Considering using solar power for your swimming pool pumps?
In case you are wondering, yes, you can run a pool pump using the energy from the solar panels!
Is it the for the financial savings, just an interesting hobby project for you, or its something you’ve heard of and are weighing the pros and cons to decide whether it is worth it?
Regardless of your motivation, it is always helpful to know ballpark what options or routes are available for using solar power with your pump, the implications – cost, space, equipment should you go for solar, the pros, cons, and if it is worth it.
So, read on to find out! for the pros and cons of going solar, space, equipment requirements, possible pathways for going solar, and also whether it is worth it.
Quick answer. While you can power your pool pump using solar power, switching an existing pool pump to solar or purchasing a new DC pump to run with solar panels often requires an additional investment.
Additional costs can include solar panels, DC pump (if changing from AC), batteries (optional), and labor, whose value depends on the energy requirements to circulate the pool water as needed to keep the pool clean.
You’ll need to confirm whether there is enough mounting space for the solar panels.
Is it Worth It to Run a Pool Pump with Solar?
Yes, If your interest is in financial savings, a solar pump solution can be worth it.
Running a pool pump on solar can pay for its itself in about 3 years depending on usage and the scale of investment in solar.
You may choose to power the pump with a non-grid tie solar system (without batteries) or a grid-tie solution.
A grid-tie solution has only solar panels connected to a special inverter, the grid-tie which supplies grid-like current into the house wiring for use by home appliances including the pool pump with the surplus going to the grid.
A non-grid tie solution costs more compared to a grid-tie solution. If your requirement is to run the pump during the day only then a grid-tie solution can be sufficient.
Opting for it lowers the solar system costs significantly resulting in a shorter payback period.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Powering a Pool pump with Solar
|1||Can pay back initial cost and realize savings on energy in about 3 years||Higher initial investment -solar panels, charge controller, DC pumps|
|2||Can work reliably for many years with good quality components||The pump can only run during the day if no battery bank is provided|
How Much Solar Power to Run a Pool Pump?
Sizing a Solar System for a Pool Pump
This is an indicative guide for working out how many solar panels you need and batteries.
It assumes that the power consumption (watts or horsepower) of the pool pump is known.
What you need:
- The pump’s horsepower or watts. 1 hp = 746 watts.
- How long the pump will be running for
- Average number of sunshine hours for your location
The size of the solar system (watts)= (pump’s power (watts) x number of hours the pump will run for) / average number of sunshine hours.
Size of Solar system
A 1 horsepower pump running for 24 hours at location with an average of 5 hours requires a = (1 x 740 watts x 24 hours)/5 = 3,552 watts solar system or a 5 kW solar system to account for energy losses.
Number of Solar Panels
To get the number of panels, divide the solar panel power size by the wattage of panels you are using.
For example, if planning to use 320 watt panels, no of panels = 5000/320 =16 solar panels.
Can a 100-watt Solar Panel Run a Pool Pump?
A 100 watt solar panel is suited to a 0.13 hp small pump that has a low flow rate and can only pump to a low head.
Such a solar panel and pump combination is probably more suited to where the flow rate is lower and the head to pump to is limited such as draining flooded floors, fountains, and ponds, and not for circulation for pool.
Get a 12V version if you plan to connect a solar panel directly to it.
When to run your Pool pump using Solar?
Run it when the sun is up so that you can use the freely available solar energy and realize the cost savings faster.
Yes, you can run your pool pump with solar panel. You’ll need to invest more initially compared to when connecting an AC pump to the grid.
The second downside to consider if no battery back is provided is that you can only run the pump during the day only and the pump’s flow rate can vary according to the intensity of the sun.
On the plus side though, you can recover your initial invest in about 3 years and save on energy costs thereafter!