**This post was featured on KSL. It seems that solar energy has taken Utah by storm during 2014, and even a faster rate of growth is projected by Rocky Mountain Power for growth in 2015 based on recent applications for their solar rebate. And while many have already started saving money with rooftop photovoltaic panels that produce electricity, it is a lesser known solar product that has the better payback and savings results. That product is solar pool heating.
Solar pool heating systems generally have a better payback than PV rooftop solar mainly because the systems are more affordable to install. For the same square footage of roof space, your savings for PV solar or solar pool heating might be similar. However, solar pool heating systems can be installed at costs that are 20-30 percent less than PV rooftop solar, even after incentives.
Randy Tolbert, Director of Installation for Solaroo Energy notes, “An average payback period of solar pool heating can run between three to seven years, whereas PV rooftop solar will average more in the eight to 10 year period. You’ll save money with both systems, but the solar pool heating is probably the best savings in solar.” In addition to savings, another benefit for pool owners is the ability to extend the pool season. A standard system can extend the pool season to six weeks earlier and later in the year. Upgrades to the system can almost run your 84 degree pool year round. Kelly Curtis, Director of Operations for Solaroo Energy comments, “Our solar pool clients love not only the ability to save money, but they can have a nice warm pool in March, October and November even. They get more use out of their pools thanks to the solar thermal energy.”
How does it work?
With a solar pool heating system, water is directed, using your existing pool pump, to collector thermal panels on your roof. Water enters the collectors at the bottom, and rises through the individual tubes of the collectors. The tubes are heated by the radiant heat of the sun as the water rises through the collectors, and the heated water is returned to the pool to repeat the cycle. Tolbert explains, “Since there are no welds or seams, no moving parts outside of your existing pool system, solar pool heating is very maintenance free and will heat your pool for a very long time.”
Solar pool heating systems also qualify for the Utah State Renewable Energy tax credit, which can contribute up to $2,000 to your system. In addition, Questar Gas will award a $750 rebate for solar pool heating systems. This helps bring down the cost of the system and the payback period. If you would like more information on solar pool heating, PV rooftop solar, or to see how much you would save, click here.