Hello and thank you for reading this post (first time posting, sorry if I make any mistakes!). We need some advice on heat pump vs solar panels to heat our 15'x30' oval above ground pool. We are in Connecticut and other than the month of July, the water is just too cool for anyone to comfortably swim in. Though we use a "clear" solar cover every night (and during the day when the pool is not used), the pool doesn't get enough direct sunlight. We have pretty much ruled out propane heaters based on expense though the idea of quick, on-demand heat is very appealing. Is there a "next best thing" that is cheaper to utilize? Our goal is to keep the water temperature swimmable for us (mid 80's ideally) from June through September (with occasional night swimming being even more ideal!). On average, the water temp. in June was low/mid 70's (didn't formally keep track though), the temperature peaks in July reaching around mid 80's most days then drops again to low/mid 70's in August and definitely September as air temps cool and the pool is in the shade more of the day. Water temp would likely need to be raised (and maintained) anywhere between 5-15 degrees in June, August and September (can a heat pump or solar panels even achieve the upper end of this?). Below are as many of our specifics as I could think to provide as well as a few primary concerns/questions. Any experienced advice you can offer to help us decide between a heat pump or roof mount solar panels would be very appreciated! (Next step would then be to get recommendations for brands!!).
* 15x30 oval above ground pool (10,600gallons) plumbed with 2" pvc (instead of the typical ABG flex piping) - a total of approximately 24' from pump/filter to pool, plus 3' up to skimmer/return.
* 2-speed Pentair Optiflo pump
* Pentair Clean & Clear 150 sf cartridge filter
* Roof where solar panels would be mounted is West facing but gets many hours of direct sunlight and is located directly behind the pool equipment. Would be about 10 1/2' up to roof edge.
Primary concerns and questions when comparing heat pump to solar roof panels:
1) most importantly, we want a heating option that does NOT require the pump to run on high if at all possible since we rely on the cost savings of running it on low. This is especially important if the heating method we choose requires a decent amount of running time to heat the water. I know I will need to figure out what my specific flow rate is when running my pump on low to be able to compare to the min/max gpm of the heating equipment. Is there a reasonably simple way for me to calculate this? Will the fact that we have 2" pvc plumbing to and from the pool (vs the standard smaller flex hose) impact the gpm?
2) like anyone, we want the best and quickest way to heat the pool (besides gas!). I know heat pump and solar panels each have their own pro's and cons and there is alot that impacts this - but in our specific application and region, is one really more effective than the other (cost-wise, quickness in heating the water, etc).
3) if we went solar panels, putting holes in our brand new roof is not real comforting a thought, but for those of you who have done this, is it truly a legit concern or if properly installed are leaks a non-issue?
I would like to have attached a photo showing the layout and roof area but am not sure how to do that.
Thank you again for any advice or personal experience from those with similar circumstances. I look forward to hearing back!