Harnessing the Power of the Sun

Solar panel outside of greenhouse

The Ranson Community Gardens are comprised of three geographically separate community gardens that includes a 60 ft X 40 ft tunnel, twenty or so local family maintained, raised vegetable gardens and a pollinator flower garden located beside the tunnel, and a vegetable and herb garden located at Third St which is remote from the other gardens. Rainwater is collected from large rainwater troughs on the rear side of the massive Ranson Civic Center building and gravity fed to the water storage system located at four separate locations. The stored water is then pumped to the vegetable and pollinator gardens by the solar driven electrical water pumps on-demand. The irrigation system is backed-up by the Ranson Municipal Water System should the rainwater/solar electricity system run dry or fail.

The Community Gardens use rainwater and solar generated electricity to irrigate the vegetables and pollinators. The solar panels are located at the three community gardens and are electrically interconnected. All solar panels are connected to separate marine batteries that store the electricity. The system operates at 12 volts, dc, (total 340 watts). There are also three control and monitoring centers with voltage and amperage monitors at the three gardens. Because the system operates at 12V, it is harmless to people and animals and can be easily routed wherever needed, including a projected fountain at the Third St garden.

Six water pumps are used for irrigating the crops that use soaker hoses and the standard garden hose. Five of the six are located near the water tanks at the gardens, including inside the tunnel. At these locations tanks are filled through gravity-fed water from the Civic Center. The sixth pump is located at the central control center behind the Civic Center and pumps the water on-demand underground 500 ft to the Third St location where the water can be stored or routed for direct crop irrigation. The pump is controlled remotely from the Third St. garden. The Third St location is diagonally across from the playground and beside the Baha’i Center.

Once installed the rainwater and solar Irrigation system is self-maintaining through the use of controllers at the batteries that maintains fully charged batteries and prevents overcharging. Monitors at the three primary gardens show the system voltages and amperages at a glance, and the level of stored water is easily monitored through both semi – transparent and open (with grid-covered) water storage tanks.

2018-08-16T10:04:10+00:00