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Thread: Solar plumbing check

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    Solar plumbing check

    Hello -

    I just finished plumbing a couple of solar panels on the roof. For the sake of a sanity check, is this plumbed correctly? These are 4x20 Solar Bear Panels. So the supply and return are both on the same side. I plumbed them parallel but with a slight deviation that I read about in another thread.
    Instead of the return from the 1st panel going directly back to the main return line, I plumbed it up to Tee into the 2nd (top) panel's return line. Is this correct? Also, am I okay using a straight/ 90 degree Tee versus a Wye that directs the water to the way I want it to flow?

    I had a few leaks that I saw and quickly fixed. However, there is still air getting the system as the return line is bubbling. I don't see any more leaks on the roof portion. Should I care? I haven't seen the water level of the pool drop at all. If so, how do I locate the leak? There couldn't still be air in the panels after a day of running them right?



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    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Sarasota Florida

    Re: Solar plumbing check

    I am no expert on solar panels but mine come in on 1 end and leave the other. You cannot see the other end on yours in the picture. On mine the ends you can see are tied together from 1 panel to the next.
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    Kidney shaped ~ 10000 gallon Ig Plaster pool with pool cage. 120sf Cartridge filter. Pentair WhisperFlo WFDS-26, 230 Volt, 7.8/3.0 Amp, 1-1/2 Horsepower 2 speed pump, Solar panels on the roof. Heliotrope HelioMatic 4000D solar controller.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Silver Spring, MD

    Re: Solar plumbing check

    The way you did the T fittings to split the water between the panels is not ideal, but shouldn't cause any serious problems. The upper panel takes the straight through path on both the supply and return, which means it is going to get slightly more water flow than the lower panel will (which takes the 90 degree turns in both places). You could balance that out by having each panel be straight through on one side and 90 degrees on the other side (sides being supply and return). But at this point this probably isn't worth worrying about at all.

    When using above ground panels, which have the supply and return on the same end, on a roof you run a risk that the panels will never drain completely and could be damaged by freezing over the winter. If you look at the drawing mdhwoods used, there is always a clear downward path for water to follow when draining.

    Another issue is that you don't have a vacuum release valve, at least I didn't see one. That means the panels will always be full of water. That creates some extra stress on both the panels and the roof, that isn't really necessary.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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