Frequently asked questions and their answers can be found below. Have additional questions or still not sure if solar is right for you? Get started by filling out the contact form and one of our Solar Experts will be in touch soon.
Though we recommend a trained installer complete all installations, customers with basic plumbing skills can install a solar pool-heating system themselves. However, customers are advised to thoroughly read the included installation manual prior to installation to ensure compliance with manufacturer directives.
While our solar collectors are used around the world for heating swimming pool water, they are also used in many warm-climate countries to heat water for home use. Since our solar collectors do not require glazing, insulation or metal components, they are much less expensive and lighter weight than other domestic hot water solar collectors. It is important to note however that our solar collectors are not suitable for use during freezing weather or in areas which mandate that only copper pipes carry potable water. Be sure to check your local plumbing codes to ensure that you are in compliance.
Our solar pool heating collectors are designed to heat large volumes of water (thousands of gallons) to relatively low temperatures (under 95 degrees Fahrenheit) by circulating the water at a relatively fast rate through the collectors. Domestic hot water systems raise a small volume of water (less than one hundred gallons) to very high temperatures (139 degrees Fahrenheit) by circulating the water slowly through the collector. These two different solar technologies are meant for different applications. A domestic hot water system cannot sufficiently heat a large body of water such as a pool to comfortable temperatures while a solar pool heating system cannot reach the very high temperatures needed for domestic use. In addition, domestic hot water systems are made of copper, which deteriorates quickly when in contact with the corrosive pool water. However, in some countries, our solar pool heating systems are used to ‘pre-heat’ domestic hot water. Our solar collectors do not require glazing or insulation making them much cheaper and lightweight then domestic hot water panels.
Metal collectors are generally made of copper tubing mounted on an aluminum plate. The disadvantages of metal collectors are that they are more susceptible to corrosion and freeze damage, and the copper tubes may react with your pool’s chlorine if the pH level falls below 7.2. An abundance of copper ions in pool water may form dark-colored precipitates, which can coat the pool’s walls. Only draining, cleaning and repainting the pool can remove discoloration.
The greatest loss of heat from a pool occurs from its surface due to evaporation. By reducing this evaporation loss, solar pool covers or blankets are very effective in lengthening the swimming season. However, it is important to note that there is a key difference between our solar heating systems and solar pool blankets. Our heating systems adds heat to your pool while a pool blanket helps to maintain the heat that already exists in the pool water. When used together, your pool water can be heated and maintained at your desired temperatures most efficiently.
UMA Solar’s solar heating systems are sold through our global network of dealers. Locate a trained, authorized dealer in your area to schedule a customized solar analysis for your swimming pool by filling out a simple contact form or calling us at 800-79-SOLAR (76527).
All solar water heating-systems feature two components: a solar thermal collector and a storage tank (reservoir). The solar thermal collector absorbs solar energy in the form of heat and transfers this heat to a storage tank for later use, offsetting the need for electrical or gas heating elements. This can be done using the water in the storage tank itself or indirectly using a heat transfer fluid and heat exchanger. Beyond this the components and possibilities for system configurations are endless.
Not entirely, but they can greatly reduce the need for conventional heating sources to be used. Depending on system size, hot water usage, climate, and other factors solar water heating systems can provide up to 80% of energy needed for water heating on an annual basis.
Yes, so long as there is solar energy available to the collector the water heating system will function. In cooler climates with less solar energy available more collectors with higher tilts (in relation to the horizon) will be needed but the system will still serve to offset conventional heating.
Beyond just heating water for use in the home or office solar water heating collector can also be integrated into space heating, swimming pool, and process water heating systems, among other things, to offset the need for conventional heating methods.
Solar electric, also commonly known as solar photovoltaic (PV), uses power gathered from the sun to generate energy. That energy can be used to power your house. Solar thermal uses power gathered from the sun to heat your water. Water heated by a solar thermal system can be used for heating swimming pools and hot water in your house.
Solar panels are mounted onto your roof were they can gather power from the sun. Inside the solar panels are solar cells that collect and transfer the sun’s energy into usable energy for your house. Photovoltaic systems can be designed to provide DC and/or AC power service, can operate interconnected with or independent of the utility grid, and can be connected with other energy sources and energy storage systems.
Solar panels require little to no maintenance. There are no moving parts so the only care needed is rinsing off the panels with water. For most systems average rainfall is enough to clean solar panels, but it is recommended that your solar panels be rinsed with water twice a year to remove any dust and grime. If you live in a dry or dusty area, you may need to rinse off the system more frequently.
Homeowners and businesses are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. There are also local, state, and federal tax credits and rebates for commercial installation along with accelerated depreciation schedules for commercial facilities.
Most commercial solar PV systems are tied to the grid and will shut down when there is a power outage. It’s not safe to push power onto the grid when the power is out because workers may be working on the lines. Your solar system knows to automatically turn off until power is back up. When grid power is restored, the system will turn on automatically. In the event of a black out, solar systems are designed to turn off. When there is no sunlight, the inverter on the system will automatically switch to standby mode and you will get electricity from your utility company.
If your roof is in good condition, it can handle a solar system. Although solar systems are unlikely to be heavy enough to cause structural problems, if your roof is in poor condition we recommend that you schedule a structural survey before continuing with installation.
During the day, your solar panels will be generating energy that can be used in your home. If your panels produce more energy than you are using, you will sell that power back to the grid. Then at night or on days when you use a lot of energy, you buy the energy back.
The number of solar panels required to power your home depends on a number of factors such as the amount of electricity you use, and the average number of sunlight hours for your location. Your contractor will help you to determine the perfect number of panels for your home.