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Thread: Looking for good solar panels

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    Looking for good solar panels

    Hello. We are new pool owners and are trying to find the best solar panels we can. Any info on what is good or what to stay away from would be greatly appreciated. We have a 15x30 above ground pool. Thanks

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    Looking to hire out the job or DIY?

    I bought used Heliocol and installed myself for less than 25% the cost of them installing new.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    Jason, where did you get your panels, and what did it cost to put them in? I can't find much cost info on the heliocol panels online since there are no dealers listed in my area, and everywhere I find them wants to send a quote instead of just listing system prices.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    I got them on Craigslist. cost me about $50 each panel, then had to buy mounts and connectors that were missing, plus plumbing, valves and controller. I may have $1500 into it. Likely over $5k to have Heliocol install.

    There are other options that have no problem selling new to DIY (search for threads). I think the panels are closer to $200 each.

    I got my parts from here: solar-discounters.com ... who BTW want $800 for each of the Heliocol panels I have.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    n240sxguy's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    Yeah I've found the ones on eBay for like $180 per panel. Not sure what brand they are. Maybe fafco. I did find some heliocol panels on eBay. Like $700+ for 4x12 panels. Crazy expensive. There are 8 in Florida on eBay with a current bid of $71 with a day left. Curious what they will go for. It's lower down my to do list, but I'm still pricing things so I know what to expect.


    30K gallon IG vinyl. 1.5HP 2-speed Waterway Mustang pump. 600 lb sand filter. Polaris 280. Circupool SI-60+. TF-100

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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    DIY. We've seen so many different kinds but don't know which is good or bad.

    Thank you!

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    Efficiency wise, they are all about the same. Probably the only difference might be in the plastic lifetime but I really don't see how one manufacture could that much better to warrant some of the cost differences. They are just plastic tubes. I would just go by price and size to fit your needs.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    Look up some of Isaac-1 threads. He has a nice description of his DIY setup with brand comparisons.

    Here is his install: Solar Panel Replacement / Update
    I have seen some discussion from him about the various brands, but not sure what thread.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Look up some of Isaac-1 threads. He has a nice description of his DIY setup with brand comparisons.

    Here is his install: Solar Panel Replacement / Update
    I have seen some discussion from him about the various brands, but not sure what thread.

    Do you know anything about Solaris? That's what they sell around where we live. I can't find much online about them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks Mark! Do you know anything about Solaris?

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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    You can read this biased review from Heliocoil: Heliocol vs Techno-Solis Comparison

    But even they admit that the efficiency difference is only 4% which probably won't make a big difference. But other factors could be important to you such as the mounting difference.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump/Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, MaxFlo SP2303VSP, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    Sorry it's not Solaris it's called Solara. Any info on that system?

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    Isaac-1's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    Hi, I am on vacation this week so will not be on here all that much, a few things to keep in mind is that these panels are made from various materials, some are synthetic rubber, some are various thermoplastics, etc. The problem is there is no perfect material out there, or at least no one has found it yet, some have problems breaking down over time when exposed to UV, some soften when they get warm making them very susceptible to over pressurization damage. Some materials are semi rigid so panels can't roll up, others are very pliable allowing not only easier shipping, but easier installation of non flat roof surfaces. (like the h2otsun.com powerstrips) Much the same goes for the various designs, tube and ripple tubed styles may absorb sunlight better when at a perfect angle, but may also loose heat to wind worse than a flat panel, so evaluation of your local conditions is important if you are trying to optimize solar heating, however the reality this is just fine tuning and will rarely change total available heat by more than 10%.
    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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    Mark R's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    I had heliocol install my 6 panel system. They had to pull out pavers and dig probably 6in deep 30 foot trench to my pump from the side of the house, single story. Put the pavers back perfect. They Installed thermostat to shut down when the tempo the pool reaches 85-90. < 2400.00 price

    That was 3 years ago, I always inspect panels in the in March. It was 104 F today and the solar had been on for 5 days and the water is already at 90 time to shut it down. But, it's a great system so far. I'm glad I did it.

    Depending on the weather mid April is comfortable to late October with the heat here. great for night swimming now.

    Good luck 👍
    12k gal Gunite/Hayward filter C5520BH with quad 33 inch filters. 2.5 hp motor. Pool is on south side, so full sun light. Spill over spa.
    Laar's heater LT250-Low NOx Gas Fired for pool/spa 250,000 BTU. Roof mount 6 panel solar system installed east/south. TF-100 test kit. May-September 100+ degrees out side.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    I am very happy with my panels from Solar Direct. Info in my sig, pics and more info in my build thread, link in sig. They are blasting heat into my pool right now!
    TFP Moderator
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    2012 build and pics, 20k gal gunite, black onyx pebblesheen, OK flagstone, IntellifoVS, cart filter w/Pleatco, IC40 SWG, Solartouch, 5 12'x4' solar panels, HP50HA heat pump, 8mil solar cover, borates, TF-100 test kit, SONOS, Doheny's Discovery Robot, hot tub on bleach

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    Re: Looking for good solar panels

    Quote Originally Posted by mas985 View Post
    Efficiency wise, they are all about the same. Probably the only difference might be in the plastic lifetime but I really don't see how one manufacture could that much better to warrant some of the cost differences. They are just plastic tubes. I would just go by price and size to fit your needs.
    It's true that most panels of similar construction have effectively the same efficiency RATING. I emphasize rating because ratings are done at standard test conditions. Solar pool heating panel efficiency depends on flow rate. There is a curve that describes efficiency for every panel based on fixed irradiance and variable flow. A higher flow rate is better (to an extent). That means for a given pump (or pump speed) various panels will perform differently. If you can get the same flow rate across brands, and that's a big if, you would get essentially the same performance.

    Also remember that there is more to the system than just the panels. The plumbing and valve sizes will impact flow rate, and the mounting system should be considered in terms of longevity and efficacy.

    There are some differences in loose tube versus full plate designs in terms of weather (wind), but otherwise it's all just black plastic... except, as you correctly mentioned, the longevity is based largely on the component mix in the plastic.

    Jason Szumlanski
    Florida Solar Design Group

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