Although I have been lurking for months, this is my first post. Hopefully my sig will contain most of my info regarding pool. As the heading reads, I (we) are the owners of a newly built pool. So new, it was filled just this past week. Hopefully final sign-offs will take place next week. With that being said, and because of our location and the size of our pool, I am REALLY considering solar heating. I just don't think after the initial expense of putting in this pool I cannot think about it. I have been doing some reading, but there is so much info, with some of it being a few years old, I am getting a bit confused. Is there a "Solar Guru" known on this forum willing to answer some "basic" questions? I am planning to do most of it myself - except for the initial hookup. I'm in an area where I think I can construct or build a "solar field" on our property instead of having to go on our roof - which would be costly and invasive at this point. So if there is anyone willing to take on a few questions, I have a few to ask. I'd like to start off with these.
1) Solar Panels (collectors?) - Is there any one brand better than the other? Any recommendations? Although I am ALWAYS on a budget, I don't want to go the cheap route and have to repair something every month.
2) Size Solar Panels (collectors?)- Right now I'm looking at sizes - most of which I could work with. 4x8, 4x12 up to 4x16 and also 2x20's. What are the OVERALL dimensions, or is it different with each manufacturer? I'm just doing a rough draft now, but plan on installing all of them on joined sheets of plywood (4x8). Could I install these solar panels horizontally on these plywood sheets? I see solar panels that are 2x20. Could I stack FOUR of these across joined sheets of plywood, or would the surface area need to be greater?
3) How Many - Again mixed information, probably because of years of improvements/efficiency? The surface area of my pool is approx. 750 sq. ft., however at close to 34K gallons, is this venture really worth it. I really don't want to fire up that heater at all.... But that being said, I believe I could realistically get over 500 sq. ft. of panels helping me out. Depending on what type, I'm reading different manufacturers have different sized manifolds on these 1 - 1 1/2 - 2 and even 2 1/2 inches on the manifolds so the water volume could be significantly different depending on what one I choose.
Without getting in TOO heavy on my first post - I'll stop it there. I am open to any and ALL recommendations and maybe even willing to accept some bids if someone has a RELIABLE contact on doing this type of work... Don't be shy, fire away. It's nice to meet all of you.