Energy Series Part One: Solar Pool Heating

Atlantic Avenue Rec Center Pool – Photo submitted by Gerry Clare

Submitted by

Len Kreger

This article is the first in a series which will review in layman terms information concerning all energy sources. Here in Fernandina Beach, we are provided power by Florida Public Utilities which is basically a reseller of electric power.  FPU does not generate power, thus we are limited in our choices of the source of the power.

One energy option available here is solar power. There are three  forms of solar power, passive solar, photovoltaic and concentrating solar power systems. In this article, we will deal with passive solar power. More specifically, we will be discussing solar hot water systems for swimming pools.

Pool solar system consist of solar collectors, filters, pumps and a flow control valve.  The system can include a pool heater to augment as necessary.  See the diagram through (designing and remodeling, whole house design, water heater, swimming pool heating, solar pool, and installing a high efficiency system or solar pool system).

One of the recommended goals of “Sustainable Fernandina Committee,” a City committee comprised of both citizens and city employees is to reduce City electric consumption by 10%. A pool solar heating system for the Atlantic Recreation Center was evaluated as a part of the this goal.

The results were very positive; simple payback for the project was estimated at three to four years. Simple payback  is the amount of time the project will be paid for from the energy savings. Over the service life of the system electric savings are estimated conservatively at over $200.000 at current electric rates.

Based on the positive results of the evaluation, committee members drafted specifications and forwarded to the City for consideration.

These recommendations were endorsed by Sustainable Fernandina, the Parks and Recreation Committee, and the Parks and Recreation Department and have been included in the Capital improvement Plan.

Hopefully the City will implement this project in next years Capital Improvements.

The next in this series will a review of Photovoltaic systems.

Len is a citizen member of the City of Fernandina Beach Sustainability Committee.

June 9, 2012 8:41 a.m.