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Thread: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

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    cubbybeave08's Avatar
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    Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    Does anyone use Solar systems to power pool pumps and other auxillary applications out side away from the house, rather than running electric. I was just wondering if there is even an application available for something like this. Solar panels that go to an inverter for 110 volt usage that would then collect and convert sun energy into actual power. Would you need a special pump for such a thing or could you use the pump you have?
    Beave
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    It's not normally economical. There is a product that has a pump and panels. I'll try to find a link if someone else doesn't come up with it first. Seems like I remember ~$15K for startup.
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    I'd be concerned about the "cleanliness" of the power. Solar isn't known for creating consistent waves and I'd be concerned that even a lower power pump would outdraw the current it could provide.
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    The big problem in my mind is: you could only filter when the sun was shining, so expect algae to take extra long to clear up. And if the sun is delivering more power than you need, it is wasted while your AC spins the meter.

    I’d say that unless your pool is quite far from power you’d be better off with grid tied solar (or just the grid).
    20,000 Gallon kidney sort of a sand filtered gunite in ground pool w/ hot tub.

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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    From what I've read, researching for several years, you should use a special pump. If you have much of the system already in place, it will cost far less. I have everything, somewhat in place, but just need a few more panels and the right pump. I have a wind generator that kick out close to 500 watts with ideal wind (not too slow or not too fast) I think the pumps come in 12 and 24 volt. Typically solar panels deliver 12 or 24 volt. The pump is designed to adapt to varying wattage that are delivered and typically runs straight off of panels (with various controllers in between) and/or wind generator. Also, one usually keeps AC pump in place with a manual or automatic switch if pump is needed when there is no PV supply. Using batteries is extremely costly in up front costs and a non-necessary part of the system. Converting from 12 or 24 volts to 120 or 220 really reduces efficiency numbers and to be avoided. People who live off grid rarely use many 120/220 volt appliances unless absolutely necessary.

    On a sunny, breezy day (as most are here) my panels and wind generator can crank out at or above 800 watts. I'm aiming for > than 1 kw so a few more used 90 watt panels, to be found on eBay, should be enough for adequate circulation during a great part of the day.

    I just think the $15K figure is ridiculous if one is able to get educated and assemble the parts needed oneself and also do the labor. I probably put less than $3K into what I have so far. BTW..... it all started with Y2K. The golf cart batteries are long gone so I don't have system hooked up at moment.

    I'm not counting my DC to AC Inverter-800 watt continuous, max 1000 (if I'm remembering correctly, but that's close enough) as that is not needed in "direct" solar and/or wind driven pool pump system. It was a lot more expensive in 1999 than they are now. Getting a true sine wave is much more costly as inverters go but many things don't have to have true sine waves.

    gg=alice
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    Preferred, also, would be a filter that doesn't need high pressure to do its job. My over sized filter does great at 15 and lower gpm when I'm using around or less than 300 watts (less when filter is clean) for the AC 220 volt pump. BTW, that's one turnover per day for my 24 K gallon pool for 23 hours run time. For more turnover, or less hours of use, of course, more watts need to be delivered.That's one of the reasons I'm aiming at a little over 1 Kw in my sunny location. And the further north you get the more panels needed and even more if the majority of your days are not sunny. Solar is going to be much more practical in the south.

    Another factor, when deciding on the investment, is just how much your electricity cost and expected costs in the future. A super energy efficient pump, reducing head as much as possible, and good over sized filter is probably the most prudent way to go unless you have some of the PV system already in place.

    gg=alice
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    As someone mentioned above, the conversion to A.C. is where you will lose power. When you hear someone say "solar powered" most of the time it is really not. It is D.C. powered by large batteries or numerous batteries in a chain. The batteries are then maintained by solar powered rechargers. Thus, the larger the solar cells, the faster you can recharge or the more batteries you can charge during daylight hours.

    Now, you could get a D.C. motor for your pump and batteries to run it. The voltage and amps drawn by the motor to run the pump effectively will tell you how much battery power you will need. Then you would need to get enough solar cells to replenish the batteries with the sun.

    The technology is here but the return on investment is still still a few years away.
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    Quote Originally Posted by tmyers
    As someone mentioned above, the conversion to A.C. is where you will lose power. When you hear someone say "solar powered" most of the time it is really not. It is D.C. powered by large batteries or numerous batteries in a chain. The batteries are then maintained by solar powered rechargers. Thus, the larger the solar cells, the faster you can recharge or the more batteries you can charge during daylight hours.

    Now, you could get a D.C. motor for your pump and batteries to run it. The voltage and amps drawn by the motor to run the pump effectively will tell you how much battery power you will need. Then you would need to get enough solar cells to replenish the batteries with the sun.

    The technology is here but the return on investment is still still a few years away.

    thanks everyone...I was just wondering if it was worth the cost of doing something like this for not having the pump drawing AC all summer long or if for 4 or 5 months it is even worth it. I think I have my answer...I have always been intrigued by living off the grid as much as possible, even living partially off grid would be nice to do. I already use solar to heat my pool and it does pretty nicely...was just exploring other uses...
    Beave
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    This can all be done, especially if you have regular AC as a backup when it is needed. The prepackaged systems are expensive and will never come close to braking even. A DIY system can come much closer to breaking even but it takes care and a fair amount of research.

    The key issue is that a pool needs a lot of power. The less power you have the more clever you need to be about taking care of the pool. For example fighting algae usually requires running the pump 24/7, which solar can't do, so you need to be very pro-active and attentive if you don't have an AC backup.
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    Just doing a quick search I ran across this page. I didn't read any further. Gotta go take care of friend's pool.

    http://www.dependablesolarproducts.c...ngsystem.shtml
    1981, 25K, IG, Blue Plaster 1996, somewhat oval, widens a bit at shallow end, 1.5" pipes, 2" at Pad, 1 separate main drain, 1 skimmer, 4 returns + dedicated cleaner return, 10 ft deep end with very fast decline from shallow, Pentair Quad 80 DE, Pentair Intelliflo VF, 3/4 HP Booster Pump (equipment pad about 8 ft below top of pool), Challanger 3/4 Trash/Emergency Pump 120v, Polaris 280 (pressure), iRobot Verro cleaner (robotic), Aquabot Turbo (robotic), Jacuzzi Tracker 4X (vacuum) Pool Blaster (Buster), Two (2) PoolSkims, Solar Breeze (solar powered top skimmer) (beta to ver. 2, release date 2010), ColorSplash LED replacement bulb. Aries 550 gal separate spa, 2002 (our 3rd and BEST spa) , BBB-Bromine

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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    The dankoff pump and panel kit is one way to go.
    The products are proven and work great as long as you arent running solar water heat and its always sunny.

    Basically on solar you want to use a DC pump so as to avoid inverter losses.

    Personally I dont think this is the way to go,
    I think if you by a variable speed pump (intelliflo, jandy epump)
    AND have a grid tie solar system you can accomplish the same thing and have normal components & save money by running the pump slower and have the benefit of a grid tie solar system off-setting the remainder of the house- not just the pool.


    Uncle Dave
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    I remember one of the very first "agree to disagree" topics which was very interesting and I think is what the OP is asking.

    This is an over the top setup and according to the Poster, he was actually making money by selling power back to the electric company. This might not be feasible but boy, it sure was entertaining.

    my-solar-heat-is-better-than-yours-t1401.html
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JCJR
    I remember one of the very first "agree to disagree" topics which was very interesting and I think is what the OP is asking.

    This is an over the top setup and according to the Poster, he was actually making money by selling power back to the electric company. This might not be feasible but boy, it sure was entertaining.

    my-solar-heat-is-better-than-yours-t1401.html
    Sweet not the average dudes setup.



    Uncle Dave
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    Simply put it wouldn't be worth your time or money to try to "run" your pump from solar powered energy. But there are solar systems that are setup in a way where you essentially sell your energy back to the electric company. Basically this reduces your monthly bill and if you had a whole bunch of panels you could possibly even make a profit monthly with a setup like this. Net Metering.
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    Quote Originally Posted by X-PertPool
    Simply put it wouldn't be worth your time or money to try to "run" your pump from solar powered energy. But there are solar systems that are setup in a way where you essentially sell your energy back to the electric company. Basically this reduces your monthly bill and if you had a whole bunch of panels you could possibly even make a profit monthly with a setup like this. Net Metering.
    Our electric company in Jacksonville has a program like this however the initial investment is tens of thousands of dollars for a small unit. I wish it was cheaper because I would certainly entertain the idea. The problem with this program is that they assume that you are home all day burning up electricity however it is just the 2 of us and we work during the day.
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    I have a customer with a 14 KW solar array on her roof. I like seeing the electric meter going backwards, even with the pool and spa pump running. Her AC compressors are too much for it so she draws off the grid but not to the extent they were before the panels installation.

    Scott
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    Solar electric doesn't begin to compete on price, even in CA where electricity is very expensive, unless you are getting massive rebates on the install price from the government (which can happen) or you DIY and are good at finding used equipment for next to nothing.

    Solar heat, on the other hand, is very competitive, much cheaper in most situations.
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    Re: Does anyone use Solar systems to power their pool pumps ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Solar electric doesn't begin to compete on price, even in CA where electricity is very expensive, unless you are getting massive rebates on the install price from the government (which can happen) or you DIY and are good at finding used equipment for next to nothing.

    Solar heat, on the other hand, is very competitive, much cheaper in most situations.

    La DWP has a very compelling program- but its still a 5-8 year payback at current rates,
    Edison and PG&E not so much but still good compared to an all out purchase.


    Kirbinsters PV system is awesome (and who am I to argue about what his personal philosophies may or may not be)

    Jason is right in that it would be more efficient if he used water based panels for pool heat instead of running an electric heat pump after inverter losses.

    It looks as though hes simply out of useable space on the roof due to shading, and given the proximity of his fence to the pool in the pict he likely has no where to mount a ground mounted water panel setup. It looks like he made the call to prioritize electricity production over water heating and that he makes so much surplus than even after factoring in a heat pump load hes still ahead of the game.

    Really really cool though...

    Uncle Dave
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