When considering a garden fountain there are a number of things to take into account. One of the most important is the way in which you’ll run the fountain. An electric fountain is always an option but you would be well advised to consider a solar fountain too.
Whilst an electric fountain will run constantly and is certainly recommended for large scale projects, there are many benefits to going solar. It’s cheaper than running an electric fountain, it’s more environmentally friendly and it offers a level of flexibility which is so much harder to achieve with a plugged-in fountain.
How Does It Work?
Solar energy is the most abundant natural energy source known to man. In a single hour, more solar energy is absorbed into the Earth’s atmosphere than is used otherwise in an entire year. It’s an extremely powerful, renewable energy source.
Harnessing solar energy for use in our daily lives is an area of considerable research and there are examples of it in even the simplest of tasks. One such example is powering garden fountains. By using a solar photovoltaic panel, enough electricity to run a fountain can be generated.
What Are The Runnning Costs?
One of the major benefits of solar fountains is the long term cost saving against electric fountains. Domestic solar fountains, designed for use in homes and gardens, are reasonably priced and are often available at the same price if not cheaper than electric fountains.
What’s more, once you’ve purchased a solar fountain, there are no further costs. While you’d continue to run up electricity bills with an electric fountain, there are no running costs with a solar fountain. It’ll run for free making use of the sun’s energy.
Getting Set Up
Setting up a solar fountain is particularly easy and should take no more than five minutes. As long as you’re choosing a complete solar fountain kit, you’ll get everything you need in the box. There should be clear indications of exactly how the pump, panel and fountain connect together. Once you’ve connected the key parts, just stand the solar panel in direct sunlight and enjoy as your fountain springs into life.
It should be noted that the performance of all solar fountains is related to the amount of sunlight the solar panel sees. Placing the panel in the sunniest part of your garden will ensure it receives plenty of sunlight and your fountain runs effectively.
One of the great things about solar fountains is that you’re not restricted by annoying power cords connected to an outdoor plug socket or, worse, an indoor socket. You’re free to move a solar fountain around the garden to find the perfect suntrap for the panel.
How Long Can I Expect It To Last?
As you can probably guess, one major disadvantage of solar energy is the fact that there is only so much sunshine every day. Worse still, if you’re located in one of the wetter, grayer parts of the country, you might worry that your chances of getting any use out of solar energy are severely limited.
Luckily there are additional technologies which help overcome and of these issues. A battery backup is a simple but effective way of successfully running a solar fountain, even after the sun goes down. The battery backup stores the converted solar energy for use when direct sunlight is not available. It’ll charge over the course of the day and can then be put to use in the evening.
How Long Does It Need To Charge?
Generally speaking, a solar fountain should operate instantly in direct sunlight whilst a battery backup will benefit from 24-48 hours charging if it’s not running as effectively as expected. The battery backup will charge during the day while the fountain is running but if you’re looking to really give it a boost then unplugging it from the fountain and leaving it to charge in the sun for a day will do the world of good.
You can expect anything up to three hours of continuous use from a battery backup although you can expect considerably more if you use the power intermittently for shorter bursts over a greater period of time.
How Much Do Solar Fountains Cost?
Solar fountains vary greatly in price and it’s fair to say that you get what you pay for. The price of most fountains tends to be determined by the quality of materials used. A small, tabletop solar fountain made from plastic could well be available for less than $50, whilst a tall floor-standing steel wall might cost as much as $1,000.
You’ll likely find that cheaper fountains do not come with a battery backup and may have even used questionable materials for the solar panel itself. This will directly affect the power at which the pump can operate and therefore the flow of your fountain.
As a rule of thumb you can expect to pay up to $100 for a smaller fountain, between $100 and $500 for a well-built floor or wall fountain and anything up to $5,000 for custom-made projects.
Who Makes The Best Solar Fountains?
There are several different suppliers of solar fountains but some of the more popular brands are available here at 1000Fountains.com.
Smart Solar are well established across the world as an innovative provider of solar powered home and garden decorative accents. Smart Solar cascades and birdbaths are instantly recognisable for their quality of design.
Ambienté produces a wide range of fountains with a substantial solar fountain section covering cascades, pumps and fountain planters.
Outdoor Classics offer a selection of solar wall and floor fountains innovatively constructed from polyresin. Their range has all the attractive qualities of stone but at a fraction of the weight making their fountains the best of both worlds.
Converting An Electric Fountain To Solar
If you’ve already got an electric fountain but you’re interested in a solar alternative, there is an effective and affordable solution available to you. Almost all electric fountains can be converted to solar quite easily. Rather than buying a whole new fountain, you can simply switch out the pump with one of our solar pump kits.