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Thread: Solar Panel Questions

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    Solar Panel Questions

    After doing some research (including speaking to a couple of plumbers) it looks like a properly sized gas heater or heat pump is out of the budget for now. That being said, I would like to try a couple of solar panels this year. Our biggest challenge, however, is where to put them. House roof is out as we have a steep two-story roof which I refuse to go up on. That leaves either some sort of deck roof/pergola or a ground rack. Here is an aerial picture of our backyard:

    Attachment 59053

    Here are some pictures of your backyard:

    Facing east (toward back of yard)
    Attachment 59054

    Facing east (toward back of yard) along south side of lot
    Attachment 59055

    Any suggestions?
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    Re: Solar Panel Questions

    Here is one of my ideas without the utility area. Basically some sort of a roof that would be attached to the pool deck. Ideally it would pivot so people on the deck could get some sun if desired.
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    Re: Solar Panel Questions

    I would consider just laying them flat on the ground. I had some 20x2 panels that I mounted to a fence on my last pool. Probably would have a similar angle of incidence.
    Build Video 2016 -- Solar Pad 20.5K gunite (37'x15') rectangle (3.5'-7') deep-- MicroFusion Laguna finish -- Jandy VS pump, cartridge and iAqualink RS -- Polaris 360 Black -- 2 Laminar jets -- 2 nichless 30w color led -- 550sq/ft Heliocol solar -- Soft water auto fill -- Stenner 17gpd

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    Re: Solar Panel Questions

    Thanks! We have a dog so I would prefer not to keep them on the ground.
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    Re: Solar Panel Questions

    As I research, I've come up with a few more questions:

    1. Are the FAFCO Solar Bear panels the best panels for the price? Any sites with exceptionally good prices?

    2. Is there a way to automate the panels so they "turn on" when the temperature reaches an optimal point and shut off when it drops to a certain level?

    3. Any good sites that explain all the different set-ups, tips etc? The vendor sites seem to be somewhat lacking.

    Thanks!
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Questions

    I did pretty much all of my research on Solar Direct's website. I was happy with the info provided and the panel pricing, install kits and warranty so I didn't shop around much. Yes, it can be automated. I use a Pentair Solartouch to turn on solar and ramp up the pump speed when heat is available and turn it off when the pool reaches temp or solar heat is no longer available.
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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: Solar Panel Questions

    Thanks pooldv.....much appreciated!

    Does anyone have the FAFCO Solar Bear panels? How are they? How do they compare to the Vortex panels? The FAFCO panels calculate at $3.48 per square foot while the Vortex standard panels calculate at $5.00 per square foot.

    Will my Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump be adequate to handle two (160 sq ft) or three (240 sq ft) panels?

    How important is it to automate the panels? For those that don't have them automated, what kind of schedule do you use? I'm looking at the Hayward GL-235 controller if I do automate. Any experience with it?

    I'm assuming I should paint the plywood on the rack the panels will be mounted on black to optimize heat retention, correct?

    Thanks as always!
    Wil-Bar 27'x54" Quest AGP
    Hayward 1HP Powerflo Pump
    Hayward 256 T Swimpro Sand Filter

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Questions

    Falco panels are good, plenty of folks use them. Yes, your 1hp pump is plenty, especially for a ground rack. Yes, painting it black will help.

    I ran my panels the first year without a solar controller. I would check the weather every day and decide if I should open the valve before work or not. Most days it worked fine but, some days I would lose a lot. Rain, clouds, wind on solar panels will cool the pool quickly. In fact, we run ours at night in August to cool the pool to 92ish. So, to sum up, we did have decent heat gain without a controller but there were days where we lost a lot of heat, sometimes 10f or more. Once I added the solar controller it was nothing but warmer all the time. I wouldn't go without a solar controller.

    The GL-235 is probably the most common solar controller out there. Lots of folks use it and it works great.
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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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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Solar Panel Questions

    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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