An example of a solar pool heater.


Sustainability Problem:

  • Save money and energy by using a solar pool heater instead of using a polluting fossil fuel such as natural gas or LPG to heat a conventional pool heater which is not environmentally responsible.


Technology that addresses the problem:

  • The basic principle works like this. The pool water is pumped through a filter, then through a solar collector which is located in a sunny location. As it travels through the solar collector the water is heated before it is returned to the pool. Solar  pumps can add 10-15 degrees to the pool water temperature. The system can also be use to cool the pool during heat spells if the water is circulated at night.
  • Most systems include sensors and an automatic or manual valve to divert water when collectors get too hot.
  • Glazed collector systems use copper tubing on an aluminum plate with an iron tempered glass which will heat pool even in cool weather.
  •  It is recommended to winterize in colder climates to prevent freezing.



  • Homeowners
  • Solar Installers
  • Plumbing and electrical contractors


First three steps in deploying this technology:

  • Before installing, have a solar site analysis to determine proper location for a solar panel which will be used to provide the warm water to heat the pool.
  • Propose to homeowners the amount of money that can be potentially saved over time after the initial investment. Payback time can be anywhere from 1.5 to 7 years.
  • Be sure to estimate and compare costs of different solar models.
  • Sunshine Solar Tech offers a 12 year warranty and no upfront costs.










  1. I was excited to see this post, because a couple of years ago, my dad had a solar heater installed for his outdoor pool. Before that the pool was not heated. Knowledge of his experience makes me think of two comments. First, the primary market for solar heaters for pools may not be with pool owners that already have heated pools (because they would have to swap out their existing equipment) but with pool owners who havent installed heaters in the past because the cost was too high. In other words, the benefit for many users may not be a cost savings but a new luxury at an affordable price that allows them to get more use and enjoyment out of their home. Second, when I asked him if he would recommend the technology to other pool owners, his big complaint was that that customer service/maintenance/installation wasnt efficient and convenient. They rescheduled with him, causing him to miss days of work or have to be at home during weekends for longer time windows than seemed appropriate. Although customer service is not a technology problem per se, its an important aspect of implementation. New companies with new innovations need to ensure quality basic business operations and customer service to ensure that early adopters of their product are enthusiastically promoting to others instead of telling negative stories about the company. Without good customer service, the new technology will not gain market share.


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