A Solar Water System Gains Capacity

Two Alberta companies, long involved in providing off-site watering systems for livestock producers, have teamed up to produce a package system for year-round, self-powered watering of cattle, anywhere you need it.

CAP Solar, based in Olds and Promold Marketing of Crossfield, Alberta have partnered on this project to supply a system that combines CAP Solar’s year-round, electricity-free, cattle waterer, with Promold’s high capacity, portable stock watering troughs.

As a summer (or non-winter) system CAPS Solar’s pumping system can be used to draw water from dugouts, wells, creeks or a field pipeline system to fill Promold’s single or dual troughs to meet the needs of up to 350 cow-calf pairs. In winter, you can’t use the troughs, but CAPS Solar EnerCap waterer will continue to produce a remote, reliable water supply, tested to up to minus 40 degrees Celsius, able to water up to 250 head.

These aren’t just separate units you tie together with bale twine. Bill Cunningham of Promold has designed a steel pipe transport frame that neatly carries the solar pumping system and either one or two Promold troughs. It is designed to be a skid you can drag or load on a trailer for moving, or it can be equipped with wheels and a hitch so the married system can be moved from pasture to pasture with a tractor or ATV.

“We are two companies with two good products, and we decided to join forces to produce this portable, year-round water system,” says Jason Wright of CAP Solar. “It gives producers many more options for watering more cattle, in areas where power from the grid system, and/or a good, clean water source may not otherwise be available.”

Wright says it is ideal for tying into the ever-increasing number of pasture pipeline watering systems, for using wells in areas where there is no power, for drawing water from creeks, ponds or dugouts, where for environmental reasons or rate-of-gain benefits you don’t want cattle mucking around in an open or natural water source.

And with more producers interested in winter grazing, the CAP Solar EnerCap waterer provides a reliable, clean, heated water source out on pasture or on winter feeding grounds. It’s a 24/7 system that can trump snow-removing Chinook winds, and is way more reliable than a snowfall weather forecast, points out Wright. To prevent the water holes or baskets on the EnerCap from freezing, Wright, after plenty of trial and error, has designed a simple catalytic heater that uses three-quarters of a pound of propane over 24 hours. A standard 20-pound propane tank will last a month.

Unless we fall into a period of 40-days of darkness, the CAP Solar pump, first developed in 1984, will lift and pump water from just about any source even on dull, overcast days. The waterer features a one-quarter inch thick double walled, fiber reinforced poly tank shell that sandwich a minimum four inches of urethane insulation. It’s durable.

That pumping and watering system is tied into the bright blue Promold troughs. A system can be ordered with either a single or double trough. Each trough is 8′ x 4′ x 2′ with capacity for 400 imperial gallons. The whole system is supported by a heavy-duty 2″ diameter steel pipe, skid frame. The bottom of the troughs is molded to fit over the pipe. Cunningham says this adds strength and gives footing if a cow steps into the trough. And if cattle are pushing around the trough, the brisket-high steel frame takes the stress.

Prices on the system vary depending on the features. The heated waterer and storage tank combination costs about $5,500 (without the solar pump itself). The wheels and hitch are $1,000. If you just bought the EnerCap waterer, on its own, it costs $2,500. The actual cost of the solar pump components vary depending on the type of water source, the lift and the number of cattle to be watered. Details on the system are available from CAP Solar by calling 1-866-556-8779 or visit www.capsolar.com, or contact Promold at 1 888-PROMOLD or visit www.promoldmarketing.com.

LeeHartiseditorofCattleman’sCornerbased inCalgary.Contacthimat403-592-1964orby emailat [email protected]

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.



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