1. STANDARD LAYOUT
The standard pontoon has the pontoon and pump controller floating on the dam with the solar panels situated on the dam bank.
The Isolation Switch and Pressure Switch are placed under the panels for protection. The pumps are held in place by the delivery line and one or two stainless steel ropes.
Shown right is one of the examples of the need for a floating solar pump. As the photo shows, this dam is of a considerable size and depth from the dam bank to the water level with the bottom of the dam being much deeper than the 6 metre suction capability from a Hardi.
Until the solar pump was installed, the diesel powered helical rotor pump (shown in the foreground of the photo) was used. Historically, for best results these diesel pumps are always set close to the water level. However, upon sudden storms and large rainfalls, the diesel pump is quickly drowned with the rising water level resulting in the owner not being able to find or retrieve his pump on arrival.
The floating pontoon however simply floats on the water surface and rises with the water level resulting in a fully operational and visible unit.
2. VERSATILE LAYOUT
A more versatile unit uses a method where the solar panel is fixed to the pontoon together with the pumping system as a complete unit.
This needs to be secured in the dam so the module faces North and therefore generally is secured via the delivery pipe and a couple of lengths of stainless steel rope.
The versatility and simplicity of this unit comes in the fact that if the system needs to be shifted to another dam, there is no need to roll up any power cable or shift the modules. It is simply moved as an entire item.
Another benefit is that when this unit is shifted, the pontoon pump assembly can simply be sat next to a tank and used as a transfer pump.