If you have a pool, you likely have a pool pump. These pumps are often costly and can be almost as expensive as your summer air conditioning.
An easy way to cut out a lot of that cost and energy drain without removing your pool is to switch to a solar pool pump. Instead of using standard electricity, it pumps the water into your pool using energy from solar panels and solar power.
While this may not be the best method for everyone, it is an option that allows you to cut costs and still enjoy your pool in the sun.
What Is a Solar Pool Pump?
A solar pool pump works the same way as any swimming pool pump. It is designed to keep your water clean and circulated. A solar pump isn’t any different in what it does.
The main difference is that instead of your pool pump costing you money because it is pulling energy from your home and utility company, a solar pump uses power stored by a battery and a solar panel. It still handles your water circulation, but without a steep monthly cost that most pool owners know about.
It also provides you with other perks, benefits the environment as well, and provides you with an overall positive experience after installation.
How Do They Work?
Solar pool pumps have all the same features as regular pool pumps. It uses a motor to circulate water in your pool. When the water enters the pump, it can heat up the water, remove some dirt and debris, and clean the water before pushing it back into the pool.
There are plenty of different products out there, both solar and non-solar, that allow you to have a choice over the speed, filtration, brand, pressure, and warranty to enable you to get the best purchase for your needs.
The only difference is where they get their power from. Solar pool pumps are connected to solar panels of some sort. These solar panels collect energy from the sun and turn it into energy that the solar pool pump can use.
This can reduce, or completely eliminate the amount of power that your pool needs from the grid.
Why Get A Solar Pool Pump
Pools can account for 17% of your annual electricity bill or more. This can be a pretty major price decrease when it comes to your monthly bill. (1) When broken down, it costs an average of $23 a week, and under $100 a month, just for the filtering.
That doesn’t include any additional maintenance fees or heating costs.
You may not notice the savings right away, but as the powerful operation commences and you realize how durable and reliable your system is, not to mention resilient, you will start to realize that you can get the same benefits as a regular pump, and save money in the long run. Solar pool pumps are also efficient and quiet by design.
Though solar pool pumps have a high initial cost, you can make that money back and more after just a few years.
Pros and Cons of Solar Pumps
You can save money on your electricity bill.
You can still power your pool when the power goes out in the grid.
Better for the environment and reduces your carbon footprint and environmental impact.
You can get some of your money back via a solar tax credit in the United States.
Some states don't charge state or sales tax on solar equipment, such as Florida.
Future utility rate pricing increases or peak time utility costs don't affect you as much.
Solar pool pumps naturally run longer in the peak months when they are used and less in the winter, maximizing their efficiency and lifespan.
You may not have the power to run water features if the weather isn't ideal.
High initial investment to set up the solar pump.
You need to have additional space available nearby for the solar panels.
Some more portable solar panels aren't water-proof and need to be put up every time it rains. They must also be far from the pool.
The lifespan of pumps is only a couple of years, so the pump system may have to be replaced fairly often.
Power that the pump isn't using gets wasted.
Often cannot provide enough reliability to match the power requirements of a mix of spas, hot tubs, a water feature, and pools combined.
How To Negate Some of the Cons of a Solar Pool Pump
Some of the cons of a solar pool pump for swimming pools can be negated if you already have a solar system installed, or are planning on getting one.
Then, you can have batteries for your solar panels that store the excess energy, or it can be sent back to the utility company in some locations.
Since solar systems are most often installed on the roof, you don’t have to worry about finding space nearby for your pool’s pump or taking up more space in your yard.
If your whole home is wired for solar, you don’t even necessarily need a solar pool pump, you just have to set it up so your pump uses solar panels when the energy is available and switches over to grid power when it is not. You can work with an installer to make sure this happens.
However, solar pool pumps are relatively cheap, less than $750 for a top-tier one, and they have a higher efficiency by working directly with direct current (DC power) instead of having to have the power converted to alternating current (AC power). Since pool pumps only last a few years, you can wait to look at solar pump options when your pump is starting to give out instead of right away with a whole solar system.
Solar pumps are ideal for people that don’t want or can’t have a whole solar system. Some places have regulations against solar panels, or the number of panels that people can have. Some people simply can’t afford the high initial cost of a solar system. Some people just don’t want them installed.
No matter the reason, solar pumps and panels specifically for them offer a solution to pool owners that allows them to reduce their bills and energy usage.
How Much Do Solar Pumps Cost?
A solar pump system can have a high initial cost. You can expect to spend anywhere between $300 and $750 just on the water pump. Then you have the solar panels.
This is the most expensive part of the system, and costs between $2,000 and $4,000 on average. Sometimes you can save money by purchasing everything individually, or you can get a kit with everything you need to make it easier for homeowners.
If you get a battery backup, shipping, or installation on your system, you can also expect costs to go up quite a bit. Depending on the size of your pool, you may also need more panels to keep up with the water pumping demands.
This is a high initial cost. Based on our earlier assessments, you could expect your system to take around four years to pay off. Most assessments average that, in total, you can expect your buyback period to be between three and seven years, depending on things like the amount of sunlight in your area, the cost of solar in your area, tax incentives and breaks, and the size of your system.
Thankfully, the life expectancy of almost any solar panel anymore is around 25 years, so you can definitely get your money back from them and then spend nearly 20 years saving money.
The pumps do die out every couple of years, so they will probably have to be replaced once or twice before your buyback period, but they are somewhat cheaper, and only set back your initial cost a little.
Most standard pumps for pools cost upwards of $100 a month to operate. (2) A pump that heats your water is often closer to $300 a month. While variable water pumps can reduce the cost, you are still looking at around $50 a month.
If you are planning on keeping your pool in your backyard for a while and using it to your heart’s content, you will find that the pool does pay for itself after a while and the high initial cost is worth it.
How Long Do Solar Pool Pumps Last?
Most solar pool pumps have a warranty of two or three years. This seems to be the industry standard, though you can look at the reviews of the business, brands, and customer reviews to get an idea of how long your pump should last until it has to be replaced. (3)
Standard pool pumps tend to last eight to ten years. (4) A regular pool pump costs about $1,100 on average. (5)
If we just look at pump costs and life expectancy, a solar pool pump definitely comes out as the loser. If we take $500 as the average cost of a solar pool pump and go with the shortest lifespan of two years, you are looking at $250 a year. Regular pool pumps, at $1,100 on average and lasting eight years, cost $137.50 a year.
However, you also have to take into account how much you are spending on utilities. Say you are spending $100 a month on your pool pump’s electricity costs. That adds a whole $1,200 a year to your pump cost.
A solar pool pump seems pretty good now, doesn’t it?
Can You Install a Solar Pool Pump Yourself?
You can absolutely install a solar pool pump yourself. One of the best ways to do this is to get a solar kit. They may be a little more costly than buying the individual parts but they make sure you don’t mess up anything important, such as the diameter of the wires, the voltage, and the amount of solar energy you need.
Plus, the slight increase in cost for the whole kit is still much cheaper than hiring a company to do the job for you. All you have to do is read the instructions, find the site you want to set up your solar panels and get started.
Sometimes, the companies even offer a video on how to install it. If you only have a little experience with solar panels, and easily get confused by terms like ‘flow rates’, ‘resistance’, ‘capacity’, and so on, then finding a simple kit may be the best option.
Check out a customer review or two to make sure the installation is as simple as the company makes it out to be. Most even come with all the accessories you will need, though tools are often not included.
You want to make sure you pick a place that isn’t in danger of getting constantly hit with pool water and is a step or two out of the way. The best part is you don’t have to worry about unsightly extension cords running everywhere or being right next to an outlet.
In this case, this article is discussing solar panels that work for pool pumps, but if you know anything about electricity, you can set up solar panels to work with anything, including a fish tank, bubbling birdbath, or a cute fountain in your front yard.
Factors That Change the Type of Solar Pool Pump You Need
What Kind of Pool You Have
There are different solar pool pumps depending on the type of pool you have. Most of the time, this boils down to whether you have an in-ground or above-ground pool.
There are key differences between them, such as the extra strength to lift the water higher or drag the water further away from the pool. It is important you get the right one.
Size of the Pool
The bigger the pool, the more water your pump needs to be able to handle at once. You need to think about flow rates [the time it takes the water to be pulled from the pool, cleaned, and returned] as well as the volume of water you have in the pool.
Thankfully, there are calculators online to make it easy to find out exactly the strength and size you need for your pool filter system.
The size of your pool also helps you to determine your turnover rate. Every pool pump has a flow rate, measured in gallons per minute (GPM). This will tell you how many gallons your pool pump can handle per minute, and you can use that to calculate the turnover rate.
You want to make sure you have a good turnover rate. With solar pool pumps, you want it to be less than the amount of sunlight you get a day on average so that your pool can get properly filtered every day.
Current Pump Strength
There are different speeds that pool pumps can use. At the moment, there are three that are common, which are the single-speed, the dual-speed, and the variable-speed.
The single speed is the cheapest and doesn’t have high efficiency. Unless your pool is very small, it will likely have to run all day due to its low efficiency. For this reason, it is recommended not to use this speed and to upgrade to better technology available on the market.
One of the other types of speed is dual-speed. This comes with two options; high and low speed. This allows you to run at lower speeds when you aren’t using the pool and save money.
Variable speed is considered the best option but is also the most expensive. It has the flexibility to provide you with the most efficient cleaning and best water flow.
Do You Have Heaters or Use Cleaners?
Certain pumps are better at handling cleaners than others. Also, if you have a separate heating system, you don’t need a pool pump that also heats and reduces efficiency.
The Size of Your Solar System and Inverter
If you already have a solar system you are connecting your swimming pump to, then you need to consider the power you have available. If you try to draw too much power from the inverter, you risk shutting down your system.
Make sure before you buy your solar pump that you have enough solar panels to power it, and that your inverter can handle the strain.
If You Have Water Features
Many pools have water features like jets, lights, waterfalls, or fountains. These can make pools feel more like a paradise, but also mean that they need more power and water flow.
Some of the Best Solar Pool Pumps
Because each solar pump has a niche where it best performs, we cannot provide the best products for every pool. Instead, these are the best products for each pool pump niche to make sure you have an idea of the best one for your needs.
Best for a Budget
- Operates on 115 volts and features 1.5 inch internal threading and 2.5 inch external threading
- Compliant with CSA and ETL standards, meeting or exceeding all requirements
- Durable stainless steel motor shaft with reinforced thermoplastic body for extended lifespan
- Equipped with a standard three-prong plug connection on a 3-foot cord
- Advanced engineering ensures high efficiency and low noise output
More expensive doesn’t always mean better. You can get a pretty decent solar pump on a budget. The best option is the Harris Proforce. (6) This one is specifically designed to work with above-ground pools and has slight overheating issues, so it shouldn’t be run all day. It is also a single-speed pump, which means it isn’t as efficient as other options.
However, it is fairly cheap and quiet when it does run. The best part is that it is designed with high-quality materials that make it last a long time without needing a replacement.
- Versatile pool solution that works for both saltwater and chlorinated pools
- Eliminates the need to purchase separate pool treatments for different pool types
- Cost-effective option for pool maintenance
- Saves money compared to purchasing separate pool treatment products
- Provides convenience and ease of use for pool owners
- No toggle switch to turn the pump on and off
- It may stop working quickly
- Not recommended for long-term use
Best for Big Pools
- Powerful 1.5 HP pool pump designed for larger pools
- Variable-speed design reduces energy consumption for efficiency
- User-friendly digital keypad and 24-hour clock for easy programming and monitoring
- Premium product with higher price tag
- Ideal for those seeking efficient pump and simple programming system
- TEFC motor operates quietly for peaceful poolside environment
- Allows for installation near patio or deck space without causing noise disturban
If you want to have a high GPM to make sure your big pool is fully cleaned, you may want to check out pumps by Pentair. They are costly and don’t come with any of the other parts you may need to get your pump set up, but it is a 1.5 HP pool pump that works specifically with big pools.
It also has three speeds, so you can adjust it to pump as much as you need. Despite the size, it is quiet and won’t disturb you even if it is right next to your pool. The Pentair SuperFlo is one of the best options for them, but all of their products are good. (7)
- Customizable pool pump with three programmable speeds
- Digital display makes it easy to read and adjust settings
- Can be adapted to suit different pool types and requirements
- Provides versatility and convenience for pool owners
- Higher cost compared to other basic packages on the market
- Basic package with no cords or accessories included
- With limited warranty
Best for Other Applications
- Solar-powered water pump kit
- Ideal for a wide range of applications including large fountains, water features, ponds, streams, waterfalls, hydroponics, aquaponics, greenhouses, rainwater collection, animal troughs, natural pools and more
- Efficient and durable submersible brushless magnetic pump with adjustable flow control
- Dry-run protection and removable pre-filter to prevent debris clogging impeller
- Non-toxic to aquatic life
- Maximum lift of 4.9 feet (under optimal conditions)
- 12-watt solar panel framed with aluminum, with included stake and power cord
- Can be placed up to 16 feet away from the pump
- Optional 16' extension cord sold separately
- 1-year warranty and 100% money-back guarantee if the kit doesn't meet water pumping needs
- Note: This pump is powered by solar energy and requires sunlight to operate. There is no battery included in the system, and it does not run at night.
If you don’t want a pool pump but need something for your fish tank or birdbath, the Solariver Solar Water Pump Kit is a great option. (8) It comes with different-sized nozzles to help you find the perfect fit. It also works for a small pond if you have ponds that need a pump.
It doesn’t come with a battery, but if you get plenty of sun throughout the day, there is no need for it to run at night anyway. There is also the option to purchase a battery separately. It has a brushless magnetic motor head as well for durability and reliability. This product also has a one-year warranty.
- Saves money on energy bills by using solar power
- Eco-friendly and non-toxic to aquatic life
- Durable and long-lasting brushless magnetic pump
- Adjustable flow control allows for customized water flow
- Versatile and can be used in a variety of applications
- Can be placed up to 16 feet away from the solar panel for convenient placement
- Extension cord available for even greater distance from the solar panel
- Low maintenance and easy to clean
- Not suitable for use at night or in low-light conditions
- Pump performance may be affected by weather conditions, such as cloud cover or shade
- May require additional cleaning or maintenance to prevent clogging from algae or other organic matter
Best All-in-One Kit
- Solar-powered submersible pump for home and industrial use
- 0.3HP motor with 24v DC power, 260ft maximum head, and 7.7GPM flow rate
- Can be connected to batteries or solar panels (not included) for flexible and environmentally-friendly pumping
- Includes water shortage sensors for fully automated operation and protection against overfilling or low water levels
- MPPT controller ensures maximum flow under all light conditions and protects against low light, overheating, and running dry
- 24-hour customer service and quality issue replacement policy
The best all-in-one kit comes from PWS. (9) Their system has little to no noise, variable speed pumps, and can do well with chlorine and salt pools. It also has a brushless motor.
Though this says kit, it doesn’t come with solar panels so you will have to buy those separately. The reason it is still the best kit, however, is the fact that it comes with everything else, including cords, detectors, and the pump itself. It runs at 92 GPM and pairs best with three 400-watt panels.
It also works well for springs and ponds as well as pools.
- Flexible power options allow for use with solar panels or batteries
- Long warranty period provides peace of mind for the user
- Designed for use in deep wells, providing access to water in remote locations or areas with limited water supply
- Higher price point may be a barrier to purchase for some customers
- Instruction manual may be difficult to follow or inadequate, requiring additional research or assistance
1. Mullane, J., & Mullane, J. (2021). How much energy does a swimming pool use? Canstar Blue. https://www.canstarblue.com.au/electricity/how-much-energy-does-a-swimming-pool-use/
2. Cellucci, N. P. (2023). How Much Does a Pool Cost per Month in Electricity? [2023 Data]. Angi. https://www.angi.com/articles/pool-cost-per-month-in-electricity.htm
3. SunRay Warranty – Solar Pool Pumps – Solar Energy Companies – SunRay Engineering. (n.d.). 2009. https://sunrayus.com/warranty.php
4. Flannery, K., & Flannery, K. (2022). How Much Does a Pool Pump Cost? Bob Vila. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/pool-pump-cost/
5. Maxton, F. (2022). How long does a pool pump motor last? Laguna Pools. https://lagunapools.com.au/blogs/resources/how-long-does-a-pool-pump-motor-last
6. Amazon.com: Harris H1572730 ProForce 1.5 HP Above Ground Pool Pump 115V ((1.2 THP)) : Patio, Lawn & Garden. (n.d.). https://www.amazon.com/Harris-H1572730-ProForce-Above-Ground/dp/B01BSV5N9M
7. Pentair. Residential Pumps. (n.d.) https://www.pentair.com/en-us/products/residential/pool-spa-equipment/pool-pumps/superflo_vs_variablespeedpump.html
8. Amazon. SolaRiver. Solar Water Pump Kit. (n.d.) https://www.amazon.com/Solariver-Solar-Water-Pump-Kit/dp/B01F4MKBBG
9. Amazon. Solar Swimming Pool Pump. (n.d.) https://www.amazon.com/PWS-Powered-Swimming-Suitable-JP21-19/dp/B07MBFX9DM?th=1