Monday, January 23, 2012

Solar Pool Heating 101

Many people, when they imagine solar energy, picture large photovoltaic arrays generating electricity for homes, businesses and communities. Although these photovoltaic systems play an important part in the alternative energy spectrum, they are not nearly as efficient as solar thermal systems used for pool and water heating. In fact, solar pool heating is the single most cost-effective use of solar energy in many climates, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

How Heliocol and SunStar Solar Pool Heating Systems WorkWhile photovoltaic systems convert the sun's light into usable energy, solar thermal systems generate energy by capturing and amplifying the sun's heat. Have you ever turned on a garden hose left in the sun and felt warm or hot water pouring out? That's solar thermal water heating at its most basic level.

Heat from the sun will always warm the water in your pool to a certain extent. A Heliocol or SunStar solar pool heating system enhances this natural effect, simply and efficiently extending your swim season.

Heliocol and SunStar solar pool heating systems have three basic components: panels, a pump and a filter. A pump, usually your existing pool pump, pushes water through a filter to strain leaves and debris. Water is then pumped into a solar panel mounted on your roof, porch, fence, or any other location with good sun exposure (optimally south facing in North America). The water is substantially heated as it moves through the panel and it flows back into your pool, warming the water. Unlike solar water heaters for indoor use, solar pool heaters do not require a storage tank. Your pool provides all the storage required!

As an added benefit, homeowners in hot climates can use Heliocol or SunStar solar pool systems to cool their pool in the summer months by circulating water at night, when air temperatures are lower.