So, our brand new pool with cover + solar + heat pump has been running for about 6 weeks now and we're located in San Diego with relatively mild weather and good sunlight all year long but slightly expensive electric....initial design assumes a mid Feb - late Nov swimming season...I've been monitoring how the panels and heat pump affect the water temp and we've maintained 65 degrees with solar only throughout most of January (unheated pools in the local area seem to be around 50 degrees).
Surprisingly, this week is relatively hot..and air temp may reach the 80's nearby...I've been running the heat pump + solar manually to get an early start on our season...water temp just passed 70 degrees and I might have it up to 74 degrees by end of tomorrow...at which point, I hope solar only should be able to maintain that temp until April/May when we get to a final desired water temp of 84. Heating would be setup as solar preferred in intellitouch and run for ~8hrs/day, with the heat pump going on when weather is cloudy. I suspect heating to have to rarely run during June-August.
I suspect we probably could use more solar panels...perhaps 100 sqft on the ideal sides of our roof facing the sun. we currently have a ratio of 1 sqft of solar for every sq ft of water surface, but the panels are facing in a non optimal direction and the pool gets both wind and shade. The current panels are 550 sq ft of heliocool which should have a peak output of ~400K btu. The heat pump is rated for 110K btu. Solar is on its own valve and pump speed, but the heat pump always has water passing through (~40-55 gpm).
Due to our electric rates, it would make sense to limit the amount of time the heat pump runs...and maximize solar, but perhaps run both near the start and end of each season. I'm not sure that screenlogic/intellitouch supports a way to run both at the same time or limit it to certain months.
I'm curious what steps others have taken when they analyze how well their pool heating is working, maximing heating during season startup, and especially dealing with the pecularities of joint solar/heat pump configuration or very long swimming seasons. Is there anything I can do to optimize this configuration?