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Semi-permanent Solar-powered Watering Options to
Enhance Grazing Management

mobile solar unit

The Virginia Cooperative Extension, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and Virginia Tech have partnered to research possible solutions for landowners who, for various reasons, don’t have access to wells or electricity in a pastures they would like to graze.

Solar-powered pumps can be an option to pump water to livestock where a well and/or electricity are not available (on rented property). Solar panels and pumps are widely available online, and their cost has decreased considerably in recent years. System design options vary based on management goals, site and budget constraints. However, for the systems explored through this demonstration project, plug-and-go pump and panel systems can be purchased for around $3,000, (not including plumbing) with enough capability to pump about 2,500 gallons/day under ideal conditions. Solar-powered watering systems can be installed on a semi-permanent basis where issues of land ownership dictate (e.g., they can be removed, relocated, etc.). However, the above-ground system components used in these demonstration projects are only operational during freeze-free months, and must be prepared for winter storage to prevent damage to equipment.

You can read the full report on this system here.