Solar pool heaters are cost competitive with conventional gas and heat pump pool heaters. To buy and install a solar pool heating system costs between $3,000 and $4,000. The payback range starts between 1.5 and 7 years, depending on local fuel costs.
Components of A Solar Pool Heater
Most solar pool heating systems include solar collectors. A water pump (usually electrical) circulates the water. A filter removes debris and helps to avoid plugging of the solar pool heating system. The water flow is controlled by a flow control valve that diverts pool water through the solar collector.
How Does Solar Pool Heating Work?
Pool water is pumped through the filter and circulated through the solar pool collectors. It is then heated by the sun and returned to the pool. When pool temperature and collector temperature are similar, the water simply by-passes the collectors and is returned to the pool.
A sensor for solar pool heating and an automatic or manual valve divert water through the collectors when the temperature of the water in the collectors is high enough.
Solar pool collectors can also cool the water temperature of a pool down by circulating cool water through the collectors at night.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy
Solar Pool Collectors
Climate and desired purpose of a solar pool collector determine which type of collector will best suit your needs.
For a pool that is only used when temperatures are above freezing, an unglazed collector system is sufficient. Glazed collector systems are more expensive, but they are also more efficient for solar pool heating, especially in colder weather. With heat exchangers and transfer fluids, glazed collector systems can capture more solar energy.
Selecting a Solar Pool Heater
To select the size of your solar pool heating system, the following factors have to be considered: the size of the pool, length of the swimming season, average regional temperatures, desired pool temperature, collector orientation and tilt, collector efficiency, and the use of a pool cover.
If you want to analyze your individual solar site and solar pool costs, please contact a local solar system supplier or installer to help you to determine size and efficiency of your system and to inform you about local codes, covenants, and regulations.