Grit Blogs > Another Kind of Drew

Solar Pond Pump: Something New Under the Sun

A photo of Drew OdomI have been wanting a water feature for some time. Our front yard (which is seen by passing traffic) has three different levels, so to speak, separated by gradually descending berms. We have planted some wonderful willow trees, bermuda grass, and a host of azaleas and such along the perimeter, largely ignoring the middle ground. I just knew that it was this area that would be perfect for a water feature or as we call it in middle Georgia – a pond.

Very few people have electricity running randomly to their yards. We are not those people either. So we had our first problem. How would we keep a pump running and keep our water from becoming stagnant and breeding mosquitos in the summer? That is when I thought about using solar energy. I was uncertain how I would do so though as I was unaware of the smaller sizes of solar panels available on the market.

After a bit of research on the 'net and a few Google ads I came across Silicon Solar Inc. It seemed they had just what I was looking for – a night/day solar pond pump kit featuring two small solar panels and the power house. I did a little more research and found what I would call horrible online reviews. People complained about everything from the time of delivery to broken products to poor customer service. I decided that my order would be different and I got out the debit card! When I first ordered I received a notice rather quickly saying the product was on backorder. For three weeks I hear nothing. I got worried as the charge had gone through on my debit card.

I kept thinking back to the reviews I read and I figured I had been taken; just another victim of Internet sales. After 4 weeks I called them and spoke with Corey Belden, Director of Customer Relations. She helped me as best she could and promised she would keep me posted. After another week (we are now past a month) I had heard nothing and got downright agitated. I found a number for Matt Farrell, the Managing Director for Silicon Solar. I called him and told him how I had been treated and how I felt I should be regarded. He immediately emailed me, Corey, and Pete Bauerle, General Manager. I quickly received an email back and through another phone call was promised the product would be delivered in a week. There was an issue getting it from the manufacturer as they had been involved with the World Expo and had shut down their warehouse during that time.

Finally on Monday, May 10, I got an email from Corey saying the product was coming in that day and would be shipped immediately. Tuesday morning brought an email with the shipping/tracking number, and Thursday the package arrived!

 

Now, granted I had some issues. I believe now though that that is par for the course when ordering anything online. I had to get a bit nasty a couple of times, but I was always able to speak to someone, express my thoughts, and see some action. Yesterday, I was so pleased. I felt like they had delivered a quality product and one that would augment our front yard.

This morning it is still going strong. It is beautiful and my family simply loves it; the sound, the look, the ambiance.

mountain woman
5/15/2010 5:37:28 AM

What a great ting to do. Mountain Man just put in a solar device to open and shut the windows in our greenhouse and it's really amazing. I'd love to go to all solar power but we hardly get any sun here. I really enjoyed reading about your adventures and of course I love your videos.


nebraska dave
5/14/2010 2:30:42 PM

Drew, a solar water feature pump is a pretty cool idea. Let me know how that works without a filter. I want to put a pump and filter in my gravity feed watering system but I will use electrical connections from the house. I haven’t figured out just what kind of water feature I will have in the tank. I am just going to use exterior electrical cord from an external socket as my system will have to be winterized when winter comes. I won’t be watering anything outside at -20 degrees. I’m looking forward to updates on the pond. Will there be fish in the pond? I always enjoy your video posts. Keep them coming.


anotherkindofdrew
5/14/2010 2:25:52 PM

The pump has a very small filter that will need to be cleaned every 4-6 weeks. However, I am using my pond as more of a water feature rather than a pond, pond. No fish. No real aqua life to speak of. Just water and a sprinkler-ma-bob. Now, one day I hope to build a pond and actual have a bit of life and be the center of a larger permaculture environment. Who knows though? By then I would need full on solar panels and power. Keep me posted on your project Dave!