DIY Solar2

MarkBee123

Member
Oct 29, 2018
15
Oakland
Hello everyone,
I finally updated my signature with my pool info. I am beginning the process of adding thermal solar panels and will be going with 8 4x12 panels, probably Aquatherm but maybe Heliocol depending on the price differential. My intention is to upgrade to a Pentair solar touch controller, does this then replace my existing analog control panel for the pump, booster pump and breaker box? And do I need to upgrade my pump to a Pentair VS right away or can I use the whisperflow pump in the interim? Is the other option, manual diversion to the array? And if so, can I install the automatic valve and control that manual and then upgrade the panel to the solar touch and the pump to the VS?
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,390
Quaker Hill, CT
The solar touch control really just does a couple of things, one it opens the automated diverter valve it comes with and two it has the ability to trigger a change in pump speed if you have a 2 speed pump.

You would mostly keep the rest of your system as is and add the solar touch on top of it all. There's no need to jump into a VS pump right away but doing so will make it easier to tune your system in and lower your electric bill.

Manually diverting the water to the solar panels typically gives very poor heating results as solar panels are both heaters and radiators so if the water is going to them and there is no sun they will actively cool the pool down.
 

MarkBee123

Member
Oct 29, 2018
15
Oakland
Ok, that makes sense. Do you have an idea of the rough percentage drop in electricity consumption I would get going from the WF 1/2 hp pump to the 2-speed assuming the boost-rite pump remains?
 

mas985

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 3, 2007
12,800
Pleasanton, CA
Ok, that makes sense. Do you have an idea of the rough percentage drop in electricity consumption I would get going from the WF 1/2 hp pump to the 2-speed assuming the boost-rite pump remains?
It depends on the two speed you are going with. But if you just changed the motor of your current pump from a single speed to a two speed motor, low speed saves about 75% over high speed energy use.

Note that with panels on the roof, you won't be able to prime the panels on low speed so the controller needs to support running solar on low speed so it can prime the panels on high speed and step down to low speed automatically after priming. Plus the location of the VRV (low height) becomes import if you plan on running solar on low speed.