Producers may choose to purchase preassembled solar watering system kits from companies such as Sundog Solar or Kelln Solar or they may choose to assemble the solar system themselves. Regardless of which approach you take, keep the following in mind:
- The lift (vertical difference from water intake to trough) is the most important consideration when choosing a system. Make sure the pump is big enough to draw water even when the dugout is low
- The second most important consideration is the size of your herd. Make sure that your system can keep up with demand on a 30-degree day. If you’re considering expanding your herd in the next few years, make sure you size your system accordingly now
- Ensure you have enough waterline and electrical cable to be able to set up your system where you want it
- Don’t go cheap when selecting batteries. A high quality deep cycle battery will prevent future headaches – especially during the shoulder season when the days aren’t as long and bright.
- Choose your trough carefully. Many producers opt for large tire troughs for their sturdiness.
- Keep animals away from the system. Most producers install the solar panel and battery box inside the dugout fence to keep them out of reach of cattle and wildlife.