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Thread: Solar Panel Heat

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    Solar Panel Heat

    I am building a new pool house in the fall and am strongly considering having solar panels installed on the roof to heat the in-ground pool to extend our pool season. I am located in Southern Illinois (Carbondale) but am having no luck locating a company that does installation or even sells the product. Does anyone have any resources or contacts that may be able to help? The architect is patiently waiting for my decision on the solar panels, as it will affect the pitch of the roof and which design we go with. Since I'm in Southern Illinois, I am near southeast Missouri, St. Louis, southern Indiana, and northern Kentucky. Any information is appreciated. I am worried that I may end up having to order online and hope the contractor can figure out how to properly install, which scares me.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Heat

    Installation is fairly simple. They are attached at the top with lag bolts, often have a strap across the middle, then another lag bolt at the bottom.

    There are panels available that can be customized to length, so you really can't go wrong with the roof.

    I built my pool house to accomodate 6 panels that are nominally 4'X8', though I had to go with a 26' roof length to fit the panels with the connectors on it. My roof is about a 5/12 pitch.

    Off the shelf panels are generally nominally 20ft, 12ft and less commonly 8ft. What are the expected dimensions of your building?

    I used Solar Depot panels just because they were available in 8ft length and designed my roof around them. Fafco and Heliocol are two of the big brands in panels, but may only be available to dealers. I wouldn't hesitate to go with the panels I've got.

    I'm in Southern Indiana, a little north of you and 2 hours or so east, and I love my panels.

    Here is my 12X24 building

    IMG_1071.jpg
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    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Solar Panel Heat

    So if I purchase the panels, I should feel confident that the contractors will be able to properly install with the appropriate installation manual/information? The other question I have is that the pool pump will be in a little side building. I'm going to attach a photo of the plans and you will see what I mean. Will it be a problem to have the panels on the main building and just run the pipe along the fence line to the pump? Twill be a small patio between the buildings. I think the storage building is too small to fit

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Heat

    No, horizontal runs within reason won't be a problem, but you need to be sure to get your panel outlet connected back into the return line before any kind of inline chlorinator like an SWCG. That might mean you need to run to the panels and then back to the equipment area to make everything work.


    Just make sure you know what the space requirements are for your panels. They generally have spacing requirements above and below the panels as well as the installed width listed somewhere. You need to account for the fact that the panels need to be slightly tilted so they drain to one end. Mine are tilted, but the picture was taken with a wide lens that skewed the perspective making the roof look bowed and the panels straight.
    TFP Moderator
    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Re: Solar Panel Heat

    So your building is 12x24. You have 6 panels that I can see, 4x8 each. So you have approximately 192 sq feet of panels, right? and your pool is 20x36. Mine is 20x40, so roughly similar surface area. When I use the online calculators, it is estimating I need a minimum of 360 sq ft to raise the pool temp by 10 degrees. What kind of results are you seeing?

    Thanks for the tip on the SWCG, I do have one of those. That's why I'm looking for a professional installation, because I really know very little about this sort of thing.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Heat

    I see significant rise. I've actually had my pool up in the 90s a couple of times in September when I quit paying attention because the weather wasn't good for swimming. It would be nice to have more panels to let me warm the water more quickly, but what I have is enough to be a big help.

    What I find the panels best at is letting me do without a blanket during the middle of the summer and speeding up the warm-up early. I almost always have 84 degree (or warmer) water June through August, and far enough into September or early October to swim until the air temperature just makes it less appealing.
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    20K Gallon 20X36 Vinyl Inground
    Hayward S244T Sand Filter with 1HP Whisperflo Pump. Liquidator C-201 and Solar Heat

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Heat

    I would say it depends on the contractor, they really are not that hard to install, but there are any number of little things that need to be done right to avoid problems these are covered in the installation guides, but it is my experience that most contractors when asked to install unusual stuff can't be bothered with taking the time to read the instructions, or if they do they don't do more than skim over them. There is an old message thread here showing photos from failed solar panel installations, often the problem is incorrect anchoring, some things shown are top and bottom mounting brackets reversed, wrong types of screws used, no backing panels, etc.
    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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