I recently 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 a special 33% members discount on top of the sale price it was just under $60 to my doorstep after adding shipping. I think that's a fair price, but not a steal. The basin part is made in India of iron and copper (plate?) and the whole thing went together in a self-evident way.
My awareness of solar fountains was raised by Kathy over at Pardon Our Dust who earlier gave effusive praise for her solar fountain. In fact, her praise at first seemed a bit over the top, but now I'm beginning to see what she likes about it.
I still haven't been convinced that there is any positive return on investment to be made from going solar in this case, but I have to admit that the solar aspect of the fountain is the best part. Of course I like that I can locate the fountain without regard to power connection. But here's what I like best, and it's something that might be considered a liability in other cases: When clouds pass overhead or other changes occur in sun exposure the pump will will slow or even stop for a while. This is great because rather than the metronomic patter of a constant stream of water, I have a sound that can vary significantly through the day. I find this far more organic, interesting, and relaxing than the constant tinkle of a grid-powered pump.