Photo credit: Positively Patio
Growing up in the Midwest I didn’t see many misting systems of any kind. We were pretty much limited to greenhouses or botanical gardens. But during a stint in the desert climate of southern California I beheld a much wider range of uses and came to understand the awesome relief that a misting system offers, for humans and plant life alike. Misting systems lined restaurant patios, greenhouses, courtyards, landscaping, and anywhere else that plant growth and the hot and dry local climate came into conflict.
Adding solar power to such an equation is a no brainer in a dry climate such as the desert, one that can have valuable potential elsewhere as well, even in those midwestern greenhouses. Just to be clear, a misting system usually consists of piping suspended above rows of plants or landscape, hanging from the rafters of the structure. You might also find them lining the edge of a covered patio or deck to keep the people underneath cool. The misting system may get those “outer” guests just a wee bit wet but, more importantly, it helps to cool the ambient air in and around the patio enclosure in a type of evaporative cooling.
Now water for a misting system need not be heated, so we’re not talking about your average solar thermal system here. Instead there are a few ways that solar power can work with your misting system to help save energy.
Automatic misting systems use a small electric pump to send water through the system, as well as electrical components to control timing and water flow. A small solar electric system, perhaps containing just a single panel, can be installed to power the pump and controls. This is especially useful for remote greenhouses and other situations where you would otherwise have to run electricity out and away from the home. The harnessed solar power could also power lighting and other electrical needs in the area.
Solar sensors are more of a solar gadget that can be used to make misting systems more energy and water efficient. These sensors detect changes in sunlight, temperature, and humidity so that you are misting only when necessary. Solar, or sunlight, sensors are also common in drip irrigation systems and other similar applications.
For more information on solar misting systems, sprinkler systems, and related topics, visit CalFinder’s extensive Landscaping Library.