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Thread: Solar install questions

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    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Fremont OH

    Solar install questions

    I looking into heating options for my pool, and I'm trying to decide between solar, propane, or both. Last year was my first year with the pool, and there were times when we would have benefitted from an extra degree or two, so I think I'm going to add solar for now, and a propane heater later if needed.

    I have a shed that is close to the pool that I'd like to add panels on top of. The shed is 18 x 22, with what I think is a 4/12 roof. The peak of the roof runs exactly north to south. It leaves me with an east facing side, and a west facing side. For plumbing simplicity...I want to keep panels on the same side of the peak, right? I would think the sun would be more intense on the west side of the roof later in the day, but that's also the side of the roof that receives the prevailing wind, and sometimes there's a lot of prevailing wind in NW OH. What about orientation of the panels? I wanted to get two 4 x 20 panels, and run them the length of the roof, but the pictures online have them oriented running from the peak downward to the eaves. Does it matter?

    Any preferred brands? I keep seeing Smartpool, and it seems like they get decent reviews.

    Is the solar controller with the valve worth it? I'd rather do this right the first time.


  2. Back To Top    #2
    Mod Squad
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    DFW, TX

    Re: Solar install questions

    Yes, the solar controller is absolutely worth it. I waited about a year to add mine. If you aren't there to open and close the valve as needed then there will be days where you cool the pool as much or more than you heat it.

    Our solar panels have definitely given us lots of extra swim days and made the water more comfortable over the years and we are happy with them. I would install more panels if I had more roof and less trees. There are pics of my solar panels in my build thread, link in sig.

    You can put panels on both sides of the roof you just need to tee the plumbing supplying the panels so that both sides fill equally. It will work fine in your situation. Most panels I have seen are installed up/down. But, there is at least one brand that installs end to end. Can't think of it right now.

    I got my Vortex panels at You can get the same panels branded as Techno-Solis from

    Here is another thread about solar panels
    My solar panels after 5 summers and winters
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  3. Back To Top    #3
    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SW Indiana

    Re: Solar install questions

    My guess would be you'd want them on the west side first, but both sides would work.

    East side panels would be working during the cooler part of the day and you'd have heat loss to cooler air. Wind is still going to affect them on as a 4/12 pitch won't block the wind like a steeper pitch would.

    You'd be better off running them vertically. Easier to set them up so they drain on their own when the pool water is too warm or for winterization and easier to anchor them. I have 8' panels on my 12X24 building which has about a 5/12 pitch.
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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Tucson, AZ

    Re: Solar install questions

    Those 20' long cheap solar mats are not designed to run vertically I do not think. But, running them horizontally on a steep roof often results in sagging if they are not properly secured.

    If you are going to go with the 20' panels, looks like you might be able fit 4 of them, the more area the better. Just make sure you do the plumbing so the water always has to travel the same distance. Feed the header at the bottom of one side and return out of the back at the opposite end on the top.
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