|Our weather underground station ID is IOntario51||
We've always been interested in renewable energy, solar heating, solar electric,
solar energy and solar power in general. In the last house we had a simple
5w solar panel charging a deep cycle 12vdc battery which ran emergency lights, a radio
and a small TV during power outages.|
It is a Fafco
Sunsaver economy, was purchased from Shelin Pools
in Napanee Ontario for approx $380. It measures 4'x20' and comes with an
inadequate tiedown system for our area, which features high afternoon winds
It is rated at over 80000 BTUs, raises temperature up to 10 degrees F and comes with a ten year decreasing warranty.
|Step 1: put the panel in the sun to allow it to heat up and soften so it can be unrolled|
|Step 2: Inspect the location, in this case a south facing shed roof|
|Step 3: Position the flat panel correct side up!, and in this case, with the outer edge hanging over the roofline to allow for easier hose connection and access to the valve (we will drill holes in the handle and run cords down to ground level to control the flow through the panel|
|Step 4: Make sure your roof is long enough! In this case we had a little room to spare. We also left room on top to walk around for installation.|
|Step 5: The basic kit comes with three inadequate nylon cord restraints. Since our prevailing winds are from the west, we thought the panel would go flying off the first day. The included mounts were siliconed and attached with #8 by 2" screws into the roof sheating.|
|Step 6: So we added three more restraints, consisting of a permanently mounted 1"x2" screwed and caulked onto the shingles with #8 by 2" screws. Mounted from underneath is a 1/4x20 x3" carriage bolt. The hold down wood is 2"x2" x4'4", giving a two inch overhang on each end in which a 1/4" hole was drilled. All wood components were varathaned, then loosely assembled as shown, then mounted to the roof.|
|Step 7: The complete panel mounted. We put the 2"x2" hold-downs at either end and in the middle, two of the nylon tie-downs on the windward side and the third nylon tie down on the downwind side.|
|Step 8: Went through several iterations of plumbing connections until finally they stopped leaking. Used teflon tape and two clamps on each connection.|
|It worked well. We added ropes to the bypass valve so the unit could be operated from the ground and with the pump on a mechanical timer so that it did not run at night, we mainly left the solar heater in the 90% full on position and we did find that it raised the average temperature by at least 1 or 2 degrees C on an average day.|
Total time involved so far, about 2 hours.
The saga will continue with more information on the maunfacturer, model information and more. The plumbing connections should normally not take more than a few minutes but in our case we have to cut through a wall. Also, two digital thermometers need to be added, one downstream and one upstream from the collector to get an idea of when to bypass the collector when it starts to cool the water.
We didn't get thermometers yet, that will have to wait until next year. At some point in time a second panel could be added for more heat. We left room on the roof for a second unit and it would make more of a difference for sure!
So we have reduced our pool pump load alone by 16 kwh/day and from an estimated cost of $4/day down to about $2/day. If and when the pump requires replacing, we've been looking at the newer two speed pumps, lo (5 amps or 0.6kwh) and hi (11 amps or 1.2kwh). The $100US difference in price between them and the older full-on pumps will pay for itself in 3 or 4 months!