The Solar Solution: Solar Powered Aeration for Lakes and Ponds
By Industry Expert Brent Weber, Environmental Scientist and Territory Leader
The list of benefits that an aeration system can provide a lake or pond is endless. Besides helping to enhance fish habitat, improve water quality, reduce algae and remove unwanted nutrients, aeration can also break down unwanted bacteria, help prevent mosquito infestation and remove foul odors from a waterbody—all by circulating the water and adding dissolved oxygen. Sometimes, though, it’s not feasible to install an aeration system in an isolated lake or pond with no economical way to provide a power source. This predicament presents itself in a variety of different areas, including golf course lakes, farm ponds, private waterbodies, and homeowner association stormwater ponds.
Fortunately, there is a solution for those who are unable to get electric power to their lake or pond. Solar aeration systems were introduced to the lake and pond management market about a decade ago, and have made great strides in their overall effectiveness and efficiency over that time. Instead of going through the hassle or expense of running electricity to an area in need, there are now a variety of viable solar powered alternatives available from many different manufacturers. So, that waterbody on “the other side of the property” can now get the proper attention and aeration it needs to help keep it healthy and balanced.
A solar powered aeration system incorporates most of the same components, and utilizes much of the same technology, as an electric aeration system. Both electric and solar systems include an on-shore compressor that pumps air through bottom-weighted tubing to diffusers in the waterbody. The air helps circulate water through the water column, thus adding dissolved oxygen and equalizing the water temperature. The only real difference between the two systems is that a solar aeration system utilizes the sun’s rays as its power source.
A solar panel is ideally placed in an open area, free of shade and other obstacles that would block the sun. The panel powers the compressor after converting the sun’s direct current (DC) to a viable source of alternating current (AC) that the compressor can use. Some solar aerators currently on the market also have the ability to store power through a battery back-up system that can effectively be used to power the system during times when the sun is not shining. So, throughout the night when there isn’t any sunlight available or during cloudy weather that compromises the effectiveness of the solar panel, aeration will remain running thanks to the battery back-up. There is also little to no cost associated with powering a solar aeration unit, which allows the system to help pay for itself over time.
Overall, the addition of aeration to a lake or pond helps ensure a longer and healthier lifespan for your waterbody. And with new efforts and strides in solar technology since the rise of alternative energy sources, it’s possible to aerate any waterbody that was previously restricted due to its poor access to power. If you feel that your lake or pond may be a good candidate for solar aeration, consult your lake management professional to determine which system will be right for you.
Brent Weber is an Environmental Scientist and Territory Leader serving clients and their waterbodies throughout Nashville, TN and surrounding areas. Brent is passionate about restoring the natural balance of the varied ecosystems he services and is driven by his ability to have a direct impact on the environment.
SOLitude Lake Management is committed to providing full service lake and pond management services that improve water quality, preserve natural resources, and reduce our environmental footprint. Our services include lake, pond and fisheries management programs, algae and aquatic weed control, mechanical harvesting, installation and maintenance of fountains and aeration systems, water quality testing and restoration, bathymetry, lake vegetation studies, biological assessments, habitat assessments, invasive species management and nuisance wildlife management. Lake, pond and fisheries management services, consulting, and aquatic products are available nationwide. Learn more about SOLitude Lake Management and purchase products at www.solitudelakemanagement.com.