I've decided to go solar for our 15X30 AGP (~11K gal) next spring. Our goal is just to extend our season a few weeks on each end, and to try to keep a temp throughout the summer that is more pleasing to my family, who seem to prefer >80 degrees more than <80. We cover the pool EVERY night with a very good solar cover (a thick, diamond bubble blue/silver). I've got an unblocked south exposure alongside the house (eastern Iowa, latitude south of Chicago, north of St. Louis), where I can build racks off the ground so that the panels will be within a few feet of the pump and filter (I'll have to check my pump hp - 3/4 I think, and my filter diameter - we're new to all this since June). So, during the summer the sun will hit these panels for pretty much the entire day.
I'm thinking of the Hi-Deluxe (http://www.poolproducts.com/SPP/assets/ ... p#Features) panels, which come in 4X12, 4X10, or 4X8 (parallel flow design). I like the wider panels than the 2 foot designs, and the parallel flow. Plus, the installation manual shows an attention to detail that in my experience reflects careful design. Any reviews of these panels? And, the big question always is "how many panels?", given that I'm not looking for heat gain during any single day, and we're good about covering at night to keep our gains.
Second, should I consider automatic valve control? I'm looking at the Goldline controller with automatic control of a 3-way valve and liking it. Will this plan integrate with my salt control (AquaTrol) panel that has a pump timer? I've run my pump from around 8AM to 6PM each day (using the timer on the AquaTrol panel) during the swimming season with excellent control of my FC, and great water clarity. With this kind of simple timer, does it make more sense for me to control the valve for the solar manually, or can the Goldline temp control panel be used as the master controller for pump power (based on temperature parameters), without shutting down my pump during the daylight hours? Maybe I need to study to Goldline controller more.
This looks like a pretty straightforward DIY job with a lot of satisfied pool users in the end.