What are Solar Powered Fountains?

Brendan McGuigan

Solar powered fountains are fountains powered by photovoltaics (solar cells), either using a battery setup or directly powering a pump system. There are a wide variety of solar powered fountains available, with more being invented every day, and they are quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of solar technology in the consumer sector (along with outdoor lighting).

Solar powered fountains convert sunlight into electricity.
Solar powered fountains convert sunlight into electricity.

Solar powered fountains work by collecting sunlight on small panels, and converting that light into electricity to power their mechanism. Many fountains have the panels built directly into them, while others have wires attached to panels you may then position at a distance for optimum solar collection.

Many fountains have the panels built directly into them, while others have wires attached to panels.
Many fountains have the panels built directly into them, while others have wires attached to panels.

Essentially any classic fountain design may be found with a solar option. Large stone basins with cherubic figures atop, water pouring from an amphora, multi-level step fountains, Zen-style rock fountains, and simple submersible fountains for ponds — all are available using solar technology.

Pricing can of course range as drastically as the styles, with small, simple vertical fountains available for under $30, and ornate carved stone fountains costing easily in excess of $2,000.

Solar powered fountains are available for both indoor and outdoor use — the only limitation being ready access to sunlight. Their amazing portability and easy installation is part of what has made solar powered fountains such an astounding success. In most cases all that is required is transporting the fountain to its location, and mounting it in whatever manner is desired. As long as the panels continue getting sunlight, the fountain will continue working.

For those who wish all-hour fountains, solar options are available with small battery packs, ensuring they will continue pumping throughout the evening and during heavily clouded days. These fountains tend to be more expensive, and are prone to more electrical defects, but if you want night-lit plumes of water rising out of your koi pond, this is an excellent option.

For people looking to create their own solar powered fountains on a budget, solar-powered bilge pumps — made to ensure a boat remains dry — are incredibly affordable, very reliable, and will keep a steady amount of water flowing as long as sunlight remains. By rigging these pumps through a small opening, you can even create high-shooting plumes of water from the built-up pressure.

There is something very satisfying about a solar powered fountain. Water, moving and dancing in the sunlight that gives it that life — no batteries, no wires, no hassle. The technology of solar powered pumps has given us all the option to have the soothing sound of running water in our lives with virtually no inconvenience.

A solar powered fountain with a lion's face.
A solar powered fountain with a lion's face.

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