To help you get the most out of your investment, we’ve broken down all the costs associated with solar pool heating in this section, including pool solar panel costs and installation costs.
If you use a gas or electric heater to heat a pool that holds thousands of gallons of water, the cost of pool heating can be high. But, the question is “how much does a solar pool heater cost?”
The average solar heating system falls between $2000 and $4000 and this cost greatly depends on the type of panels you choose to install. The type, size, brand, location, and whether the pool is above-ground or inground all affect how much a solar panel for a pool will cost. For a better understanding of the elements that affect your costs, keep reading.
How Much Does a Solar Pool Heater Cost?
A solar pool heater costs $2,500 to $5,500 to install on average. A solar pool heating system costs $2,000 to $4,000 on average, plus $500 to $1,500 for the installation labor.
Before you can start using your new hot water, you must first invest in the installation of a solar pool heater. With this money, you can outfit your house with the specialized panels needed to heat your pool. You can’t just rely on the sun’s light shining on your pool to do the job without these panels, after all.
Pool Solar Panels Cost
Between $2000 and $4000 is the typical price range for solar pool heaters. The cost is determined by the number of your solar panels and the kind of solar panels you buy—glazed solar panels or propylene mats.
If you purchase a solar pool cover as opposed to solar panels or propylene mats, you can save even more money. Depending on their size, solar pool covers can cost anywhere from $100 to $300. See How Long Does a Solar Cover Take to Heat a Pool?
Alternatively, be aware that the panels are more resilient than the mats if you decide to have a solar heating system installed. To circulate pool water through the heated system, the panels and mats require pipes. As it travels through the pipes, the pool water may lose some of its heat.
Tempered glass is used in aluminum frames on solar panels. Water circulates between the glazed glass panels inside the copper pipes as the panels absorb heat. Glazed solar panels are more expensive than propylene mats, and they heat water more effectively.
On the other hand, solar mats are extended across a roof, and PVC pipes are used to secure the mats and transport water through the lines. This technique still works to warm your pool while using less energy and being slightly less effective.
Pool solar panel installation costs between $3,000 and $4,000 on average and includes the system purchase (1). Get a quote from a nearby pool company to learn how much it will cost to install solar pool heating in your area.
If your pool is properly situated for solar heating, your local installation company will come to your house to assess the situation. In the end, your pool should face south or west to receive the most sunlight.
You don’t need a contractor to install a solar blanket for you if you decide to use one to heat your pool. However, if your pool has a unique shape, someone might need to measure it and cut the blanket to fit.
Additional Cost of Solar Pool Heater
Another aspect of solar heaters is that electricity is required to pump water into rooftop solar pool heaters. This means your utility bill will rise if your home is not already fully solar-powered. Learn How Does a Solar Pool Heater Work?
I can imagine what you’re thinking: what’s the point then? Well, the rise in your electricity is far less than it would cost to heat your pool with gas. With solar, you only have to pay the installation fee once, and after that, your only expense for the next 20 years—or however long the warranty on your pool heating system is—will be the cost of running a pump. You must pay an installation fee and heating costs of $300 to $500 per month if you use a gas heater forever.
Factors That Influence Your Costs of a Solar Pool Heater
The following factors affect the cost to install a solar pool heater:
- Pool size – a larger pool needs more solar collector panels to heat the pool to the desired temperature.
- Location and climate affect the air temperature and length of the swimming season, dictating the number of solar collectors needed.
- Sun exposure – homes with ideal sun exposure, such as in Homes in Florida require fewer panels than those that are partially shaded.
- Collector type and efficiency – glazed collectors are the most efficient but most expensive to install.
- Inground vs. above-ground pool – solar heating for inground pools typically costs more.
- A flow control valve and automatic diverter valve cost $325 to $600. By bypassing the solar collectors on cloudy or wet days, a controller improves efficiency and performance.
- Rebates and tax incentives may reduce the total installation cost, depending on location.
- Plumbers charge $45 to $150 per hour. To save money on plumbing, locate the solar collector panels as close as possible to the pool pump.
How Quickly Does Solar Energy Heat Up Your Pool?
Your pool should be comfortably warm in a day or two if you live in a region with fair sunshine and clear skies. The slowest heating source is a solar pool heater. They only take a little longer to heat your pool up and they do save you a lot of money. Once your pools are warm, they maintain that temperature easily. Your pool will typically warm up at a steady rate of 5-7 degrees per day with an average pool heater.
Despite this, there are still other variables that affect pool heating, with pool size being the main one. The exposure of your rooftop solar panels to the sun is another factor. Because it only uses energy from the sun, the heating rate can vary daily. It also depends on how hot or cold it is outside.
The heat transfer may not be enough in cold climates to allow for a relaxing swim. A solar pool heater is therefore probably not the best choice if you reside in a location where it is cold for the majority of the year and the sun doesn’t shine frequently. The key lesson here is that for your solar pool heater to function properly, it needs to be completely exposed to the sun.
Conclusion: Solar Pool Heater Cost
A solar pool heating system costs $2,000 to $4,000 on average, plus $500 to $1,500 for the installation labor.
Many pool owners also experience higher water bills as a result of running their pools, in addition to higher electricity costs. Owners of pools use their outdoor hoses to refill them because pool water evaporation occurs. Chemicals are included in the cost of pool operation because pool owners must also maintain their pools.
Are Solar Heating Panels Expensive to Run?
Running a solar pool heater costs $10 to $25 per month—a lower operating cost than all other pool heater types. The system uses the pool’s existing pump to circulate water through the collectors, which increases the pump’s electricity use. The solar panels themselves consume no electricity.
Is Solar Pool Heating Worth It?
The swimming season is extended and energy costs are decreased by solar pool heating. Solar pool heaters provide a payback of between 1 and 7 years and are the most cost-effective heating method in sunny climates. Solar pool heaters are less effective in colder climates with less sunlight or for homeowners who want their pool to heat up quickly.
Can I Heat My Pool for Free With Solar?
Yes, you can use solar energy to heat your pool for nothing, but there may still be a few tiny expenses. Energy costs should decrease once your solar panels are installed (in comparison to gas or heat pump pool heaters). However, while your solar pool heater can run independently of your electrical system, the pump may require electricity, and that involves an ongoing cost.