So, I've decided to postpone the (gas) heater plan. Mainly due to the fact that I don't think I really need it. Auto cover really does a great job for keeping up the temps and i'm pretty much averaging only 1-2 degrees under the ambient, outside temp. For instance, all last week outside temps were in low to mid 80's and the pool averaged 82. Not bad. That being said however, I still would like a little jolt. Certainly not looking for 15-20 degree temp hikes (hence, deciding against the real heater for now), but I would still like to get maybe 4-6 additional degrees from what I currently get "naturally", therefore solar heat seems like a viable option.
The biggest potential issue I have however, is a panel space. My house is not close enough, so house roof is outta of the question. The only structure I have next to the pool is pool shed, but the shed is not large and we're only talking about ~6x15 area for the sun facing side of the roof. I'm considering on extending the roof on the right another 6-8 ft, as that's where the pool equipment and I don't like sun and rain beating on it, so that would give me an area of ~6x23 ft or so.
I've been looking at sungrabber panels on ebay and they have 2x20 panels, so I can potentially do 3 panels which will give me 120 square ft of panel space. Do you folks think that will be enough to give me those 4-6 degrees difference I want? I think these panels are rated at 30k btu. The shed does get good sun.
The next question I have is controls. Since my Aqualink RS center, has option for solar heat, I assume that I would not need an additional control system specifically for solar and I should be able to connect both the solar temp sensor and solar JVA to the Power center and have solar control through it just as I would a normal heater?
And lastly for plumbing, can someone point me to some good resources for plumbing a solar heat please? I've already seen some threads on installing solar on here, but still a bit iffy on some of it. Especially plumbing into existing plumbing and whats all I would need extra...
thank you all for your help as always!