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Thread: How many square feet of solar is really needed?

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    Flbeachluvr's Avatar
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    How many square feet of solar is really needed?

    Just got a quote over the weekend on putting in solar panels to extend our swimming season. Our pool is more round than oval (see avatar), approximately 14' x 24' and 3-5' deep. The salesperson estimated about 336 square feet and said optimally we should get 5 panels but that we could probably do with only 4 given that our pool gets full sun all day. This equals out to about 200 square feet of Heliocol panels. I don't want to short-change ourselves but don't want to get the 5th panel if we really don't need it.

    What does everyone think?
    Pool completed 3/21/2016
    8800 gallons, plaster 14' x 24', 3/4 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartridge filter, Blue Essence T-5 SWG, Kreepy Krauly Kruiser, Taylor K-2006 test kit with Speedstir, Taylor K-1766 salt test and 250 sq. ft. of Heliocol solar panels with Pentair Solartouch control system

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: How many square feet of solar is really needed?

    The more sqft, the more heat you will add.

    This is hard for us to suggest since we do not know the sun exposure of your pool or the roof where the panels will be located. So, Heliocol is in a better place to make suggestions. The fact that they are saying you could get by with fewer panels to seems to indicate they are not trying to run the price up on you.

    If it fits and you have the budget, I would get the 5 panels ... but I have a 500 sqft setup in Tucson, AZ which is way over-sized
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Flbeachluvr's Avatar
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    Re: How many square feet of solar is really needed?

    Ok. I'm always second guessing decisions like this. Neither my husband or myself like a super hot pool. In fact last weekend it was 86 degrees just from the sun and it was fine for my husband and just a couple of degrees cooler than I would like. Pool does get full all day sun. My roof sides face east and west.

    Maybe I'll give the salesguy a call and see what the price difference would be. We are already getting a special deal since our neighbors are also getting a system at the same time.
    Pool completed 3/21/2016
    8800 gallons, plaster 14' x 24', 3/4 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartridge filter, Blue Essence T-5 SWG, Kreepy Krauly Kruiser, Taylor K-2006 test kit with Speedstir, Taylor K-1766 salt test and 250 sq. ft. of Heliocol solar panels with Pentair Solartouch control system

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: How many square feet of solar is really needed?

    I have a 2 speed pump, so the fact that I have a large solar array means that I do not need to run the solar as long on high speed to maintain temp and can switch to low speed for power savings. In the summer, I am not sure my solar runs more than 30 minutes a day. It is much more useful in the spring and fall, letting us swim 6 weeks ago.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Flbeachluvr's Avatar
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    Re: How many square feet of solar is really needed?

    I just called the sales guy and think I'll go with the 5 panels just so there's no regrets.


    Pool completed 3/21/2016
    8800 gallons, plaster 14' x 24', 3/4 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartridge filter, Blue Essence T-5 SWG, Kreepy Krauly Kruiser, Taylor K-2006 test kit with Speedstir, Taylor K-1766 salt test and 250 sq. ft. of Heliocol solar panels with Pentair Solartouch control system

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: How many square feet of solar is really needed?

    The big question here is what is your goal, is it to increase peak summer pool temperature or is it to extend the swim season. In your region in central Florida it is possible to get a near 12 month swim season with solar, however it is a LOT easier to get a 10 month swim season, and takes fewer panels, the problem is there is just not that much energy in the winter time sunlight, that combined with somewhat shorter days and you take a double hit on solar performance. As a result the shoulder seasons can be a bit unpredictable if you don't have excessively sized solar. What tends to happen with my setup in the fall at some point we will have a cold front and several cloudy days, then more warmish weather, however by this point the solar heater can never regain the heat lost during those cold and cloudy days. In the Spring the reverse happens, for example this year with our mild winter my pool temperature never dropped much below 70 degrees, however it was not until early February that it broke 80 degrees, and not until early April that it started maintaining my cut off set point of 84 degrees, all of this with a solar cover on the pool, now at the first of May it will maintain that 84 degree set point without a cover even though we are having a high today of only about 75 degrees and most days barely break 80. (warm winter/ cool spring this year). Personally I like my pool water cooler than most people and put my comfortable minimum temperature cut off around 78 degrees (as I get older this number goes up, not that many years ago (or so it seems) my ideal pool temperature was about 78 or 79, now it is 83/84)

    Ike

    p.s. I would suggest getting at least 3 bids from the major players, Fafco, AquaTherm, Techno-Solis, as well as Helicol

    also regardless of which you go with get a solar controller if you don't already have an automation system that supports solar heat
    Indoor 20x40 35,000 gallon vinyl pool with 1.5 HP 2 speed Jandy FloPro pump, Hayward EC75 Perflex DE filter, 11 4x12 Techno-Solis solar panels w/ Aquasolar controller, Aquabot Turbo T Robot Cleaner. Also LMI metering chlorine dispenser pump and HotSpring Jetsetter
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    Flbeachluvr's Avatar
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    Re: How many square feet of solar is really needed?

    Thanks for the info. We really just want to extend our swim season a bit. My husband is ok with colder water (below 80 degrees) but I'm not. My bottom water temp is 85 which we finally hit this weekend.


    Pool completed 3/21/2016
    8800 gallons, plaster 14' x 24', 3/4 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartridge filter, Blue Essence T-5 SWG, Kreepy Krauly Kruiser, Taylor K-2006 test kit with Speedstir, Taylor K-1766 salt test and 250 sq. ft. of Heliocol solar panels with Pentair Solartouch control system

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    Flbeachluvr's Avatar
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    Re: How many square feet of solar is really needed?

    Oh and yes, we are getting the controller.


    Pool completed 3/21/2016
    8800 gallons, plaster 14' x 24', 3/4 hp Hayward pump, Hayward cartridge filter, Blue Essence T-5 SWG, Kreepy Krauly Kruiser, Taylor K-2006 test kit with Speedstir, Taylor K-1766 salt test and 250 sq. ft. of Heliocol solar panels with Pentair Solartouch control system

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: How many square feet of solar is really needed?

    Good, +1 for a solar controller. Our solar works much better with a controller to turn it when heat is available and off when it is too cold.
    TFP Moderator
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