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How Many Solar Panels do you Need to Heat a Pool in Queensland?

How does Solar Pool Heating Work?

Pool water is run through a filter, heated by one or more solar collectors, and then returned to the pool. By running water through the collector(s) at night in warmer climes, the collector(s) can also be utilised to chill the pool during the hottest months of the year.

Some Queensland systems have sensors and an automatic or manual valve that, when the collection temperature is sufficiently higher than the pool temperature, directs water through the collector(s). Filtered water simply returns to the pool without going through the collector(s) when the collector temperature is close to the pool temperature.

Different types of materials are used to create solar pool collectors. Depending on your environment and how you plan to utilise the collector, you’ll need to choose a certain type. You usually only need an unglazed collector system if you only use your pool when the temperature is above freezing. Collectors without a glass cover are unglazed (glazing). To increase the lifespan of the panels, they are often constructed of sturdy rubber or plastic that has been treated with an ultraviolet (UV) light inhibitor. Unglazed collectors are typically less expensive than glazed collectors because to their cheap materials and straightforward design. If the system is made to drain back into the pool when not in use, these unglazed systems may even be effective for indoor pools in cold areas.

How Many Panels Do I Need?

Step 1

  • When choosing a  Sunlover Queensland solar pool heating system for your swimming pool, a few important factors should be taken into account. Your location (climate), pool size (surface area), and heating objectives are the main determinants (how long your looking to extend your swimming season).
  • Knowing your objectives in detail will make it easier to decide how many panels you need and which system to go with. There are a few different types of solar pool heaters that each have their own benefits and “perfect fit”.
  • These figures should only be used as an estimate because solar pool heating systems depend on the sun and weather. They cannot be guaranteed.

Step 2a

  • Instead of taking your swimming pool’s volume into consideration, Sunlover Queensland solar pool heating systems are sized according to its surface area. This is so because evaporation near the surface is the main way that heat is lost.
  • If your pool is shaped geometrically, this computation will be simple. This calculation can be slightly more challenging if your swimming pool has a “freeform” or “kidney” shape.
  • *For pools falling inside this second category, see our detailed instructions for measuring your pool using Google Maps (Step 2B).

Formulas for Pools with Geometric Shapes

Circular: r2 (radius equals half of your pool’s diameter, or 3.14).
Longitudinal: L x Wide (length x width)


  • How to Use Google Maps to Determine Your Swimming Pool Size
  • Visit Google Maps.
  • In the search bar, type your address and press Enter.
  • In the lowest left-hand corner of the map, click the tiny picture with the word “Satellite” written on it.
  • Use the mouse wheel or the (+/-) buttons in the bottom right corner to zoom in on your address.
    Right-click anywhere along your pool’s edge. Then select “Measure distance.”
    Continue clicking on various locations, essentially drawing an outline around your pool’s diameter with each click of the mouse (you’re literally drawing an outline around the pool with each click).
  • To Change Your Choice: By clicking on the node, holding down the mouse button, and dragging it to the desired location, you can relocate a selected point. By doing a right-click anywhere on the screen and selecting “clear measurement,” you can easily delete everything and start afresh.

Step 3

In general,  Sunlover Queensland solar pool heating systems range in size from 50% to 100% of the entire surface area of a swimming pool. To match 50% of your ground pool’s surface area to the combined surface area of all your solar  panels, you would use the expression “50% offset.”

A total of 200 square feet of solar panels will be required to heat a pool with a 400 square foot surface area if the offset is 50%.

For comparison, one 4′ x 12.5″ solar panel has a surface area of 50 square feet, making the total surface area of a system with four 4′ x 12.5″ solar panels 200 square feet.

  • 3-4 Month Queensland Swimming Season: If you are only looking to add some additional heating during the summer months (3-4 months of warm swimming pool temperatures), 50% offset should be sufficient.
  • 4-6 Month Queensland Swimming Season: If you are looking to heat your pool into the shoulder months (4-6 month swimming season), you will want to aim in the 60-80% range.
  • 8-10 Month Queensland Swimming Season:If you are looking for a full spring-fall season extension (8-10 month swimming season), you will want to aim for 85%-100% offset.
    • Example 
      • Swimming Pool Surface Size: 16′ x 32′ (rectangle)
      • Surface Area (Swimming Pool): 512 square feet
        Desired Heating Goal: 4-5 month swimming season
        Solar System Offset: 75%
      • Rec. Surface Area (Solar Panels): 384 square fee

Step 4

In terms of location (climate), you should think about how long and how cold your winters are. Solar systems must be winterized (drained and isolated) for the winter months when temperatures drop below 42 degrees because they can only function when the sun is out and shining. When pools are closed for the winter, they must also be isolated.

Because of this, not all temperate zones can extend their growing seasons completely from spring to October. If you reside in one of these harsher climates, you won’t be able to use your solar heater when the outside temperature drops to below freezing or even close to it. 50%–80% offset if you can only maintain your system operational for 4-6 months per year.

Step 5

The panels’ orientation, their plumbing, and the amount of daily solar exposure are other considerations to take into account. Sunlover Queensolar pool heating systems work best when they are facing south, parallel-plumbed (if this is possible; this will result in a higher flow rate), and exposed fully during the day.

You need a strong substrate underneath the panels if they are mounted on a ground structure (ground rack) to prevent wind from blowing into the riser tubes (reduces wind load on the panels & restricts heat loss). Additionally, ensure that the system is never placed with a pitch higher than 45 degrees (the angle at which sunlight strikes the panels does affect efficiency).

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