12 years ago we drilled our 180-ft well and installed a very "normal" Grundfos AC pump because we got it cheap, and we assumed we'd run it out soon and THEN get a DC pump with dedicated PV panels for it. The pump still works and gives us its very consistent 15-gpm flow into a 1500-gal tank we use to gravity feedwater to house and garden, but the sad old gas generator that's been sitting out in the weather all this time seems to be not long for this world. Since that pump is still fine, I wonder if I can avoid replacing the gas generator and use a goal zero panel-and-battery system, since they have AC plugs. The literature from our pump tells me "the generator must be sized 50% above the P1 (input power) values of the pump..." ...which are: 1.0hp motor; 2600W = min. generator size; 3200W = min. generator output. I'm sadly not electrically literate, but I'm guessing the more affordable ~400Wh-rated goal zero systems are NOT powerful enough for our pump, though their rating is in Wh and not W.
Our well is far enough away from our house (all PV) that it's not feasible to plug into the house.... And I think that's too much draw on our house system anyway. Though maybe not, we do run power tools when it's sunny.
So do I just get a new gas generator? Any other options without spending the money on an entire solar system?
My understanding is that there is an initial load when the pump starts up, which is much higher than the normal operating load. It tends to last 1 second or less, but if your system isn't built to account for it there may be issues and you could damage your equipment.
I'm not quite a lumberjack, but that's OK, I sleep all night and I dream all day; I'll coppice trees, I'll grow my food, and compost poo and pee! With a well and off-grid solar, it's a permies life for me! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FshU58nI0Ts
I'm not a good enough electrician to say exactly how to meet the start up requirements.
A big enough battery bank could provide what you need at start up, plus plenty of cushion.
Start up capacitors are another option, but again, I'm simply not knowledgeable enough to advise how to implement such a thing.
Nope, none of the Goal Zero inverters come anywhere close to being powerfull enough for your pump. The inverter on the 400 is only rated for 300 watts continuous. You need an inverter rated for AT LEAST the running power needed by your pump (2600W).
You don't need to go over like a generator, most inverters can handle a brief surge of 50%-100% over their rated power.
Note: there are plenty of other inverters out that that can handle your pump, but if all you want it for is the pump, then a DC pump might be cheaper.
My opinions are barely worth the paper they are written on here, but hopefully they can spark some new ideas, or at least a different train of thought
Hi Jessie your least expensive option will be a new generator unless you need solar for the house. Running your pump probably uses between 2 and 3 kw Hr per hour of run time. On solar you would need an inverter that can start that beast probably a 4000 watt rated unit, a battery bank big enough to take that kind of a power draw and a solar element able to recharge the bank after you draw it down. Those 400 watt unit are interesting but mostly designed for camping tiny homes and light device charging.
Location: Alpine, Texas: 5,400 ft elev, desert grassland foothills