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Thread: solar panel plumbing design

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    solar panel plumbing design

    I am planning to install two solar bear 4x20 panels. one on one side of garage one on other slanted south. No automatic control. does my plumbing design work.
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: solar pane plumbing design

    If you have the input and the output on the same end of the panel, you should probably mount the panels level. In your current design, water can pool down at the vacuum breaker end of the panel and doesn't have anywhere to drain out. Likewise if you switch the tilt the other way, air could accumulate on the far end of the panel and not have anywhere to escape to, keeping water from flowing through that end of the panel.

    Better yet, would be to mount the panels tilted, with input on the low end and output on the high end. Of course, that does require an extra pipe run across the width of the roof.
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    Re: solar pane plumbing design

    yes I see what you mean about the water pooling. level is better.

    a little confused about your other comment I am getting solar bear panels do I have a choice on where I connect the output. all the photos I see of these panels have input and output on same side. If I could connect output to other side of panel I dont mind running a pipe the length of garage.

    let me know if you see any other problem areas. Thanks
    INTEX ULTRA FRAME RECTANGULAR POOL SET, 32' x 16' x 52", Water Capacity (90%): 14,364 Gallons
    Intex Easy Set 4000 gph Filter Pump, 110~120 Volts - 3/4 HP , Hayward c751 star clear filter.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: solar pane plumbing design

    Some panels have the input on one end and the output on the other end, other panels have both connections on the same end, and still other panels are convertible to work either way. Typically in ground panels have one connection on each end, while above ground panels have both connections on the same end.
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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    Just wondering if I can add a question into this post as it shows my general plan as well. I am putting up some solar panels but am spacing them on opposite ends of the roof as I don't have enough room due to vents etc in one place. I currently have 1.5 plumbing. I am wondering if I should run 2inch up from my filter up to where it T's into the supply side piping of the panlels and bring it back to 1.5. So basically the T would have 2inch coming to it and and the two exits would be 1.5" and then also do the same thing on the way out of the panels. Join the outputs with 1.5 and then where I T in to go back down to the pool use 2inch. Does this make any sense what so ever?

    Might be easier said here.. In the diagram above if the the vertical pipes to the roof are 2inch and the horizontal are 1.5 would that be of any help or just have 1.5 through out? My thinkign is I would run 2 inch from pump through the sysytem until the panels where it would t into an 1.5 line that would feed both panels. Leave the panels and then T into a 2inch pipe again and then reduced back to 1.5 once it gets back down to the ground. Just thought since there would be a parallel system uptop it might be with 3 inches size (2x1.5) that it would be better to feed it with 2 vs 1.5. Sorry I am sure this makes little sense but if it does and you have input it woudl be appreciated!

    Thanks
    25K Gallon 18X36 Vinyl Inground
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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    turnerj42, welcome to TFP!

    As a general rule, larger pipes are better. The minimum pipe size you need depends on how many panels you have. With only two panels 1 1/2" will do, but your mixed 2" and 1 1/2" plan is better. Going up one pipe size is inexpensive and improves the overall system efficiency.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    Turner J I was thinking the same thing Im glad you asked and got an answer 4 both of us

    One more question since I havent shopped for the tubing yet just looking and planning right now. How exactly does the by-pass valve work
    Is it manual where i adjust the volume of water going to the solar panels. Is there a pressure valve type that will fill the panels to capacity and then open to let the rest of the water to bypass the solar panels and go directly to the pool return. I dont want to over pressurize the panels
    INTEX ULTRA FRAME RECTANGULAR POOL SET, 32' x 16' x 52", Water Capacity (90%): 14,364 Gallons
    Intex Easy Set 4000 gph Filter Pump, 110~120 Volts - 3/4 HP , Hayward c751 star clear filter.

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    There are typically two different kinds of valves that both bypass the solar system in different ways. Typically a bypass valve is a standard ball valve setup so it is either 100% solar or 100% pool. A diverter valve is usually a three way valve that lets you control exactly how much water goes to the solar system and how much goes to the pool, with continuous adjustment between the two.

    The drawing above is the most basic setup you can have, with a simple bypass valve. Using this setup you can get some control over how much water goes each direction. Inexpensive ball valves aren't especially good at this, the movement isn't smooth and the setting tends to drift over time, but they do give you some control.

    There are fancier ways to control the system, such as the diagram on this page at Hot Sun Industries. This setup adds a diverter valve, show motorized thought that isn't essential, and a second check valve. A three way diverter valve is more expensive than a ball valve, but it gives you much better control over the relative flow. The second check valve prevents the solar system from being pressurized when the diverter is set to not send any water to the solar panels.

    Automatic pressure based valves exist, but they are usually setup for a fixed pressure, while you would need to tune one to a custom pressure for each solar install to have it work correctly. I have never seen them used that way for a solar system, though it would be possible in theory.

    Tuning the pressure in the panels isn't that difficult with a manual valve. Typically for a roof install you would start with all the water going straight to the pool and then turn the valve to send more and more water to the panels, stopping when the panels fully prime and the vacuum breaker valve closes (if you have one).
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    mas985's Avatar
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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    I wouldn't worry too much about the pressure of the panels since you are installing them on the roof. The pressure of the panels decreases with installed height. So panels installed 10' above the filter will have a pressure of about 4.5 PSI lower than than the filter. Installed 20' above the filter and the pressure is 9 PSI lower than the filter pressure. Head loss in the pipes will also drop the pressure some.

    What is the current running pressure of your filter?
    Mark
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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    What is the current running pressure of your filter?[/quote]


    I have no clue what the running pressure is . I have looked over the manuel and there are no charts giving me this info. Is there a way to check
    this

    I have the intex pump and filter unit that is called 4000gph unit. I know that is not the real flow but thats all the info the manuel tells me. It doesnt even
    tell me the horsepower of the unit. I believe its 3/4 hp based on e-bays description of unit. So that probablty is wrong also.

    I will be shoping for a real pump and filter next summer, hope to get buy with this one for a year.
    INTEX ULTRA FRAME RECTANGULAR POOL SET, 32' x 16' x 52", Water Capacity (90%): 14,364 Gallons
    Intex Easy Set 4000 gph Filter Pump, 110~120 Volts - 3/4 HP , Hayward c751 star clear filter.

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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    Most filters have pressure gauges although yours may not but you might check to see if does. Even without a pressure reading, I can almost assure you that the pressure in the panels will be fairly low even with diverting all of the water through them. However, a 3-way valve would still be a good idea for adjustment of flow rates. If the pump HP is as low as you say and with the panels on the roof, you should be able to safely divert most if not all of the water through the panels although you probably won't need to.
    Mark
    Hydraulics 101; Pump Ed 101; Pump and Pool Spreadsheets; Pump Run Time Study; DIY Acid Dosing; DIY Cover Roller
    18'x36' 20k plaster, 1/2 HP 2sp pump, Aqualogic PS8 SWCG, 420 sq-ft Cartridge, Solar, 6 jet spa, 1 HP jet pump, 400k BTU NG Heater

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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    One last question.. Can the location of the Check valve be put onto the pipe that is actually leading up to the panels rather then right after the filter? I am just thinking why restrict the flow by going through the CV when the solar unit isn't in use? Does this make sense or is there really not much loss through a CV?

    Thanks
    25K Gallon 18X36 Vinyl Inground
    1HP Hayward Super 2 pump, Hayward Sand Filter,Hayward 250BTU Heater

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    Quote Originally Posted by turnerj42
    One last question.. Can the location of the Check valve be put onto the pipe that is actually leading up to the panels rather then right after the filter? I am just thinking why restrict the flow by going through the CV when the solar unit isn't in use? Does this make sense or is there really not much loss through a CV?

    Thanks
    If you put the check valve in the line to the solar, it can't drain. With the check valve on the filter output, the water from the panels goes past the filter outlet and through the returns into the pool.
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    Re: solar panel plumbing design

    Just wanted to add that the Solar Bears have built in valves on them to adjust flow - you can use that feature or not, but wanted to add that.
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