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Thread: Solar Panel Install Question

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    Solar Panel Install Question

    I just got 4 2'x20' solar panels. I'd like to build a stand to mount them at an angle. Would they need a solid backing to lay on or just a frame? I found a mounting kit here:

    http://www.solartubs.com/solar-water...ting-kits.html

    It looks like it is just a metal frame. If that's all I need then I think I could build one with materials I have for no cost.
    15' x 30' x 52" Oval AGP; 1hp Hayward Powerflo LX Pump; Hayward Sand Filter; 4 2'x20' Sungrabber Solar Panels; Compupool CPSC36 SWG

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Install Question

    I would recommend a solid backing for 2 reasons:
    1. If the supports are too far apart, the panels will sag a lot between them when they get warm
    2. Wind able to blow behind and through them will actually cool them reducing their heating efficiency.

    Also I do not think those frames are for the flexible pool solar panels ... look more like they are for more solid solar applications ... although they could work if you mounted a solid backing for the pool solar panels.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Solar Panel Install Question

    Both are good points. I think I'll just go ahead and build it right the first time. I have another question after reading through the instructions. It looks like you are supposed to leave the diverter valve partially open all the time. Is that correct?
    15' x 30' x 52" Oval AGP; 1hp Hayward Powerflo LX Pump; Hayward Sand Filter; 4 2'x20' Sungrabber Solar Panels; Compupool CPSC36 SWG

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Install Question

    Well you can use the diverter valve to throttle the flow through the panels. But you get the most efficient heating with higher flow rates through the panels.

    Not sure what you mean by "open".

    Posted with Tapatalk ... sorry if I sound short ... hate typing on phone
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Solar Panel Install Question

    A diverter valve would be used if you the panels were going to get too much flow. Flow through a solar pool panel is about .1-GPM per square foot of panel. You then have the pool that needs a certain GPM to turn-over. If the pump needs to run at 40 GPM and you have only 300 sq-ft of solar panel you'd have more flow than the panel may handle so you'd divert 10 GPM. Most panels will not have a problem with the added flow however and so you most likely don't need the diverter valve.

    On the subject of framing. You want the panels in the sun for as much of the day as possible but tilting them is not needed to get the most out of them and so I would work on asthetics of the install. If you have a place to lay them directly on the ground that would be fine so long as you're using a reverse return setup. There are so many ways to make panels not look so bad. I've seen them mounted vertically on the outside of fencing so that it couldn't be seen. I've seen them mounted on a black mulch bed and you really didn't notice the panels. Some will say that orientation is important and in solar electric it is but here it's just not. You have to do just a bit of thinking with regards to winter but that's about it.
    Northeast PA (Mt Cobb) 16,000 gallon in ground salt pool with all Pentair automation and Intelliflo VS pump. Also part of the pool is a two 5-horsepower 3-jet Badujet swim system. For heating we use a 384 sq-ft Heliocol solar pool heating system and additional solar from the 160 sq-ft house solar heating system.

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    Re: Solar Panel Install Question

    That makes sense. My pump states it flows 60gpm and I have about 160 square feet of panels so I may need to open the diverter valve to adjust the flow rate. That's basically what the instructions said but the way you explained is easier to understand.

    I bought some osb panels to attach to a wooden frame to mount the panels to. It will be angled on a hillside and I plan on building a fence in front of that to hide it.
    15' x 30' x 52" Oval AGP; 1hp Hayward Powerflo LX Pump; Hayward Sand Filter; 4 2'x20' Sungrabber Solar Panels; Compupool CPSC36 SWG

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Install Question

    Your pump is most likely no where near 60 gpm ... that would be optimum but when you add plumbing/fitting/etc into the mix the added head loss reduces water flow.

    In any case, you want to use a 3-way diverter valve anyways. Then you have the ability to shut off the solar when not needed and as state above adjust the water flow through the panels if needed. Generally the more water you flow through the panels the more heat you are adding to your water. But, with only 160 sqft you may not want all of it running through the panels.

    The simple way to tell if you have enough flow through the panels is to feel them with the water flowing. If the panels feel warm, then you need more flow to take advantage of the heat. So just keep bumping up the flow until the panels are cool to the touch.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Solar Panel Install Question

    Quote Originally Posted by jongig

    On the subject of framing. You want the panels in the sun for as much of the day as possible but tilting them is not needed to get the most out of them and so I would work on asthetics of the install.

    Some will say that orientation is important and in solar electric it is but here it's just not. You have to do just a bit of thinking with regards to winter but that's about it.
    For better heating in spring and fall having the panels tilted is good, the closer the suns angle is to perpendicular to the panels the better.

    While the panels may help some facing north, west, east, the best direction, barring obstructions, would be south to southwest so you get the most direct sun.
    DONE, 20 x 40, inground gunite, 30" raised bond beam with 3 12" sheer descents, 8' diving board, pentair 420 cartridge filter, vs-3050 pump, intellechlor ic-40, auto cvr, Tahoe blue pebble tech, 6ea 4' x 12.5' & 2ea 1' x 12.5' helicol solar panels, legend robotic cleaner.

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    Re: Solar Panel Install Question

    Quote Originally Posted by sturge33
    That makes sense. My pump states it flows 60gpm and I have about 160 square feet of panels so I may need to open the diverter valve to adjust the flow rate. That's basically what the instructions said but the way you explained is easier to understand.

    I bought some osb panels to attach to a wooden frame to mount the panels to. It will be angled on a hillside and I plan on building a fence in front of that to hide it.
    Did you ever finish building this stand? Would love to see some pics, as I still have to build a stand for 4 2'x20' panels myself.

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