Heating a swimming pool can be costly, especially if you run thousands of gallons of water through a gas or electric heater. After spending around $3000 on a solar pool heater, the return on investment is substantial.
But, the question is “How do you get there?”
Here we’ll break down all the costs you should expect with solar pool heating including upfront costs, installation costs, monthly costs, and FAQs to get the most out of your investment.
The first step in answering the query, “How much does solar pool heating cost?” starts with knowing the upfront costs to expect.
Solar pool heaters cost, on average, between $2000 and $4000. The price depends on the size of your pool and the type of solar panels you purchase: glazed solar panels or propylene mats.
You can save even more money if you buy a solar pool cover instead of purchasing solar panels or propylene mats. The price of solar pool covers ranges between $100 to $300, depending on their dimensions. Plus, you can install a solar pool cover yourself, like in this helpful video to minimize your upfront costs.
Alternatively, if you do choose to have a solar heating system installed, know that the panels are more durable than the mats. The panels and mats need pipes to run pool water through the heated system. The pool water can lose some heat as it passes through the pipes.
Solar panels have tempered glass in an aluminum frame. The panels collect the heat, and water moves between the glazed glass panels inside of copper pipes. Glazed solar panels are more expensive than propylene mats, and they heat water more effectively (1).
Glazed collector systems are generally made of copper tubing on an aluminum plate with an iron-tempered glass covering, which increases their cost. In colder weather, glazed collector systems—with heat exchangers and transfer fluids—capture solar heat more efficiently than unglazed systems.
On the other hand, solar mats stretch across a roof, and PVC pipes hold the mats down and pass water through the lines. While slightly less effective, this method still works to warm your pool with a minimal impact on your energy bill.
Pool solar panel installation costs between $3,000 and $4,000 on average and includes the system purchase (1). To find out how much solar pool heating costs to install in your area, contact a local pool company for a quote.
Your local installation company will visit your home to determine if your pool is positioned appropriately for solar heating. Ultimately, your pool should face south or west to get the most light from the sun.
If you choose to use a solar blanket to heat your pool, you do not need anyone to install it for you. However, if you have a customized pool shape, you might need someone to measure your pool to cut the blanket to fit.
Once you’ve installed a solar panel or mat, the last step in answering “How much does solar pool heating cost?” is determining your monthly costs. It’s important to note, you will have to pay for electricity to run water through the pipes for your solar pool heater.
Keep in mind that you are already using electricity to run your pool pump, so the cost to expect is around $10 max per month.
Although, if you choose to use a solar pool cover to heat your pool, you shouldn’t incur any added monthly expenses.
You can also reduce your monthly electric bill by using a solar panel to power your electric pump. The solar panel and electric pump will need a conversion kit, and you might be able to do the work yourself.
Along with electricity, many pool owners pay higher water bills when they run their pools. Pool water evaporates, so pool owners use their outdoor hoses to refill their pools. Pool owners also need to keep their pools clean, so the cost of running the pool includes chemicals, too.
Is Solar Pool Heating Worth it?
Yes, in our books solar pool heating is worth it.
Solar pool heating can have a higher up-front cost than other heating methods. That said, with low operating costs, since solar energy is free thanks to the sun, you can significantly reduce pool heating costs over time with a solar heater for your inground pool.
Can I Heat my Pool for Free with Solar?
Yes, you can heat your pool for free with solar, but some minuscule costs may remain.
Once your solar panels are installed, energy costs should drop (versus gas or heat pump pool heaters). However, while your solar pool heater can run independently of your electrical system, the pump may require electricity, and that involves an ongoing cost.
One option to further reduce costs is to ensure your pump receives solar power, too — then, water costs are your only remaining expense.
How Much Does it Cost to Heat a Pool Per Month?
A solar pool heater will cost around 0-$10 per month to heat your pool. On the other hand, other pool heaters like heat pumps, propane, gas, and electric resistance heaters average over $100 to heat a pool per month (2).
For an in-depth look at pool heating costs to expect, you can check out this guide.
- Solar Swimming Pool Covers. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/solar-swimming-pool-heaters
- How Much Does It Cost To Install A Pool Heater? Retrieved from: https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/swimming-pools-hot-tubs-and-saunas/install-a-swimming-pool-heater/