Can Homeowners Use Their Solar Panel System to Heat Their Pool?

Installing Solar Panels in Florida

If you own a pool, coming out of the summer season, reducing the cost of upkeep is likely to pique your interest. Anything you can do to alleviate that financial burden so you are free to enjoy it is probably welcome.

According to Forbes Magazine, “On average, pool maintenance costs $180 per month during the season when the pool is in use,” which translates to $1,450 annually.

Solar pool heaters are an economical and environmentally-friendly alternative to grid-powered heating systems – but do they actually work? Do they really reduce your pool upkeep costs? Let’s find out.

What are solar panels and how do they work?

The technology behind solar panels has developed rapidly in recent years, making them simultaneously more efficient and more affordable.

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, capture the vast (effectively limitless) energy emitted by the sun and convert it into usable electricity in a manner similar to the way plants convert sunlight into energy via photosynthesis.

“Solar cells” — most often comprised of silicon, phosphorous (providing the negative charge), and boron (providing the positive charge) — capture the photons from the sunlight. The electrical field generated by the solar cells liberates the electrons from the sunlight’s photons, which are then pulled into a directional current.

And, just like that, you have 100%-clean, renewable power all year round thanks to Florida’s plentiful sunlight.

Solar panel dimensions are generally 5.5 feet x 3.25 feet and they weigh between 2-4 pounds. The best place to place them is on a roof for maximum sunlight exposure.

Solar cell system diagram. Vector illustrations.

How do solar-powered pool heaters work?

The four main components of solar pool heaters include:

  • The “solar collector”: water transported from the pool to be heated circulates through the solar collector
  • The filter: responsible for filtering water traveling to the collector
  • The pump: responsible for circulating water through the filter and collector before it returns to the pool
  • The flow control valve shunts water into the solar collector from the pool. It can be manual or automatic. 

Here’s how solar pool heaters work, in a nutshell:

  • The pump sends water from the pool into the solar collector, passing first through the filter
  • The solar collector heats the water
  • The heated water is returned to the pool

Voila, you have a nicely heated pool to enjoy whenever the urge strikes, even in November.

Check out this quick tutorial on how solar pool heaters work:

The best solar pool heaters, like the ones we offer at Compass Solar, feature automatic sensors that detect when the temperature in the collectors is significantly higher than the temperature in the pool, which indicates an ideal heating period. When the time is right, like during peak sunlight hours, the heating process sets in motion automatically, so you don’t need to worry about turning on and off your solar pool heaters.

In addition to heating your pool, the solar pool heating system’s function can be reversed during a heat wave to cool the water as need be when the collectors are cooler than the pool, like at night.

source: US Department of Energy

What are solar-powered pool heaters’ main benefits for homeowners?

Here’s what to consider in terms of the benefits you can expect to enjoy from owning a solar-powered pool heater:

  •  Longer swimming season. North Florida stays warm a lot of the time, but there’s still a span of months in the late fall through the winter and early spring when the water is often uncomfortably cold for most people. Solar-powered pool heaters allow you to stay poolside at least for nine months, if not year-round.
  •  Less maintenance. Solar heating panels are significantly more owner-friendly than electric or gas heaters because they require very little upkeep.
  • Durability. Solar pool heating system panels are durable, potentially lasting years. Many panels, like Ultra Swim Panels, come with a two-year warranty.
  •  Environmentally friendly. The carbon footprint that solar panel systems leave is approximately zero. In fact, they can contribute carbon-neutral energy back to the community (at a premium paid to the owner) via solar buyback programs. (Learn the truth about solar buyback programs.)
  • Reduced cost. Last but certainly not least, there is the reduced cost – the massive relief on your energy bill that you’ll feel the very first month you use your new solar pool heating panels.

Plus, solar panels in general boost your home’s property value. According to a CNBC analysis, solar panel systems increase a Florida home’s value by “4% ($9,454) for the median-valued home.”

Cut your power bill down to size

Depending on the temperature you keep your pool, and how consistently you heat it, anywhere from $50-$250 of your monthly power bill is likely dedicated to pool heating alone.

If you’ve got a pool but it’s powered by the energy grid and not by a solar panel system, take control of your energy bills and save money. Don’t waste hundreds, or thousands, of dollars each month just to heat your pool.

The sun is the world’s one true renewable resource; why not contribute to energy conservation and save money on your utility bill each month while you do it (not to mention upping your home’s property value)?

Best of all, according to the US Department of Energy, solar pool heaters are cost-competitive with conventional pool heaters. Financially, they’re all upside when you’re considering how to most efficiently heat your pool.

Natural gas heaters vs solar pool heaters

Of course, many homeowners’ cost-benefits analysis boils down to the price tag – do solar pool heaters make good financial sense (or cents)? Let’s see.

Per the US Department of Energy, a 1,000-square-foot outdoor pool outfitted with a reliably efficient gas heater costs, on average, over $2,900 annually.

On the other hand, the average solar pool heater costs about $5,500.

With virtually no overhead costs, that means that within two years it’s entirely possibly for your solar pool heating system to have paid for itself, with further dividends accruing throughout the lifespan of your solar panel system.

Contact Compass Solar to learn more about solar pool heaters

Would you like to learn more about the myriad benefits that solar panels offer to homeowners? Contact us and we’ll be happy to chat with one of our neighbors.

We offer nearly interest-free (0-0.049% APR) installation with affordable monthly payments, generous tax incentives at the state and federal level, and even the ability to sell your excess power back to the grid at a premium – all while benefiting the environment by cutting your carbon footprint down to negligible levels, or possibly zero.

With solar power, everyone wins.