Solar-powered pool/spa heater (with cells)


Nov 4, 2009
I always see solar pool heaters as the ones where the water runs across the black tubing and whathaveyou. But are there any that can run a heater using cells and just using an electric heater?

Or would it take way too many cells to get that kind of power to run a heater?

Bama Rambler

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jun 22, 2009
SouthWest Alabama
It would take an enormous number of photovoltiac cells to generate enough power to produce even close to the heat that a normal solar pool heater generates. And the cost would be a double order of magnitude over what a solar heater costs. In fact you can almost buy and entire solar heater for the cost of one decent sized cell.

Melt In The Sun

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Oct 29, 2009
Tucson, AZ
I'm guessing you mean photovoltaic panels? If so, yes, it would take far too many of them to run a heater.

Rough numbers:
I'm not sure how much energy each panel puts out, but I'm pretty sure it's <100 watts; lets say it's 100W.'s where it gets fun. A 400,000 btu/hr gas heater = 117,228 watts = 1172 panels to get the same amount of energy. :shock:

A heat pump would be much less, but still would require far too many panels to be practical.
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