The aim of aquaponics is to produce sustainable and healthy food with nature and not against
nature. One of the critical points of aquaponics is that we need a water pump to raise the water
from the fish tank to the growbed. This little pump unfortunately consumes power and therefore
has an impact on the environment. As a sustainable grower I often focus on minimizing this quantity
of energy consumed. If you haven’t seen my video on how to select the best water pump for your
aquaponics setup I highly recommend you to watch it now. Today I would like to go one step further
and talk about the option to install solar panels around your aquaponics system and to run the setup
completely off the grid. This is technically possible but we will see that there are some points of
focus to cover.
Also from a sustainable perspective it is still questionable to know if the solar panels are really more
ecofriendly than a classic pump linked to the grid. Indeed the process of producing the solar panels
and the regulator plus battery system to stock the energy has a significant impact on the
environment. Furthermore the recycling of the materials once out of use is not guarantee and this
will probably generate significant wastes… For the ones of you who would like to go ahead with such
setup, it is important to keep in mind that several solar systems are available. The options are
multiple in terms of size and technology. If you choose a “low” budget system you will be oriented
towards a small solar panel (20w) with a little battery able to hold a limited quantity of power.
Depending on the area where you live you may find that the setup doesn’t generate enough power
to run the water pump 24/7. One of the options is to put your pump on a timer (10mins on / 15mins
off…) but even with this type of setup you may go through grey days and the pump will turn off for
24 hours. You therefore need to build an ecosystem able to survive to those conditions. In this video
I develop this point and advise to choose fish such as goldfish, carps, catfish or tilapia that can
survive in very low oxygen concentration. It is also very important to work with very low fish density
so they can survive to long periods without water recirculation and oxygen supply.
Get the full solar setup!
You also have the option to equip your house with a solar panel system and large batteries, in this
case your aquaponics would run from the general solar panel such as any other equipment in your
house. This is probably a very ecofriendly option as the larger setups tent to be more efficient than
the small systems.
Finally if you have a commercial aquaponics farm you can also equip it with large solar systems
providing power for all setups of your farm.
If you are thinking building a little solar Aquaponics setup you will need a solar panel, a charge
controller to regulates the quantity of power going into the battery and a battery to store the power
and release it 24/7.