New Solar Panel design questions

#1
Hello all. I'm getting ready to buy and install solar panels and thought I would run my plan past those who know a lot more about these things than I do....just to make sure I'm not planning anything overly stupid. I'll try to include as much info as possible. I'm a commercial builder and have done much of the plumbing in my homes for years, I feel like I can glue a pipe as well as any apprentice plumber so will be attempting this project myself. The questions in my mind are design. I believe I've decided on Techno-Solis brand mostly because they are local and that appeals to me. Feel free to caution or wave me off if you feel there is a better option that a do it yourself type can get access to. I've read the install manual for them and a few others and believe I have a decent grasp on design needs. Pool is plumbed 1.5inch, two bottom returns and one skimmer. Pump has two inch from pump to filter and will be two inch to panels and back then reduced to 1.5 before going into the chlorine (may install SWG at same time). Intelliflow will be controlled by SunTouch though I am considering EasyTouch if for no other reason than it has a panel inside with temps etc and I can control the water features pump with it as well.

Pool is just north of Tampa Fl, looking to extend swim season as much as practical. 16X30 free form pool, screened, shaded in mornings. It's May 10th and water temp is 78 and has been there a couple weeks. Took until August to heat up to the 85+ last year that the wife prefers...and didn't last long. Looking to add solar to get it there sooner and keep it there longer. As you can see in the photo below (I hope it shows up below...and I apologize for my horrific photoshopping skills), the run across to the best south facing roof isn't terribly short. Eight 4x12 panels in a double stack. 5 on bottom and 3 on top will pretty much fill that section of roof. Is there a problem with 5 and 3? In keeping the heated water run short I'm going to feed the rows from the right and back to the pool from the left. I believe I can maintain fall on the piping to allow drainage when system shuts off. Relief valve on the right side of the upper row.

I'm sure I'll have questions along the way, but to get started.....If my drawing makes sense, does this plan look like a bad idea to anyone?

solar plan.jpg
 

CJadamec

TFP Expert
Apr 29, 2016
2,194
Quaker Hill, CT
#2
Looks pretty good but I think you want the outlet of the lower row of panels to go up to meet the outlet of the upper panels before retuning to the pool. Other wise the upper panels might not fully purge of air. Also a 2" run to and from your panels is better even if it reduces back down to 1.5" going to the pool.
 

pooldv

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Aug 10, 2012
24,993
DFW, TX
#3
Welcome to TFP!

Looks good. You may want your VRV on the upper right of the lower panel array so that less pressure will be needed to close it. You can even put it on the lower left of the lower header if needed to make it easier to close.

I DIYd my Vortex/Techno-Solis panels quite a few years ago and it was not bad. There are pics of my stuff in my pool thread, link in sig. There was another solar diy thread recently with lots of pics.
 

CaptainCannonball

Silver Supporter
May 18, 2016
239
Woodland, Ca
#4
The only thing I would add is if the picture is oriented so the top is north, you are using prime real estate for solar PV panels. That west facing roof may be an option for pool solar as well. My neighbors have west facing panels and they put a lot of heat into their pool.
 
OP
OP
B
Oct 16, 2016
13
New Port Richey, FL
#5
Thanks guys. I'm learning as I go here and this site has been a world of help, though this is the first time I've asked any questions as search typically finds what I need. I will move the VRV to the upper right on the lower array. We have no plans for PV panels as I'm not generally a fan, but we do have lots of plans for a pool in November so the south facing roof is likely our best bet. CJ, I think I understand what you're saying...is this what you meant?

solar plan 2.jpg
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,197
Tucson, AZ
#6
:wave: Welcome to TFP!!!!

Yup, that is what he meant. Picture looks like a good plan.

Try to be sure that the pipes and panels are always on a slope (or level) so that water will easily drain back down and not get trapped. I think that is feasible with your drawing.
 

FLPoolDIY

Well-known member
Aug 29, 2016
102
Land O Lakes, FL
#8
Billiam,

I have seven of the techno-solis panels installed with a similar sized pool. Like you, I live about 26 miles north of Tampa and was able to get my water to 85 degrees today. I typically see about a 4-5 degree increase in water temperature from the skimmer to the return. I'm not sure if that is a normal increase in temperature or not.
 
OP
OP
B
Oct 16, 2016
13
New Port Richey, FL
#9
Ok, this is moving along nicely now. Panels are ready for pickup and I'm done with the pad plumbing, easytouch is installed and IC40 is running. I'm working on piping on the roof now which looks to be pretty simple but I've bumped into my next question.

One of the install manuals I read said to use straps on the roof that are one size larger than the pipe, for expansion. When I look at the DIY thread, it doesn't appear like that's what he did. So....2" sch40 pipe...use 2" straps or 2.5"? Keep in mind we are in hurricane country. Thoughts?
 

Brentr

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 18, 2009
2,585
Jacksonville, FL
#10
I think you would go with 2.5 inch straps. I was inspecting and cleaning my roof this past weekend and I noted that I could lift the pipes up about an inch or so, so I could wash the roof material off that had collected over time. My panels were installed by the manufacturer. Look at the thread in the sig bar :cheers:
 
OP
OP
B
Oct 16, 2016
13
New Port Richey, FL
#13
I did see the clamps used by your installers Brent. Pretty slick, but I have no idea where to source those. I'm not sure they are the only option either. I'm leaning towards oversized two hole galvanized pipe straps at this point, but I'm still very open to suggestion.
 

Brentr

Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 18, 2009
2,585
Jacksonville, FL
#14
I would call the makers of your panels and purchase the right hardware for installing your panels. Your want to make sure it does not damage your roof during a hurricane. Also you could look at getting some quotes to having it installed by professionals. I opted to for this as I have a lifetime warranty against roof leaks and 20 years on the panels.
 
OP
OP
B
Oct 16, 2016
13
New Port Richey, FL
#15
I decided to come home and do some research before buying the straps for piping on the roof. I spoke to Techno-Solis about it. They said standard pipe straps from Home Depot are fine for running across the roof and their install video shows the same. Aquasol's install manual specs either galvanized or plastic pipe straps. Heliocol's install manual says upsize pipe straps for expansion. Brent's clamps look great because they are single hole , but I can't find them anywhere and technosolis doesn't supply such things. I'm thinking I'll go with standard two hole galvanized pipe straps as Techno-Solis advises. They are based here in Florida so I have to think they have given this some thought. Ok, with that brain twister behind me....back on the roof I go.
 
OP
OP
B
Oct 16, 2016
13
New Port Richey, FL
#18
Ok, It's taken a couple days but the majority of the solar system is installed. It's not a lot of fun to do solo but I managed. I still have to strap the piping to the roof in places which brings up a question. The first photo, on the left the return pipe runs straight down the roof for better than 20 feet. Thats a lot of water and weight hanging from that strap at the top. Is there any way to support it in the middle of the drop and still leave it expansion capable? I'm tossing around looping the nylon tie down strap around the pipe below the coupling and using a superclip to hang it. Bad idea? Even necessary? See anything else that looks obviously stupid? :)








 
OP
OP
B
Oct 16, 2016
13
New Port Richey, FL
#19
Well it is up and running. Easy touch was fighting me, wouldn't control the solar automatically but I was pretty sure I had the programming right. Finally hit the reset out of frustration and when it came back...works as intended. The shocking thing is how quickly the pool temp increased. Up several degrees already. Now to see if the solar shuts off as intended. Oh, and no leaks!