|Fig. 1: Pool System Schematics (Source: Wikimedia Commons).|
You can significantly reduce swimming pool heating costs by installing a solar pool heater. I witnessed this for the first time at my host family's house this past summer, and it was one of the most interesting (but not overly complex) designs I have seen. They're cost competitive with both gas and heat pump pool heaters, and they have very low annual operating costs. Actually, solar pool heating is the most cost-effective use of solar energy in many climates.
Most solar pool heating systems include the following:
A solar collector - the device through which pool water is circulated to be heated by the sun.
A filter - removes debris before water is pumped through the solar collector.
A pump - circulates water through the filter and solar collector and back into the pool.
A flow control valve - an automatic or manual device that reroutes pool water through the solar collector.
In hot climates, the collectors can also be used during the summer by circulating the water through the collectors at night to cool the pool.
|Fig. 2: Laundromat in California With Solar Powered Water Heaters. This is what it looks like on top of houses for the pools as well. (Source: Wikimedia Commons).|
In Southern California, a typical pool season will cost in excess of $2,000 of natural gas to heat the pool (just within the pool season time period). Installing a solar swimming pool heating system with a life expectancy of over 20 years, and with an average cost of $5,000 (year round) makes economic sense.  This enables your pool to be cool within the summer time, and warm within the other seasons for a lot cheaper than using natural gas.
Commercial pool heating is one of the most cost-effective applications of solar heating technology available. It is also an extremely economical way to extend the swimming season for seasonal pools and to cut costs for pools that are heated year round. A solar pool heating installation will save a substantial amount of money while providing a warm and comfortable pool.
© Noor Davis. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.
 "Conserving Energy And Heating Your Swimming Pool With Solar Energy," U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, DOE/GO-102000-1077, July 2000.