ST. GEORGE — A new water pump off the electrical grid is now providing water to homes in Dammeron Valley.
The pump is run completely from solar power and can pump over 100 gallons of water per minute under full sun. The system, which was installed by Dammeron Valley Water Works in a well east of the community two weeks ago, is expected to produce up to 20 percent of the water needed for the 400 homes in Dammeron Valley.
“Even when it’s cloudy, it still pumps half of how much it does when it’s sunny,” said Brooks Pace, spokesman for Dammeron Valley Water Works.
The purpose of the pump is to be a backup system for when the power goes out. The rest of the water in Dammeron Valley comes from electric pumps in the wells.
Because the pump doesn’t incur any cost from electricity, it will pay for itself in about eight years, Pace said. If this pump runs smoothly and meets expectations, it will open the door for more solar pumps to be added to the Dammeron Valley water network.
“Our well site could accommodate another three or four more solar systems,” Pace said. “With another three or four of these, we could pump most of the water we need in Dammeron Valley.”
It will take a few years and a few winters before they will think about adding additional pumps, though. Right now, the solar pump system is more of a pilot program for Dammeron Valley Water Works, Pace said.
“It’s a pilot program for us, but it could also be a pilot for others in the area who may show an interest in solar pumps,” Pace said. “We’re just trying to get the word out.”
Besides being a backup system when the power goes out or saving money in the long run, relying on solar power to pump water is also a more environmentally friendly way of using power, Pace said.
“It’s a future, I believe, of solar power,” Pace said. “We’ve got to move beyond gas and oil generated power.”
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