First Project and Post! Let me know what you think!

TinaRay&AmySoehlerTinaRay&AmySoehler Registered Users Posts: 5
Hey guys! Nice to meet you all!

I'm working with a start-up in Florida that's putting together a self-contained solar power unit to run residential pool pumps. It doesn't require a utility grid hook-up, rather it's more of a plug and play option for your pump. If the sun is shining the pump kicks in; if it's nighttime or a cloudy day the pump reverts to using utility power. I know it's a broad question, but what do you guys think? Would you consider buying such a product?

I myself don't own a pool (or have a yard for that matter), but what things do you guys look at when using solar power to clean and manage your pools?

Comments

  • BrluxBrlux Solar Expert Posts: 73 ✭✭✭
    Do you have a link or more information? Is it a sort of MPPT VFD? I live in an area where the local utility has adopted new rate plans for self generating customers that basically kills the financial benefit for adding solar. In my case if I were to add a small 3Kw system it would likely cost me more than not having it on my home. Unfortunately I think more utility providers may be going this direction. The ability to add useful bill reducing solar without the need for batteries or utility penalization would be nice.

    I switched to a Hayward Ecostar pump on my pool a little over a year ago and it has been amazing.

    The old fixed speed pump was 2500W and ran 5 hours a day, probably should have been 8 as the pool always struggled to stay clean but the thought of using that much power was killing me. So I was using 12.5Kwh a day and probably should have been using 20Kwh.

    The new pump runs 20 hours a day at 120W and 1 hour at 900W. It consumes an astonishing 24W (seems like they should have been able to make it under 1W) when off for 3 hours during our peek power time of day. So about 3.4Kwh a day and the pool has been so much easier to keep clean.

    I am curious how the financials of your system would work out. I am guessing with the old pump it would make sense a lot sooner than the new pump at $0.30 a day.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,007 admin
    People do versions of this... Usually the first thing to look at is conservation (I do not have a pool, and not a pump/pool expert by any means).
    • Many (most) pools have 2x larger (or bigger) pumps than they really need.
    • Second, you can get "DC Servo Motor/PM Motors" instead of Induction motors and save another ~20% of power usage.
    • Third, if possible, if you can install the pump below the surface level of the pool, pumps that cannot self prime/draw negative pressure on the input, those types of pumps are more efficient.
    • VFD (variable frequency drive on poly phase induction motor, or driving a PM/servo motor) or 2 speed AC pumps, timers to only run part of the day, etc. (many DC servro type motors already have electronic controllers with this function)--Slow the pump for general circulation/match pump to the needs and you can still run the pump at high speed for cleaning/pool sweepers.
    • Review the filter to ensure that it has low back pressure... High pressure pumping (high back pressure filters, dirty filters, jetted hot tubs, etc.) costs money too.
    • Install solar pool heater on roof. Integrate pumping with that (obviously only need to pump solar heating when the sun is down).
    If you replace the pump with a high efficiency variable speed/timed pump (several thousands of dollars), probably pretty easy to reduce energy usage by 1/2 or more.

    Then look at solar electric. Three common type systems:
    • Grid Tied system -- Solar panels => GT Inverter => AC Main Panel (plus utility Net Metering Plan).-- Usually the cheapest and least maintenance.
    • Battery Backed Off Grid system -- Solar Panels => solar charge controller => battery bank => AC inverter (or hybrid inverter) => AC pump power/backup power
    • Pure Solar Pumping -- Solar panels => pump controller => high efficiency pump
    Each of the above have their pluses and minuses... The first and third have similar advantages. The first works well with utilities that support net metering plans with GT solar (not all do)--Can reduce the costs of the home's entire electric bill.

    The third can work well for homes/utilities where net metering is not available/a good idea (i.e., just a smaller array to run the pump only).

    You can get 50% or more of the advantages with a good quality/reliable low power pumping system properly sized to the pool. Further reductions in energy usage--That is a matter of comparing the new/reduced pumping bill vs the cost for solar specific hardware.

    Anyway--That is my two cents worth.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • zonebluezoneblue Solar Expert Posts: 1,218 ✭✭✭✭
    Would Bills option 3 work for you?, seems like the best route if the pool will cope with the arbitrary hours... although not totally arbitrary, lots of sun, lots of pumping. Less heat in pool to grow slime.... Also no pool guy, just thinking out loud. This route reduces complexity by an order of magnitude, no grid wiring, no batterys. etc.
    1.8kWp CSUN, 10kWh AGM, Midnite Classic 150, Outback VFX3024E,
    http://zoneblue.org/cms/page.php?view=off-grid-solar


  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    It wouldn't be a hot comodity.

    Only because people that really go solar go grid tied to extinguish near or close to 100% of the utility bills.

    Also now pumps are much more efficient than they use to be. 3 stage variable speed pumps can use as low as 150 watts.

    People would rather invest in upgrading to variable speed, instead of the heavier investment of solar, unless applying the energy in the form of credits work.
  • SolarPoweredSolarPowered Solar Expert Posts: 626 ✭✭✭
    The only way a product like this would work is if you can gaurantee and incentives the 30% tax credit for the pool pump by incorporating it as part of the solar system or proving that it is an incorporation of the solar system. If you can't incorporate the pool pump as part of the solar system there is no incentive to buy the solar pool pump.

    100% of the GT solar systems I install are all for the motivation to recieve the 30% tax credit. If the tax credit wasn't around, I wouldn't be selling and building solar.
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,028 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Some of the counties in California have tax incentives for pool pump energy savings upgrade. My brother just did one in San Diego.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,382 ✭✭✭✭
    The only way a product like this would work is if you can gaurantee and incentives the 30% tax credit for the pool pump by incorporating it as part of the solar system or proving that it is an incorporation of the solar system. If you can't incorporate the pool pump as part of the solar system there is no incentive to buy the solar pool pump.

    100% of the GT solar systems I install are all for the motivation to recieve the 30% tax credit. If the tax credit wasn't around, I wouldn't be selling and building solar.

    If I were to upgrade my setup it would be a requirement for the tax credit (going to expire in 2016) but it is the first place I would look now to reduce my consumption some more. I already did an upgrade a few years back to a VDF pump.

    BTW you have competition http://www.sunrayus.com
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