Solar-powered pumps run on electricity generated by photovoltaic panels or the radiated thermal energy available from collected sunlight as opposed to grid electricity or diesel run water pumps.
The operation of solar powered pumps is more economical mainly due to the lower operation and maintenance costs and has less environmental impact than pumps powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE). Solar pumps are useful where grid electricity is unavailable and alternative sources (in particular wind) do not provide sufficient energy.
Solar pumps of today, have no relation to the novelty solar fountain pumps of the past. These systems are high power, low maintenance, efficient, commercial products. They are made of stainless steal for long steel and feature brushless DC motors.
Solar power systems of the past had high price tags attached, in the tens of thousands of dollars. Advances in technology have made low cost systems possible and readily available. One of the major advances making this possible are solar cells and panels. Solar cell manufacturing has progressed to the point where it is very affordable. A system that previously cost tens of thousands of dollars is now in the low thousands.