How To Power Your Garden With Solar Power

A Complete Guide

By Editorial Team Posted on 4/7/23

Looking for a new hobby to explore? Try out gardening today.

Gardening is more than enhancing one’s curb appeal with do-it-yourself (DIY) skills. And it can improve your health by allowing you to be involved in activities and environments that boost your physical and mental function.

Most experts agree that gardening can do many wonders for your health. It can help relieve stress, increase strength, burn calories, reduce the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and balance your mood.

Going Solar With Your Home Garden

Gardening in itself is an exceptional experience that allows you to bring life into existence. But it can be more than what it is when solar power comes into the mix.

Going solar for a more sustainable and eco-friendly living is no longer far from reality. These days, more and more people invest in solar panels for free energy—energy that can help your garden flourish while cutting down on utilities and other related expenses.

But the question is how can you power your garden with solar energy? In this post, you’ll discover different pieces of insights to help you with just that. Read on to learn more.

Choosing Solar Panels

Solar panels allow you to harness the power of the sun. They absorb and convert sunlight into energy you can use to power your garden at no cost. However, not all solar panels are made the same; some offer varying features depending on which type of solar panel you want to use.

There are two types of solar panels: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Find out more about each one below.

  • Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels, or mono panels, are known for their distinctive black photovoltaic (PV) cells. Each PV cell is a portion of a single silicon ingot, which is primarily produced to create solar panels.

It’s regarded that mono panels are more efficient in producing energy. And thanks to their natural black color, they absorb and retain more sunlight than their polycrystalline counterparts.

Since mono panels absorb and produce more energy, you don’t need too many, helping you save a lot on ground and roof space.

However, monocrystalline solar panels are expensive, costing between USD$1.00 and USD$1.50 per watt. Therefore, a 6-kW monocrystalline solar system may cost around USD$6,000 to USD$9,000.

  • Polycrystalline Solar Panels

Looking for a cheaper alternative? Polycrystalline solar panels might be your best option.

Polycrystalline solar panels are characterized by blue PV cells made of individual silicon crystals. The difference is the crystal in polycrystalline panels cools and fragments on its own.

Then, the fragments are melted in the oven, formed into cubes, and cut into wafers. During this process, many crystals start to develop instead of one. This is why polycrystalline panels are less efficient than monocrystalline ones. It’s because melted silicon fragments prevent electrons from moving around.

Polycrystalline solar panels are less expensive than monocrystalline ones, costing between USD$0.90 and USD$1.00 per watt. Therefore, a 6-kW polycrystalline solar system may cost around USD$5,400 to USD$6,000.

For a more efficient system, choose monocrystalline panels over polycrystalline ones. But if you don’t have enough funds to spare, your best option is polycrystalline panels. Though polycrystalline panels may not be as good as their mono counterparts, they can still help you save on energy costs in the long run.

solar panel garden

Powering Your Garden With Solar Power

Here are simple ways to utilize solar energy to improve the functionality and appearance of your garden:

Use Outdoor Solar Lights

Illuminating your backyard can be expensive if you depend on the grid. To lessen your garden’s dependence on the grid, consider installing outdoor solar lights.

Outdoor solar light is a cheaper alternative to traditional backyard lighting that uses power from the grid. These photovoltaic devices function like mini solar panels, which absorb and convert sunlight during the day and store energy that’ll be used to illuminate your outdoor spaces at night.

Here are some types of outdoor solar lights you might want to consider:

  • Solar Pathway Lights – This type helps illuminate walkways so you can see where you’re going at night.
  • Solar Spotlights – This type provides bright light, making them suitable for lighting up large spaces like gardens and greenhouses.
  • Solar Floodlights – Like solar spotlights, floodlights provide bright light, making them ideal for illuminating garden spaces.
  • Solar Wall Lights – This type is designed for walls to light up a particular area, making them suitable for illuminating greenhouses.

Since outdoor solar lights don’t rely on electricity from the grid, you don’t have to worry about having no lights in your garden during blackouts or catastrophic weather events.

Use Solar-Powered Irrigation Timers

Solar-powered irrigation timers are ideal for watering small, manageable areas like gardens and greenhouses. They set a schedule for an irrigation system to run at a particular time.

Although there are many variations of how solar irrigation timers work, most of them often share the same features that determine how their processes work.

Irrigation timers use time measurements to facilitate the execution of different watering schedules. These timers also have a built-in calendar selector, allowing you to set the operation time.

Here are other functions solar irrigation timers may offer:

  • Station Time Setting – This schedules the time and duration of a system per operation.
  • Manual Start Functionality – This allows you to start the system manually while staying on schedule.
  • Master Switch Button – This allows you to stop the automated irrigation anytime.
  • Master Valve – This allows you to stabilize the system in case of malfunction.

The lifespan of solar irrigation timers is up to three years with proper care and maintenance.

Use Solar Panels To Power Your Garden Tools

Tending a garden effectively often requires a few tools that run on electricity, such as trimmers and lawnmowers. To save energy, consider installing a couple of solar panels or a free-standing panel in your garden for use.

Even a single free-standing solar panel can produce enough energy to power a number of gardening equipment. Here are some garden tools you can connect with solar panels:

  • Pond Pumps – These tools help keep garden ponds fresh and healthy by filtering water.
  • Leaf Blowers – These tools allow you to move debris, such as fallen leaves and grass clippings, to keep your walkways clean.
  • Pressure Washers – These tools use high pressure to remove dirt and grime stuck on garden tiles.
  • String Trimmers – As the name implies, string trimmers are used for cutting grasses and hedges typical lawnmowers can’t reach.

Using solar panels to power your garden tools is a cost-effective and efficient way to save on electric consumption.

Use Solar-Powered Fountain

A solar fountain is a closed-loop water system powered by a pump responsible for the continuous flow of water in a fountain. Water fountain pumps often require electricity, but that’s not the case with solar-powered fountains.

Solar-powered fountains come with a solar kit, which includes a PV panel that converts sunlight into electrical energy. The panel must be exposed to sunlight to  and be readily usable like other solar devices.

Plus, solar-powered fountains have solar batteries that store energy during the day so that the pump can operate when night falls. Nonetheless, before you purchase a solar-powered fountain for your garden, be sure to keep in mind the following disadvantages:

  • Periodic Maintenance – As part of your fountain’s upkeep, you have to clean it as regularly as possible every one to three months. This helps remove the algae and mineral deposits that may form over time.
  • Influence Of Evaporation On Fountain Water Levels – It’s said that an average garden fountain needs 30 to 60 gallons of water. This amounts to a total of 21,000 gallons per month. Fountains lose water due to evaporation and you need to replace the lost water. Take the mentioned figure: even if the rate of water loss is just at 10%, it’s still at 2,100 gallons per month. Make a cost analysis to determine if having a fountain makes financial sense.
  • Freezing Conditions – Cold climate can cause freezing of exposed pipelines, and this could damage the fountain pump and the upstream portion.
  • Distance Limitations – There’s a limitation on distance for solar-powered water fountains. The distance between the water fountain and solar panels are recommended to be around 15 feet or less. Unfortunately, this limitation is often not well-known by many gardeners that don’t adhere to the set parameters.

If you need to buy a pump, make sure to get the appropriate size. This may vary depending on the height of your fountain, how much water your fountain can hold, and so on.

Aside from that, make sure your fountain’s solar kit is installed facing south. Try to place it at the back of the fountain as well to make them almost invisible so as to not disrupt your garden’s overall aesthetics.

Install A Solar Pond

Do you have a small pond in your garden? If you do, you may be familiar with pond pumps.

Pond pumps function like fountain pumps; they move the water in the pond. This circulation helps prevent the water from becoming stagnant, which attracts insects and disease-causing microorganisms.

Additionally, pond pumps increase the amount of oxygen in the water. Without a sufficient oxygen supply, every living thing in the pond may die.

Like fountain pumps, pond pumps come with solar counterparts too. You can readily purchase a unit in your local gardening store. Further, make sure the solar panels included are facing south for maximum sunlight absorption.

Use Solar Weed-Pulling Robots

Weeds are one of the biggest problems in managing a healthy and abundant garden. They grow everywhere and absorb all the essential nutrients your plants need, including water, sunlight, and space. That’s why they have to be removed as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, pulling out weeds can be a nightmare for many homeowners, especially if not done right. This is where weed-pulling robots come in. But they can be costly in the long run because they run on electricity.

Hence, it’s better to opt for solar-powered anti-weed bots instead. These robots not just remove weeds but also trim a garden like a lawnmower. All you need to do is sit back, relax, and press the bot’s button, and you’ll be able to achieve a perfectly trimmed garden in no time.

Additionally, using robots to pull weeds and grass can help reduce exposure to harmful weed-killing chemicals, such as glyphosates. With their help, you can manage your garden’s weed problem all the while minimizing your energy consumption.

Install A Solar Irrigation System

Make your solar garden well-rounded and complete with a solar irrigation system.

A solar irrigation system consists of a solar panel, which absorbs and converts sunlight into electricity, and a pump that releases the water. It’s often used in fields and gardens to irrigate plants, fruits, and vegetables.

Aside from reducing electricity bills, solar irrigation systems provide the following benefits too:

  • They provide access to water, especially for people in remote areas;
  • They’re eco-friendly;.
  • They don’t require a grid connection, meaning they can operate on their won without electricity from the grid;
  • They don’t need fuel, unlike their other counterparts; and
  • They don’t require too much maintenance.

Consider Solar Glazing

If you’re planning to go all-out on your garden, solar glazing might be the best way to do just that.

Solar glazing is a process where PV cells are laminated between two specialized glasses. This allows laminates to serve two functions: producing renewable energy and providing shade.

Solar glazing may apply wherever conventional glass is used. These include windows, curtain walling, shading canopies, and greenhouse paneling. With this, you’ll be able to harvest energy straight from your windows and other panels.

Solar glazing is a relatively new concept, but it’s bound to carve its own spot someday in the field of renewable energy for gardens.

Final Words

Solar energy is one of the most efficient ways to power your garden. It’s sustainable, environment-friendly, and cost-effective. Tapping into the potential of solar allows you to power your outdoor lights, fountains, ponds, garden equipment, and irrigation with little to no cost.

Nonetheless, it’s important to do research before you invest in solar energy. Its initial investment may sound unappealing, yet its long-term savings can be incredible. Check your options and find the one that best suits your garden needs.