Feedback on Solar Heating in the Dallas Fort Worth area?

PoolinPlano

Active member
Oct 26, 2014
28
Plano/Texas
Hi folks. My gas heater got damaged during this year's freeze and rather than replace it, I'm viewing it as an opportunity to shift to Solar Heating. My main goal is to economically extend the swimming season for the family.

I live in Plano, TX, just north of Dallas and was curious for any feedback from folks around DFW on their experiences with Solar Heating implementations (I will not be exploring the DIY route), specifically around:
1. Restrictions they faced on where to locate their solar panels (I am hoping for the East-facing roof as that's closest to the pool equipment, with the North facing roof as the next choice)
2. Whether they have successfully extended the swimming season
3. Factors influencing their final choice of technology in case there were multiple
4. Tips on what I need to watch out for

Many thanks!
 
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ajw22

Gold Supporter
TFP Guide
Jul 21, 2013
24,656
Northern NJ
Pool Size
35000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Pentair Intellichlor IC-60
I think Texas is like California so @Dirk may have some comments about solar heating.
 

Rocket J Squirrel

Silver Supporter
Bronze Supporter
Jun 7, 2018
1,069
Alamo, CA
Pool Size
36000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Liquid Chlorine
Restrictions they faced on where to locate their solar panels (I am hoping for the East-facing roof as that's closest to the pool equipment, with the North facing roof as the next choice)
In the northern hemisphere, a south-facing roof is generally best because it gets the most hours of sun. North-facing is the worst.

East/west depends on your weather pattern. Unlike photovoltaic panels, thermal panels want to be hot, not just sunlit. So if it's hotter in the morning than the afternoon, east-facing would work. But if it's hotter in the afternoon, as it is where I live, your second choice after south would be west-facing.

Whether they have successfully extended the swimming season
My panels extend the season a little. Not a lot. Maybe 3 weeks on each end of the season. But I have more water to heat than you do and not enough room to add more panels. Talk to your vendors about square footage of the panels and make sure not to under-size the system.

Tips on what I need to watch out for
If you have nearby trees, look to see whether they'll cast shadows where your panels might go.
 

Pool_Medic

In The Industry
Apr 1, 2018
1,442
Bangor Maine
There are solar set ups that follow the sun too. I’m a huge proponent of solar but it has its downsides. Ideally I install solar with a back up heating system, either gas or electric heat pump. The reason being is you have a big gathering planned for Saturday let’s say, if it’s cloudy and cold Monday to Thursday then the solar won’t get the pool up to swimming temps in one day. Thats where the back up comes in.
 

PoolinPlano

Active member
Oct 26, 2014
28
Plano/Texas
In the northern hemisphere, a south-facing roof is generally best because it gets the most hours of sun. North-facing is the worst.

East/west depends on your weather pattern. Unlike photovoltaic panels, thermal panels want to be hot, not just sunlit. So if it's hotter in the morning than the afternoon, east-facing would work. But if it's hotter in the afternoon, as it is where I live, your second choice after south would be west-facing.


My panels extend the season a little. Not a lot. Maybe 3 weeks on each end of the season. But I have more water to heat than you do and not enough room to add more panels. Talk to your vendors about square footage of the panels and make sure not to under-size the system.


If you have nearby trees, look to see whether they'll cast shadows where your panels might go.
Thanks very much for this guidance!!
  1. It does look like my roof preferences (1st: East, 2nd: North are not optimal).
  2. Thanks for sharing your experience with extending the season - noted your pool is nearly double the size, and that you have no room for more panels. Sure, will keep your point in mind to not under-size
  3. Trees ! I have bought into a property with a huge live oak in the front (casting shadows on the South facing roof) and a smaller live oak in the backyard (casting shadows on the North facing roof - but this tree can be managed). Beyond me why live oaks were picked for such a small plot.
 

PoolinPlano

Active member
Oct 26, 2014
28
Plano/Texas
There are solar set ups that follow the sun too. I’m a huge proponent of solar but it has its downsides. Ideally I install solar with a back up heating system, either gas or electric heat pump. The reason being is you have a big gathering planned for Saturday let’s say, if it’s cloudy and cold Monday to Thursday then the solar won’t get the pool up to swimming temps in one day. Thats where the back up comes in.
Thanks! It's going to be an either/or decision for me