infrastructure
pumps aren't working. Those are quite energy-hungry and can be hard to
energize with solar. Due to how inverters work, there isn't a good way to
ramp up the power spike to energize the pump - even if the panels output is
enough to keep them operating. Similar issue to refrigeration.

But if there are existing low-head wells, solar panels can definitely lift
water from in-borehead or open well installations - but the distribution of
that equipment could be a significant hurdle.

There are a number of firms that have worked on this. Paul Polak, who
expanded the treadle pump, has some significant work on this.

Let me know if there are active efforts that need technical support to


Richard Graves
t: 202-372-6756
t: @RichardGraves

On Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 5:57 AM, Ermanno Pietrosemoli <ermanno at> wrote:

> Hi,
> The easiest way is to use a DC powered pump fed by a photovoltaic panel
> through a voltage regulator.
> I is a commercial solution widely used.
> But the pump most be tailored to the depth of the well.
> Regards
> Ermanno
> On Sun, Oct 8, 2017 at 11:35 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at>
> wrote:
>> Hi All,
>> A quick question: A Facebook friend Danay Paravisini (cc'ed) wants to
>> know whether it is possible to solarize water pumps in Puerto Rico?
>> Most survivors of hurricane Maria are now drinking and using non-potable
>> water because there is no electricity to pump potable water.
>> Could electric pumps be turned into solar pumps?
>> Thanks,
>> Yosem
>> _______________________________________________
>> TIER mailing list
>> Website:
>> TIER at
> --
> Ermanno Pietrosemoli
> Presidente
> Fundación Escuela Latinoamericana de Redes (EsLaRed)
> --
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