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Should You Heat a Swimming Pool With Solar Panels?

Do you want to lower your energy costs, prolong your swimming season, AND reduce your carbon footprint?

Heat your swimming pool with solar energy!

Using solar panels is the most innovative way to save on electricity bills using the power of the sun alone.

This article breaks down everything you need to know about using solar energy to heat your swimming pool. Read on to find out more.

How Does a Solar Pool Heating System Work?

A solar thermal heating system is an efficient way of heating swimming pools compared to conventional energy sources.

Solar thermal systems to heat swimming pools are composed of various parts. Most heating thermal systems include the following:


The heat pumps are responsible for pumping water into the filter and then to the solar collector.

The collector heats the water, after which the pump transports it back into the pool.


The water is first pumped into the filter.

This filter removes debris and impurities from the pool water before pumping it into the solar collector.

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    Solar Collector

    A swimming pool solar heating system collects heat from the sun's rays.

    A solar collector uses the sun's energy to heat the pool water.

    In bright weather, a solar-heated pool can reach 29°C, while a non-heated pool is typically 24°C.

    A solar collector can also be used to cool swimming pools during peak hot seasons.

    You can keep a solar thermal system mounted on a roof for optimal efficiency.

    TIP: You'll need to have freeze protection on your solar collector if you intend to use it in colder climates.

    Flow Control Valve

    The flow control valve directs the water flow to the solar collector when the collector temperature is hotter than the pool temperature.

    Benefits of Using a Solar Pool Heating System

    A solar pool heating system continues to be a popular heating solution for homeowners in the UK.

    The use of solar energy not only allows you to generate clean and FREE energy but it also has several advantages, such as:

    1) Environmentally Friendly

    Today, more people are concerned about their impact on the environment.

    Using solar pool heaters is a practical way to contribute to environmental efforts to save the planet.

    A solar thermal heating system uses solar energy to heat your pool. Solar energy is considered a clean energy source.

    Going for solar thermal systems reduces your carbon footprint because it issues zero carbon emissions.

    2) Simple Functionality

    If you're thinking about the upkeep of a solar swimming pool heater, don't worry!

    Solar thermal panels work seamlessly without any need for additional operating labour. No internal controls, wires, or moving parts need to be maintained either.

    Active rain can also cool down and CLEAN collectors, which makes them easy to maintain.

    Today, the new solar panels on the market are also much more aesthetically pleasing. They can be easily installed on the roof or the ground.

    3) Cost-Effective

    After your investment in the materials and installation, a solar pool heater won't incur any additional costs.

    Solar heating systems are ENERGY EFFICIENT and run on solar energy alone. Since they don’t rely on external electric generators, you can even save on energy bills!

    Heating a swimming pool by traditional means has greater energy requirements, which adds to the cost.

    Integrating solar heating into your swimming pool can make up nearly all of your pool's heating requirements at no cost to you.

    Though the initial cost can be expensive, you can enjoy a return on your investment in the long run.

    4) Longer Pool Season

    If you don't have a home heating system for your pool, you won't think of using it during the winter months.

    You can extend your swimming season with a solar pool heating system that keeps your pool temperature warm even in colder conditions.

    Alternatively, a solar thermal heating system can also cool pool water in dry climates during the summer months.

    Now you can enjoy your swimming pool throughout the year.

    5) Durable

    With a solar pool heater, you can be sure that it remains functional in cold climates and extreme weather conditions.

    Most solar panels can withstand winds exceeding 241 kph, even when installed on a roof.

    Many solar thermal systems are built to last up to 20 to 25 years. They are extremely low maintenance, with no motors or wires to worry about.

    A solar thermal system can be used in private or commercial premises because they require little to no maintenance.

    Compared to a standard swimming pool heater, a solar thermal system also has a longer warranty period.

    Types of Solar Swimming Pool Heaters

    There are several different choices available when choosing a solar thermal heating system.

    The first setup is to have a mixed system that combines a solar thermal heating system with a conventional swimming pool heater.

    When selecting solar thermal heating for your pool, you can choose between two options:

    Unglazed Solar Collectors

    Unglazed collectors are made from heavy-duty rubber or plastic and processed with an ultraviolet (UV) inhibitor to extend the panels' durability.

    Unglazed collectors are ideal if you intend to use them in above-freezing temperatures because they don't include glass coverings.

    This type can work with indoor pools in colder conditions if the water is pumped back into the pool when not used.

    Due to their inexpensive materials, they are also LESS costly. It's an economical option for solar-heating swimming pools.

    Glazed Solar Collectors

    Glazed collectors are made from copper, aluminium, and iron-tempered glass, which makes them considerably MORE expensive.

    This type includes a heat exchanger and transfer fluids that allow it to absorb heat even during cold weather.

    A glazed collector can work well all year round, even in cold climates and for domestic heating.

    Whether you have an indoor or outdoor pool, glazed collectors can keep your water heated no matter the season.

    Selecting a Solar Pool Heater

    A solar pool heating system can cost up to £4,000, not including installation costs.

    Depending on the local fuel costs and solar resources, you can recoup your expenses in between one and seven years. The exact costs and payback will depend on many factors.

    To achieve the most efficiency from your solar pool heating, you should assess the following:

    The Site's Solar Resource

    Where the solar heating panels will be installed in your home is an ESSENTIAL consideration.

    Check your site's solar resource before purchasing a solar heating system for swimming pools.

    Solar thermal systems use the sun's energy or solar radiation to heat your pool.

    If you want to guarantee your solar pool heating systems' efficiency and performance, ensure that your site can capture enough sunlight.

    A collector can be installed almost anywhere, but it works best in unshaded areas on the roof where it can receive sufficient sunlight.

    Solar Thermal System Size

    Determining the size of solar thermal systems depends on several factors, such as:

    • Pool size
    • Swimming season
    • Regional climate
    • Desired pool temperature

    Generally, the solar panels should measure around 50% to 70% of the pool's surface area.

    If you live in colder or cloudier regions, you can increase the pool surface area and collector size ratio to lengthen your swimming season.

    The System's Efficiency

    You can determine your thermal heating system using the collector's thermal performance rating.

    Thermal performance is measured by the Btu (British thermal unit) per square foot per day or by kWh (kilowatt hours) per square metre per day.

    Investing in a high-efficiency collector can help you cut back on annual operating costs. Also, it would require less footage of the collector area.

    Different System Costs

    Buying a solar heater is a major expense.

    Research different collector models and compare costs so you can get the best value for your money.

    There are modern designs for thermal systems that can fit any budget or sizing.

    Solar matting is a low-cost option for heating pools. Installing solar matting can enhance your swimming experience just as well as other systems.

    A solar thermal mat is pre-fitted to manifolds that are plumbed directly into your pool's filtration plant.

    Evacuated tube collectors also give the same advantages as other models when heating pools. This design uses vacuum tubes to heat solar absorbers.

    Once you've compared models, you can calculate costs using the following:

    • Collector's thermal performance rating
    • Total number of panels and piping needed in the area
    • Total installation cost

    Alongside the estimated costs, don't forget to assess the qualityand sizing of the system before purchasing.


    Swimming pool solar heating can feel like a big investment upfront. To help you further decide if you'd like one, here are some commonly asked questions:


    There's no better time to install solar thermal heating for your swimming pools.

    With solar swimming pool heaters, you can reduce your utility costs AND enjoy completely free and green energy for years.

    Before purchasing a thermal system, research the different models available.

    Some solar heaters work better than others. As such, you should find the right one that fits your needs.

    Did you know that Solar Panel Installation can match you with 3 local installers who will provide you with a free quote? Fill out our form today to get in touch with installers.

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    Mark McShane
    Content Writer
    Mark McShane is a seasoned professional in the solar industry and the owner of Skills Training Group, a leading provider of solar training and education. With years of experience in the field, Mark has developed a deep understanding of the latest trends, technologies and best practices in the industry. His expertise and passion for solar energy have helped countless professionals develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the fast-growing field of solar energy. Whether you’re an aspiring solar professional or an experienced industry veteran, Mark is an excellent resource for anyone looking to enhance their skills and knowledge of the solar industry.
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