Solar Fountains


Solar Fountain Sculpture Set – Teachers Guide (includes student worksheets). The video above “Intro to Solar Fountain Set – Engineering Solar Solutions” provides narrative and visual of the activities in the guide. [PDF v.20190103]

INVENTORY sheet for the SSH-SFSS2 Solar Fountain Sculpture Set. (v20220715)

The Teachers guide includes 4 activities:

  1. Solvann Challenge – With minimal instruction, students are challenged to design and build a solar fountain structure that stands on its own, pumps water up a minimum of 2 ft., and directs the water back into the basin.  No Digital Multi-meters (DMMs) required.
  • Sunny Side Up –This scenario assumes students are at an Environmental Center where the solar array that powers the water pump had fallen down in a storm. Students need to find the direction toward the sun that provides the most water. This project challenges students to measure and chart flow rates at various solar orientations throughout the day.
  • What’s Your Angle? This project provides more detailed analysis of solar orientation and power output, and requires the use of DMMs. Student teams build and test solar fountains at specific alignments to the sun. Concepts of solar azimuth and altitude are explored, and the relationship between current, voltage and flow rate is tested.
  • 365 Day Simulation – Since the sun also changes its path in the sky through the seasons, this 365 day simulation lets students see how much energy the solar fountain array would produce over the course of a year at the best tilt angle and compass direction they found. A Free online tool for calculating the yearly output of a solar array, called the PV Watts calculator is available from the National Renewable Energy Lab. By running the simulation several times, students will learn how simulations can help find the maximum energy production for a whole year. They begin to see the complexity of designing a solar photovoltaic system array.



Solar Fountain Sculpture Set in Action. Clear pipe provides ability to view water flow rates. “Deluxe” set (#SFSS2) includes 4 – 3V*1A solar modules which can be wired in series to produce a 12v power supply for the pump and fountain. Other 12v solar module options can also be used.

INVENTORY sheet for the SSH-SFSS2 Solar Fountain Sculpture Set. (v20220513)

available via Solar Schoolhouse Store

“Make a Solar Fountain” Solar Schoolhouse article in Home Power Magazine (2005) [1.8 MB PDF] Highlights various ways to make a solar fountain using a 12v bilge pump and and 12 vdc Solar Module, plus some creativity.

Photo Collage of Solar fountains “Run by the Sun”  from past Solar Schoolhouse Calendars [900kB PDF]

[Teaching Solar] Building a Solar Fountain [PDF] Excerpt from the Teaching Solar Guidebook. Tips for designing a solar fountain using a 12v pump and 12v solar module.

View pictures of various Solar Schoolhouse Solar Fountain Projects


View pictures and commentary of Solar Fountain Sculpture Sets in use at an event in Sacramento. [20170427]

Articles from the Home Power Archives @ Solar Water Pumping.

These articles typically highlight a project and provide design strategies, specs, materials, and costs. The design concepts haven’t changed much today, but the costs and suppliers may have changed. Click on the links below to download or open the articles (pdf). Though no longer publishing, archived issues are found online at

HP97 Solar Water Pumping makes Sense

HP101 Solar Water Pumping in West Africa

HP122 Pumping Water with the Wind

HP125 Pumping Water with Sunshine

HP145 PV-Direct Water Pumping

HP164 Solar-Powered Water Pumping

HP108-109 PV Pole Mount

Father Verspieren and Mali Aqua Viva: Lessons learned from fighting drought and poverty with photovoltaic solar energy in Africa. Early 1970s. The first use of PV direct to dc pump. Paper by M.Pagliaro. Posted April 03, 2020. Creative Commons.

Archived: Solar Fountain Sculpture Set [User Guide v20110929  3.3 MB pdf]

Archived: [Teaching Solar] Solar Water Pumping [PDF] excerpt from our Teaching Solar Guidebook. Uses the Solar Power Monitor which can be replaced by 2 Digital Multimeters.