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Thread: Looking for Solar Panels

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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Looking for Solar Panels

    I'm hoping to get solar panels for this swim season.
    I normally open the pool in May, but don't swim until the end of the month or June, depending on the weather. And I close the pool in Sept-Oct depending on weather, but pool isn't used much due to the water temp.
    I would like to keep the water temp at 80+.
    Rear roof is in full sun from mid-morning until around 6pm.

    This will be a DIY setup, and I'm looking for something that will last and not need replacing after a season or two.
    What are some of the recommended brands that people on TFP use?
    Do the solar panels need to come down in the winter months? (Ohio valley so winters can vary from very cold, snowy, to semi-warm, seasonal)
    Is there any other helpful information you can give?


    Here is how my house sits in regards to the pool and sun.
    Pool is in the back of the house which faces south. Pool pump/filter are on the East side of the house.
    Pool Layout
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    There are many good brands of solar panels, and if installed properly can last for many years, the big key is to avoid water freezing inside the panels, which means mounting at an angle so they will drain properly and in your climate probably also making provision to blow them out with a shop vac at the end of the season. Here is a thread about my own install from a year ago

    Ike

    http://www.troublefreepool.com/threa...acement-Update
    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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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    My roof has a slight angle to it, so run off wouldn't be an issue. Also it's easy to access to the roof, so from what I've read, the setup part of the units themselves would be the most difficult.
    It seems leaving them up is easier than taking them down at the end of each season, if that's even possible or recommended.

    You mentioned many good brands. Would you mind enlightening me on some of those? I've seen so many while browsing here and online, that they start to seem so similar it's hard to determine which is worthwhile and which ones I'm wasting my time on.

    Thanks in advance.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    Sure I will try to help some with that, first off there are several brands that are not DIY friendly, they either only sell through their regionally exclusive licensed installers or deny all warranty coverage if installed DIY. Many of these companies also use proprietary panel couplers and header mounts, which may or may not be superior to the more common systems like hoses and hose clamps for coupling. Some companies play both sides of the street, selling the name brand panels through dealers, but also selling the exact same panel through private label outlets. This way the private label company is responsible for warranty claims, etc. A couple of examples of this is AquaTherm and Elm as a private label, or Techno-Solis, sellling private label through solar direct as Vortex panels, at least for their 1.5 inch header standard size panels. Also some companies have better installation manuals than others, I would suggest reading both the Techo-Solis and the Aquatherm installation manuals for lots of good tips. The above mentioned panels were my two final contenders, each had advantages and disadvantages, such as the TechnoSolis is much thicker, which is generally tougher, but more prone to expansion problems if you have uneven illumination (partly shaded roof). Aquatherms can also be plugged if they leak. Then there is the surface profile, Aquatherms are rippled Techno-Solis is flat, the flat panels are more wind heat loss resistant the rippled panels can catch more sun if optimally aligned.

    Ike
    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    Hey Ike, thanks for that information. I'm going to go look at some of the suggest, and do some research on them to see what fits my application the best.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    I looked into the manuals and their install process. It seems pretty straight forward for hooking up. I've been looking at the Techno-Solis or Vortex.

    I would like to install them on my South facing roof (pool is also on the South side of the house, in the sun most of the day). But my outdoor room seems it might give me a hassle installing the panels there since it extends out from the South side of the house. Also the available space on the roof.
    South Side

    My other option is installing them on the East roof, where the pool equipment is located. There is also no obstuctions.
    East Side

    Suggestions?
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    From a panel performance point of view, east the second worst option, with north being right out. South is best, followed by west then east. As to TechnoSolis vs Vortex, they are the same panel, Vortex is a house brand TechnoSolis panel sold by solar direct, but only available in limited sizes and only with 1.5 inch heaters. I bought my TechnoSolis panels from poolheatpumps.com with 2 inch headers for about the same price as the 1.5 inch Vortex were running.

    Ike

    p.s. is there room to fit an additional panel with a spacer kit to the left of the roof vents on the south facing roof?

    Also I think while the panels are the same solar direct may use cheaper mounting brackets
    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    So I was able to get up on the roof and get some better measurements.
    South Roof
    It looks like I'll be able to go with either 8' or 10' panels.

    If the spacer kits can span about 2' then yes I could put a spacer kit on there.

    Here is how I figured I would have to run my PVC to hook this up.
    Pipe Run
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    If I'm reading your diagrams correctly, you're wanting to bring the pipes over the roof of the outdoor room. Only issue I see with that is finding a way to drain the panels. You may have to run a smaller pipe from the inlet of the panels around under the eaves of your outdoor room to meet up with your equipment to allow water to drain back out.
    23.6x14 IG free form ~8K gallon, Pentair VS 3050 Intelliflo, GloBrite LED lighting w/IntelliBrite controller, Aztec Cobalt water tile. CLI Carolina Blue pebble finish, Bronze pool cage, 336 sqft Heliocol solar heating. Build Thread and landscaping Solar heating install

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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    If I'm reading your diagrams correctly, you're wanting to bring the pipes over the roof of the outdoor room. Only issue I see with that is finding a way to drain the panels. You may have to run a smaller pipe from the inlet of the panels around under the eaves of your outdoor room to meet up with your equipment to allow water to drain back out.
    Does the drainage have to be there constantly? If not I could add some sort of pvc manual open drain near the input of the panel that I could drain during manually.
    I see though that it might be better to just run the input under the eaves and into the panels. Seems there might be less work for the pump as well. doing it this way.

    My other option just might be to invest in a gas heater. And skip the solar panels altogether.
    We wouldn't be running it all seasons. Only when the water drops below the prefered temperature.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    Most of the concern is going to be about winter draining, however their are options, such as adding in a adding in a drain plug T on the line going up to the roof so you could blow the panels out with a shop vac when doing winter closing, etc. You will also want to install a vacuum breaker valve on the installation for use during normal operation, and the exact placement of which may require a bit of thought and perhaps experimentation to avoid locating where it will suck air during normal operation. In your case this will likely mean as some point on the feed side before reaching the highest point.

    Ike
    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    I've been dragging my feet on this, but I think I'm ready to bite the bullet, since my wife wont get in the pool, due to the water temperature.
    I'm going to run the "in" piping under the eave of my house to the panels, that will allow drainage back towards the system for winterization. I will then be able to add the "out" piping on the opposite end of the panels, and back to the pad.
    Piping Run (white lines represent my pvc run)

    Based on Poolheatpumps.com calculator i'll be going with the (8) Techno Solis 2 4x10 Panels Header Panel Package -$2,650.00. Freight is $165.00, which brings my total to $2815.00.
    Should I stick with this, or could I go with less panels due to roof limitations?
    I think i'll need the spacer kit for the vent pipes on the roof, but I was unable to locate that on their site. Any suggestions on where I can find this?
    This kit seems to come with everything I need besides some PVC piping, and other random PVC parts I may need to plumb it into my system.
    Is there anything else I'm missing?

    I'm just a little uneasy spending that amount online for a product without knowing I'm getting everything I need to install this correctly.
    Depending on their freight I can have it dropped off to work if needed (we have a loading dock), then I can load it onto my trailer to take home.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    You will need a controller and automated valve to direct when to send, or not send, water through the panels. The kit may include that, but your post does not specify.

    Fayetteville, NY -17K gal, IG vinyl, Hayward SP2300VSP Max-Flo Variable Speed Pump, FlowVis Flow Meter, Sand filter
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by peterdaly View Post
    You will need a controller and automated valve to direct when to send, or not send, water through the panels. The kit may include that, but your post does not specify.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk
    Gotcha, I think they cover that stuff with the kits.
    The site says all prepackaged systems include the following:
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    If I recall what is in the kits correctly you will probably need an additional "System Kit" for the split installation if they don't sell a split kit, the system kit will include the extra bits you need, but there will be a couple of extra end caps you don't need for your layout. When I bought mine I did a custom order as I did not need the diverter valve and controller since I was replacing an old set of panels that came down with the old roof. And therefore did not place the order through their web site, instead it was done through email with their sales dept. (person?), I dealt with Diedra and she was very helpful in the whole process, provided shipping updates, and even handled a matter when one or two of my panel kits were missing a part.

    Ike
    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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    WestSidePool's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    Thanks again for all the advice.

    I contacted the company to get further clarification. This is what I received in response.

    When it comes to solar panels the Techno Solis calculator says one thing, we suggest that the surface area of your panels match the surface area of your pool. A lively debate. Gas is great if your main goal is the heat up the water quickly, in any kind of weather. Negatives for a gas heater, they are expensive to operate - especially propane - their lifespan is about 5 years. Pool heat pumps positives, they are very efficient user of energy, thus, operating cost is very inexpensive, lifespan is 10 years. Negatives of a pool heat pump, they are a bigger investment up front and they work as long as ambient air temp is 50 degrees or above. Based on your pool size and area you can expect to spend $600 for electricity vs $1200 for natural gas to heat your pool to 85 degrees for the May through September period. Listed below is a pool heat pump and a pool gas heater that will fit your needs.
    They suggested:
    • Pool Heat Pump: Gulfstream (made in USA), model HE125RA
    • Pool Gas Heater: Lochinvar Energy Rite model


    I then told them I was interested more in solar panels, becuase i'm not sure a heat pump or gas heater will fit in or near my equipment.
    This was the reps response.

    The Techno Solis calculator says 8 panels, my rule of thumb says 14 panels, though 12 should do the job. Package of 12 4' x 10' panels with 2" header is $3700.00, plus $200 for shipping. You can go with less panels, but I believe you will be disappointed with the results. Or start with 8 panels and you can always add to it.
    Is there some truth to what this rep says? Or will I be more thank ok with the 8 panels?

    Thanks in advance on this.
    Eric

    IG 17x33 Grecian - Vinyl Liner (21k gallons), Hayward Pro-Grid DE 4820 filter, Hayward Super Pump, CompuPool SWG CPSC36, TF-100 Test Kit

  17. Back To Top    #17
    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for Solar Panels

    Well more is going to be better, with solar a lot depends on your expectations, you set a goal temperature, and your solar controller does its best to maintain that temperature, in the early and late part of the season it will struggle to maintain your desired temperature, with a larger set of panels this will still happen, but you will get a somewhat / slightly longer swim season. Local weather conditions and your desired swim preferences also effect things, if you want to swim in 95 degree water you will need a much larger solar heater than if you want to swim in 85 degree water. To make things more complicated size does not solve everything, there is also the question of maximum temperature differential, unglazed panels will never heat a pool to swim temperature in freezing weather no matter how large they are.

    I can't really comment too much on the calculators since I have an indoor pool, which is not an option on the list, but I can say this much, using the technosolis calculator for a screened pool, it says I need 15 4x12 panels, I have 11 4 x 12 panels due to roof space limitations, and the last swim of the year last year was Nov 15th, by then the water was a bit cool for me at around 78, but we like everyone had an early fall, and by that time we had freezing temperatures over night 5 or 6 times. The water was still in the 80's for our Haloween movie night in the pool, even though there were 2 nights with temperatures below freezing the week before.
    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
    I use and endorse TFtestKits TF-100 from http://tftestkits.net
    ~Remember TFP counts on your donations to keep this site ad free~

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