Solar powered water pumps can deliver drinking water as well as water for livestock or irrigation purposes. Solar water pumps may be especially useful in small scale or community based irrigation, as large scale irrigation requires large volumes of water that in turn require a large solar PV array. As the water may only be required during some parts of the year, a large PV array would provide excess energy that is not necessarily required, thus making the system inefficient.Solar PV water pumping systems are used for irrigation and drinking water in India. The majority of the pumps are fitted with a 200 watt - 3,000 watt motor that receives energy from a 1,800 Wp PV array.
The larger systems can deliver about 140,000 liters of water/day from a total head of 10 meters. By 30 September 2006, a total of 7,068 solar PV water pumping systems have been installed.