Are you looking for solar pool pumps or simply interested in knowing are solar pool pumps worth it? Either way, you are in the right place.
Solar pool pumps are often worth the cost of installation. However, it depends on where you live and your electricity rates. On average, you will save $150/month by switching to a solar pool pump. As long as you are getting at least 10 hours of direct sunlight year round, the solar pool pump is worth it.
In this article, I’ll be answering the question that’s on the mind of many pool owners, ‘Are solar pool pumps worth it?’
Why Use A Solar Pool Pump?
Having a swimming pool in your home is the greatest in life, especially for those who live in hot, sunny climates. However, swimming pools consume massive amounts of electricity, thereby leading to exorbitant power bills.
As a result, people are turning to solar power to power their pool pumps and avoid paying a fortune in grid-power fees.
Using solar pool pumps may not be an ideal solution, especially for people with no grid access. There is also the fact that quality solar pool pumps are expensive. You may be better using alternatives like variable pool pumps, which are easier and cheaper to implement.
Pool pumps are usually the second-largest hog of electricity in many US states after air conditioning as the pumps usually run for several hours a day. The idea of using a solar pool pump is a very appealing one but not necessarily the most practical solution.
Solar Pool Pump System: How It Works
Those that own a swimming pool know that an electric pump is responsible for moving water out of the pool. Next, the water is then run through a filtration system and returned into the pool. The process is the same for a solar pool pump. The only difference is that a solar pump doesn’t use electricity.
You may wonder if solar powered water features really work. They can work just as well as non-solar water features.
Most solar panels work on a solar-direct principal. What this means is that you can connect the solar pool pumps directly to solar panels. The pumps receive power from the panels and work at a speed dependent on the solar panel’s exposure to sunlight.
There are also solar pool pumps you can connect to batteries or utility backup systems. Usually, solar pool pump systems will provide you with a decent return on your investment in the long run as they do not need electricity.
Do Solar Pool Pumps Work?
Yes, solar pool pumps work. However, there is a possibility that you may not need to replace your current pump and instead convert it to a solar pool pump by using a solar kit. There are several modern pumps available on the market designed specially to be very efficient and function using solar power.
If your pool system has been around for a while, but are solar pool pumps worth it? the answer is definitely, they are. Because you will need to get a solar pool pump as your current setup may not be energy efficient.
How Are they Powered?
Solar conversion kits do not necessarily come with batteries. If your kit does not include a battery, you will be powering your pumps directly with the panels. This will most likely lead to variable speeds by the pump as the speed of your pump depends on available sunlight.
The variable speeds do not bode well for your pump’s integrity as some electrical motors only function properly at a constant speed. In the event of variable speeds, these motors may malfunction or even wear out, thereby reducing the pump’s longevity.
If you intend to use the pump at night, you’ll need to get a solar battery or have a connection to the utility grid.
How Many Solar Panels Do You Need To Run A Pool Pump?
If you are using 4’ x 12’ solar panels, you’ll need between six to ten solar panels to power your solar pool pump. It’s common to see people using about six to seven solar panels. The panel must be exposed to sunlight and not installed in the shade.
You may decide to take your solar pool pumps off the grid and power them exclusively with solar panels. Doing this means you won’t have to pay for grid electricity to power your pool pump. And you won’t need to get the grid’s permission to install the solar panels since you are not connecting them to the grid.
The grid usually limits the number of solar panels you can install or connected to it. There will be no such restrictions for you.
Now, the pool pump won’t function optimally n winter which isn’t actually a problem. I mean, who swims on a cold winter afternoon? The pumps will work well in summer which is actually the swimming season.
How Much Does A Solar Pool Pump System Cost?
Depending on how much water turnover you are looking for, a typical solar pump system will come with two to six solar panels. The cost of three solar panels could be as high as $5,000, according to the advertisement of some dealers.
And a solar pool pump will range from $1,000 to over $2,000. There is also the cost of the installation, which means the cost of a solar pool pump system could be well over $7,000.
So when you ask “are solar pool pumps worth it?”, the answer is that it certainly is.
Because the most obvious benefit of having a solar pool pump system is a reduction in utility electricity usage as well as a 30% Federal Tax credit. You also get to operate your pool should there be a utility outage, common after a storm. Solar panels are also exempt from property tax assessments as well as sales tax in places like Florida.
Here are the best solar pool pumps that will help you save thousands of dollars of the coming years.
Are Solar Pool Pumps Worth It?
As wonderful as the idea of a solar pool pump system is, there are some drawbacks that one must consider such as,
The output of a solar pool pump is dependent on the amount of sunlight available. This makes the output of the pump’s variable, and consequently, the amount of circulation will also be variable. Moreover, some features like spillovers and waterfalls will not work well, especially when sunlight isn’t enough.
2. Vacuuming your pool may turn out to be difficult as a result of the variable output. Some automatic cleaners won’t function optimally when solar conditions are not good enough.
3. You will need a number of solar panels if you don’t want your pool water turnover to change when changing to a solar pool pump.
4. Installing solar pool pumping systems is very expensive, especially when you put options like batteries and utility backup transformers into consideration.
Are There Any Alternatives To Solar Pool Pumps?
Because of the reasons above, a solar pumping system may not be the most practical solution. However, there is an alternative that is cheaper and easier to implement than solar pumping systems and that’s variable speed pool pumps.
These are AC-powered pumps that you can easily set to virtually any speed to get your desired flow rate. You can even pair a variable speed pump with an integrated Variable Frequency Drive (VFD). This combination allows the speed of the pimp to change on demand.
The working principle of a centrifugal pump considered with the physics involved means you reduce flow when you run your pump at lower speeds. However, there is the advantage of an exponential reduction in power consumption.
The best part is that variable speed pumps have motors that are very durable and efficient. Variable speed pool pumps have particularly been widely adopted in Florida and other parts of the US as they meet new energy efficiency requirements.
Variable speed pool pumps are indeed more expensive than single or two-speed pumps. However, variable speed pool pumps will pay for their initial investment in energy savings within a short time.
Some manufacturers proclaim their variable speed pool pumps can save up to 90%. This is not realistic or practical, especially when you consider that some people will heat their pools. And that means there will be a need for higher flow rates for heating.
At the end of the day, a variable speed solar pump seems a lot practical as it saves a lot of power while also costing less than a solar pool pump. By reducing your pumping costs significantly, you make a practical investment and enjoy better flexibility and performance.
Additional Solar Pool Equipment
Pools can be expensive to operate. There are so many components that take electricity: heaters, pumps, fountains, and cleaners. Luckily, there are solar options for each of these.
Solar Pool Heaters
Pool heaters are used to keep the water warm during swimming season. They can also be used to heat up the temperature of a spa feature that might be connected to your pool.
Often times, these heaters are rarely used because of how expensive it is to heat the water. Instead, a solar pool heater could be used to provide free heat as long as you have sunlight.
Are solar pool heaters worth the cost? In most situations, they are. However, it depends on where you live and your current electricity rates.
Solar Pool Cleaners
Cleaning your pool is another necessary ongoing cost to pool ownership. Thankfully, there are easy options available. A solar pool cleaner could keep your pool ready to go without having to pay for the added electricity costs.
Solar Fountain Pumps
Adding fountain features to your pool is a fun way to spruce up your pool. But the cost can make you think twice about doing it.
Luckily, there are really cost effective, self-sustaining solar fountains for your pool that you could use.