If you are planning a water feature for your backyard, consider powering that feature with solar energy. There are two main benefits to using solar. First, solar will save on energy costs. You won't need to add to your monthly utility bill to power the water feature. Also, using a solar system eliminates the need to drag a power cord to an outdoor electrical plug. To start experimenting with solar water features, consider creating a solar-powered fountain in your existing backyard pond or in a large planter filled with water.
Purchase the materials for the fountain. Some hardware stores will sell solar water pump kits, which will include all of the needed materials. If you purchase the kit, the water pump and solar cell will already be matched to work together. If you are buying the parts separately, consult with someone at the hardware store to help you match the pieces. Obtain a water pump that will move the necessary amount of water, and then find the solar cell that will be able to power that device.
Set up the solar cell. The solar cells will collect energy from the sun to power the water pump. It is best to place the solar cell where there is plenty of sun. The cell can be placed on the ground or attached to a tree or post. In most cases, solar cells work better when they are higher off the ground.
Attach the wiring from the solar cell to the water pump. Consult your local hardware store to find out exactly what kind of wiring is compatible and will allow the solar cell to operate the pump. The wiring can be placed on the ground and hidden behind rocks and plants, or you can bury the wire a few inches below the ground.
Attach the water feature of your choice to the water pump. One of the most popular is a water sprayer. Turn on the pump. If everything has been successfully connected, the water should be pumping through the pump and exiting through the sprayer at the top. With most water pumps, you should be able to change the speed to control the flow rate.
Your solar-powered water feature will work best on sunny days. If it is cloudy or if there is shade covering the solar cell, the water pump will either work very slowly or not at all. When you first connect the pump, it may take several hours before the solar cell has enough of a charge to operate the pump.