Mention solar pool heating panels, and the
image that typically comes to mind is that of a roof-mounted
But as with anything, there are alternatives.
Ground-mounted installations may be desired if a rooftop proves
particularly challenging — either because of the material
it’s made of, or a steep slope, or a lack of Southern
exposure. The panels then are simply affixed to fortified poles in
For Brett Marshall, who works on design and engineering for Swan
Solar in Lake Forest, Calif., the site possibilities are virtually
“We did one where there was a steel RV structure the
homeowners had built,” he says. “It was like a big
steel trellis structure they parked the vehicle under. And we just
put the panels on top of that.”
Another option involves integrating a solar collector with the pool
deck. In this configuration, tubes embedded in the dark-colored
deck concrete draw heat from the solar-warmed deck, which in turn
heats the pool.
It’s a unique approach, to be sure, but at least one industry
veteran isn’t completely sold on its effectiveness.
“Those systems do gather passive heat from the deck,”
says John Kennedy, owner of Elite Solar Services in Sarasota, Fla.
“But they’re not as efficient. And we know the concrete
will crack and shift and move. I’ve seen them, but never done
one. They just don’t work like putting up a panel on the