Loving my new solar-powered fountain

Solarfountain3I’m loving my new solar-powered fountain, which gives me the soothing sounds of water outside my office window without running up my electric bill. And I feel connected to nature, as the fountain begins running in the morning only after the sun comes up. Because it has a 6-volt battery that gets charged up during the day, it runs far into the night or early next morning before running out of steam.

(When you live in Southern California, you can buy a solar-powered fountain with winter coming on and no one will think you’re loony.)

But gosh this fountain was hard to find. Once I decided I had to have a solar fountain, I checked at four local garden shops and OSH. Everyone I spoke with thought a solar-powered fountain was a dandy idea, but no one carried them. Online, I found a nice-looking one at Gaiam, but as I dug deeper into the Internet, the reviews by other purchasers of that style weren’t very glowing.

Finally, I stumbled across the fountain at my local Home Depot. It was sitting dry and dejected off to the side, and it turns out it was special-ordered for a customer who never picked it up. The 6-by-10-inch solar panel caught my eye, and I got the garden staff to fill the fountain with water to test it out. The panel had been sitting in the sun for who knows how long, and so was fully charged, and the water started gurgling immediately. It seemed like magic.

I bought the 30-inch-high, granite-looking resin thing for $220 (way too much!), with the guarantee that I could bring it back if it didn’t work out right. But it has no label, no box, no instruction manual, no nothing. I can’t find it anywhere on the Internet.

If you know of a good source for solar-powered fountains, please comment below.

8 Comments on Loving my new solar-powered fountain

  1. Judy

    Hi Kathy et als —
    How are the solar fountains doing? I live in the Inland Empire and am in the process of doing on-line research for a solar fountain. I would much prefer to buy one at a store but I’m having the same luck, or lack there of, that you’ve experienced.
    Thanks in advance for your input!
    KPR: Judy, my solar fountain pump died after a few months. If anyone has had better luck, please let us know!

  2. kathy Price-Robinson

    Wow, Brent, me a trend setter? Who would have thunk it? Thanks for the compliment!
    And Chris, you may be right about the weak battery, but it’s too early to tell.
    When I first got the fountain last year, the sun was still high and the north side of my house got plenty of sun and my fountain ran late into the night. But as the axis of the earth shifted the northern hemisphere away from the sun, I got less sun back there and in the depth of winter, the fountain only ran when the sun was shining on the panel. So I thought the battery was no longer good. However, after the winter solstice, and as I got more sun on my back patio, I noticed the fountain running past the time when the sun dropped behind the trees. So now I’m not sure about the battery being good or bad. I think with another month or so of observation I’ll be able to determine its status.
    I do want to say that even if the battery was not good, I’m still enjoying my fountain. Many solar fountains have no battery anyway, and only run in the direct sun.
    I have a habit of sitting on my patio in the early morning with my coffee (fair trade and organic, thank you Sheila for the suggestion) and my laptop computer, and when I first hear the gurgling of my fountain starting up when the sun rises, I get very happy. And the movement of the water during the day alerts the birds that a drink and a bath are nearby. I seem to get quite a few hummingbirds who enjoy the shallow water at the top level of my fountain.
    As for the solar panel, I don’t try to hide it. To me, it’s beautiful and a vision of what I want my future to be about.
    Thanks for asking! I’ll try to remember to post in a month or so to report on the status of the battery.

  3. Chris Strebel

    I am interested to see if the fountain is still working as wonderfully as when it was first purchased. I source products from Asia and I have been staying away from solar items because the product returns are so high. The problem used to be that they were using substandard solar panels. That problem has been fixed and now the problem is that they are using cheap batteries that prematurely die after a couple of months of charging and and recharging. I am also interested in how you camouflaged the 6×10 solar panel so it still gets light, but isn’t an eyesore.

  4. Brent

    Well, it looks like you were once again in the vanguard of trends, Kathy.
    I just got an email from the National Wildlife Federation advertising a sale. I followed the link and lo and behold — there’s a solar powered fountain on sale. With my members discount on top of the sale price it’s just under $60 after adding shipping.
    discount code for 33% off until 11 Feb midnight: MEMBER33

  5. Kathy Price-Robinson

    Peggy, you must send photos when your fountain is up and running so I can post them on this blog. Hey, you could be a Guest Blogger! Oh, boy. If you write a paragraph or two about how you found your supplies, what they cost, and how you put them together, that would be killer! I’m looking forward to it Peggy.

  6. Peggy Deras, CKD, CID

    You might try placing the solar panel up on the roof where it can get more rays.
    It wouldn’t be as conspicuous there if the wire could be hidden behind a downspout or painted to match the house.
    I have the same situation and that’s what I will do.
    I just picked up a pot and still need to get the reservoir and a bamboo spout and the solar panel and pump for what I have in mind.
    I’m going to sink one of those black plastic pond liners into the ground (if I can find a small one); fill it with stones and put the green glazed pot on top with the bamboo spout dripping the water into the pot.
    I can’t wait!

  7. Kathy Price-Robinson

    Peggy, at 8:05 a.m. I heard a little gurgling noise behind me on the patio, and seconds later my solar fountain was in full swing. I’m still loving it. It’s only been a month, of course, but it seems to be doing fine. My patio is north-facing, so I don’t get a lot of sun in the winter, so there’s not a lot of time to get the battery in the solar panel charged up. After the sun goes behind the house, around 1 p.m., the fountain only runs for a few hours after that on battery power. I’m not sure if the battery is weaker, or if there’s not enough sun to fully charge it to run the fountain longer. But the panel itself is working great, and the pump is strong. A hummingbird with an iridescent red neck has just stopped by to check it out. I’ve never seen a hummingbird take a bath! This is another benefit of the fountain: it alerts birds that water is available. I’m loving it!

  8. Peggy Deras, CKD, CID

    I’d be very interested to know how that fountain is working for you.
    I was also discouraged about using solar for a fountain by the local landscape shop.
    They said the systems don’t hold up.
    I love the way your looks, and such a bargain!