SD company offers affordable solar solution for ranchers
ABERDEEN, S.D. — Ranches located in remote areas sometimes have a harder time gaining access to clean water — and in some cases, electricity. But there’s a South Dakota company that says it has a solar solution.
Affordable clean water is important for any farming operation.
Aberdeen based Common Sense Manufacturing and Solar knows this.
Owner and rancher Kelly Melius says he first got the idea for a remote solar watering system from another farm show he attended.
“I bought one for myself, and I loved how it worked and I said, man, there’s a need for this down here because there’s cows and it’s not healthy, the water’s not as good and as clean when you’re pumping or when they go into a dug to drink,” said Kelly Melius, owner of Common Sense Manufacturing. “So when you pump the water out of that dugout and into a tank it’s good, clean water and that’s how I started doing that. But then we got into wells and pumping water out of wells.”
Melius says this system is as simple mechanically, as it is affordable.
“Basically, you’ve got your solar panel that’s creating power and sending it to the controller,” says Melius. “The controller is telling the pump how much power is available. So it’s a variable frequency drive pump so it will run a higher rpm with good sun and a lower rpm with poorer sun. It’s very doable. People always think it’s really, really expensive and it’s not. You’re buying a power source and the pump and it’s very reasonable.”
Melius says that it can be very expensive to do power hookups in very rural areas.
In some cases, he says companies don’t want to do it because of cost and labor.
Having clean water is the most important thing and the machine offers this and with a quick pay off.
“Most of the time in cattle you’re talking gain or pounds of meat that’s for sale at the end of the year, depending on the price of cattle at the end of the year, yeah, you can pay for it in the first year,” says Melius.