An Informative Guide to the Pros and Cons of Solar Pool Covers

Many swimming pool owners know first and how well pool covers can maintain the pool temperature. They’ve also witnessed how pool covers prevent heat evaporation and water evaporation.

However, there are other benefits of solar pool covers that you may not be aware of.

There are also some concerns that you should take into consideration before purchasing one. In this blog post, we discuss the pros and cons of solar pool covers, so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not they’re right for your needs!

pros and cons of solar pool covers

What Is a Solar Pool Cover?

A solar cover is a sheet of plastic material, also known as a solar blanket, which is designed to trap heat in your pool. This sheet heats your pool water with solar rays and can keep the water temperature at a comfortable level throughout the cooler months of the year.

Do solar pool covers work? Solar blankets are an excellent method to keep your swimming pool water warmer for longer periods while saving money on energy bills. This is because the solar blanket prevents heat from escaping too quickly, preventing costly heating expenses.

Pros and Cons of Pool Covers

Pros of Solar Blankets

The pros of using a solar blanket include the following:

Heat Retention

After trapping heat obtained from direct sunlight, a solar blanket serves as a pool heater that helps in the prevention of heat loss. This helps keep your pool warm, and it retains the warm water temperature for longer.

Water Retention

A solar cover acts as a barrier between the pool surface and the air, reducing water loss through evaporation. When the pool surface is exposed to air and wind, it evaporates.

Water molecules rise from the top of the water and coalesce into vapor before escaping into the atmosphere.

Protection From Dirt

Using a solar blanket also helps in keeping your pool clean by giving it protection against dirt and debris entering the water. A solar cover protects the water from leaves, insects, fruits, and other objects that may enter it.

Therefore, regardless of the weather condition, the pool’s water will be clear when the cover is removed. Pool owners can spend more time enjoying their pools and less time maintaining them since the pool will require less cleaning.

Prevention of Accidents

Placing a solar cover over a pool is very helpful in preventing pets and kids from drowning accidentally in pools when there are no adults around to monitor their activities.

Maintaining Chemical Balance

A solar pool cover helps to maintain the effectiveness of pool chemicals by keeping direct sunlight from affecting chlorine levels.

Energy and Cost Savings

Heat retention helps you save money on energy costs and extend your swimming season. Solar covers are environmentally friendly and energy-saving options for warming your pool.

Cons of Solar Blankets

The cons of using a solar blanket include the following:

pros and cons of solar pool covers

May Be Pricey

The price of solar pool covers is perhaps the most important consideration. Solar cover prices can be rather expensive, especially if you have a large pool.

In addition, because solar covers may be unwieldy and difficult to unroll by hand, many pool owners choose automatic or semi-automatic wraps that use electricity to unfold the cover. If you do not have an extra for that, you can also make use of a DIY solar cover reel.

Solar covers that use these technologies are the most expensive and may not be suitable for everyone’s budget. Despite the higher purchase price, a solar cover may save a pool owner enough energy expenses to pay for itself after just one year. You might also want to check how long do solar pool covers last.

Might Be Non-Effective Unless It’s the Right Size

Solar covers, like any other pool cover, come in a variety of sizes to suit most pools. Pools with unusual shapes or that are larger than normal may not have many alternatives. However, you do not need to worry about the size if you are using the best liquid solar pool cover.

A conventional solar cover may not be big enough to fit a lagoon-style pool or another unique design. As a result, a custom-sized solar cover must be acquired instead of a regular one, which can be more expensive.

May Accelerate Algae Growth

Research has shown that algae growth in pools is strongest when the bacteria receive 10-15 hours of sunlight daily and if the water temperature stays anywhere between 60-80° Fahrenheit.

So, while a solar pool cover won’t directly cause green algae to grow in your water, if your water or pool cover already has spores, the increase in the water temperature could rapidly accelerate the spread of bacteria, thereby turning your pool green. You should know how to clean pool cover properly to avoid such issues.

Conclusion

Solar pool covers are an excellent method for keeping your pool clean and warm. However, there are several advantages and disadvantages to consider before purchasing a solar cover.

Ultimately, you should weigh the pros and cons of solar pool covers to determine whether or not you should get one and what type you should choose.

Are there any other benefits or drawbacks of solar blankets? Share in the comment section below!

Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight?

If you live in an area where rainy and overcast days are more frequent than sunny days, you might be wondering if solar panels would work for you.

Given that solar panels rely on the sun to produce energy, it’s natural to assume that they need direct sunlight to produce electricity.

In short, the answer is no.

Solar panels work best when they’re being hit with bright rays of sunshine, but they aren’t useless without them. Whether you live in an area with an abundance of direct sunlight or not, you can still use solar energy to power your home.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, solar radiation is light that is emitted by the sun. Solar technologies, like solar cells, collect this radiation and convert it into types of energy that we can use.

Every year, the sun shines on every location on Earth, but exactly how much solar radiation reaches any one spot on the surface over a year varies.

The solar radiation that reaches Earth’s surface is converted sunlight into electricity in one of two ways: through photovoltaic (PV) panels or through mirrors that concentrate radiation from the sun.

Photovoltaic Panels

If you have ever seen a solar panel, which can typically be found on the roof of a home or business, then you’ve witnessed photovoltaic technology at work.

Solar panels use PV. When sunlight hits a solar panel, the PV cells in the panel absorb the sun’s energy. That energy then produces electrical currents that create electricity.

Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Systems

Concentrated solar-thermal power (CSP) systems are mirrors that reflect sunlight and direct it onto components that accumulate solar energy and convert it to heat which is used to create electricity. This form of solar technology is mostly used in massive power plants rather than for residential purposes.

How Much Sunlight Does a Solar Panel Need?

There are several factors that determine how much sunlight a solar panel needs in order to operate most efficiently, including:

  • Roof angle
  • Irradiance
  • Panel Orientation
  • Topology

Roof Angle

When seeking maximum efficiency for your solar panels, you might be surprised to learn how much of an impact roof angles can have.

A tilted solar panel is able to produce nearly twice as much power as a flat-mounted one. When configuring your solar panel arrays, or even a single panel, consider tilting your solar system to optimize its efficiency.

Keep in mind that the best tilt angle for your solar array will likely be different during the summer months than in the winter months. To optimize your solar panel efficiency, the ideal tilt angle during the summer is the location latitude -15 degrees.

In the winter months, the best tilt angle for any location is the location latitude +15 degrees.

Irradiance

Irradiance, or the amount of energy from the sun, has the biggest impact on how much solar power is generated. While direct sunlight isn’t necessary, the more direct sunlight a solar panel has, the more power it generates.

Irradiance is different across the globe. For example, San Francisco, California has an average irradiance of 5.69. Learn more about what part of the United States is best for capturing solar energy.

Panel Orientation

Panel orientation refers to the direction that the panels are facing. If you are located in the Northern hemisphere, due South is the best direction to optimize solar panel output.

Before you become overwhelmed with information, consider that a solar installer will make sure your panels are installed and positioned to ensure maximum efficiency.

What If My Solar Panels Aren’t in Direct Sunlight?

Naturally, you might be curious about how solar panels continue to generate electric current during cloudy or cold weather.

First, know that while you might see a slight reduction in solar panel production under cloud cover or partial shade, you can still expect adequate production of electricity from your photovoltaic cells. Even a completely shaded panel can convert photons from indirect sunlight into usable electricity.

The newest solar panels use concentrators like lenses and mirrors to make the most of any sunlight they receive. Since panels use photons from sunlight rather than heat, they can generate electricity in cold weather.

A professionally-installed solar system is built to handle some of the worst weather conditions. Here’s what you can expect in terms of solar power production!

How Do Solar Panels Work in the Rain?

As we mentioned earlier, photovoltaic cells are most effective in direct sunlight, but they can still convert indirect sunlight into usable energy. Your solar panels will still work when it rains, using as much radiation from indirect sunlight as possible.

Plus, while rainy weather conditions will likely affect your panel’s peak output, rain can actually help keep your panels clean by washing away any dust or dirt that has accumulated on the cells!

What If My Solar Panels Are Covered in Snow?

If your panels are covered by a thick layer of snow, it is blocked from sunlight and unable to generate energy. However, snow tends to fall or melt off of solar cells pretty quickly, especially if your panels are installed at an angle.

Solar Panel Snow Rake

Light snow that only covers your panels with a dusting of snow might prevent peak efficiency of your panels, but it won’t temporarily render the cells useless like a thick layer of snow would.

Since your panels are designed to absorb heat, if even a small part of the panel is exposed to the sun, heat will spread across the panel and melt the snow. There is actually a good chance that your panels will be snow-free before the rest of your roof!

What If My Solar Panels Don’t Produce Enough Electricity?

By using a concept called net metering, your home stays connected to the electric grid. When your panels generate more solar power than your home needs, the excess energy is fed to your local utility provider.

With this agreement, some utilities will credit your bill for any power they receive from you!

Net metering works the other way too. When your solar system doesn’t generate enough solar power to meet the needs of your household, it pulls power back from the electric grid.

This is especially useful during extended periods of heavy rainfall.

Solar Batteries

You aren’t required to purchase a solar battery as part of your installation, but they can be useful in different situations. A home battery storage solution allows you to keep the lights on during power outages and also provides your home with stored energy when your current energy production is lacking.

Conclusion

If you are relatively new to solar energy production, it’s expected that you will have many questions about how solar panels work.

Solar panels don’t need constant sunlight exposure to power your home. Just remember the basics on how to maintain solar panels. No matter whether you live in an area with plenty of natural sunlight or experience frequent rainstorms and overcast days, you can still enjoy the benefits of green energy!

Do You Still Have An Electric Bill With Solar Panels?

People who switch to a solar system do so in the hopes of lowering their expensive energy bills. Solar energy, after all, is free aside from the system equipment.

Right? Or will you still have to pay for an electric bill after going solar?

To answer these questions, we need to explore solar panels, how much they cost, and how much energy you will be using each month. We will also look at your relationship with the utility company and what you should expect from them.

Do solar panel systems give you free electricity?

Essentially, yes. A solar panel system takes the energy from sunlight and converts it into free electricity. If you convert more electricity than what your household consumes, this surplus electricity will then be exported to the grid. This is known as net metering.

As you will soon discover, your solar panel system can net you more than just savings on your electric bill.

How does billing work using solar?

Most homeowners will still have a monthly electric bill that is owed to the utility company. However, it is possible to generate enough electricity on your own that the utility company eventually owes you money.

That, of course, is a best-of situation and doesn’t apply to everyone. Anytime you start service at a new address with a solar panel system, your electric bill will need to be paid a year in advance. In the utility industry, this is commonly known as a “true-up” bill.

Each month, you will get an electric bill that states how much energy the electric company has credited to your account and how much power your household has consumed.

It is important to note that utility companies like gas and water are not affected by your solar system. This bill will need to be addressed on its own without any relation to solar energy.

Why is my electricity bill so high when I have a solar system?

If you are just receiving your first true-up bill, it’s going to look high to you. If it’s not a true-up bill and still looks high, it’s likely that you used far more electricity than you had anticipated. If this happens to you, it’s important not to panic.

There are a few reasons why your electricity bill looks higher than it should:

  • your household simply used too much electricity, this is often the cause of large appliances, like washers and dryers, heat pumps, or air conditioning units.
  • as air conditioners are known for using lots of energy – both central air and window units.

When this happens, you are not only going through all of your solar system energy, but you’re also using more than you’d like from the grid, as well. If you’re a member of net metering, you expect your unused energy to get dumped back into the grid, not the other way around.

It’s important to check the installation of your solar system to ensure that everything looks proper. If all checks out, be sure to thoroughly examine your bill to make sure you are reading it correctly.

New solar users make the mistake of reading their utility bill incorrectly all the time.

What will my electric bill be with a solar system?

Best Emergency Solar Power Systems

First, you have to figure out how much solar panels costs. Then, you need to factor in the cost install solar panels.

It’s also important to take into account any tax credit you might receive. Once you know how much does a solar panels cost and installing solar panels cost, you will need to get with your utility companies to discuss if there are customer services fees or delivery charges.

If your utility company has these types of fixed charges, you can expect to pay them each month, regardless of how much power you use. Find out which charges you will be responsible for so that you know what to expect when your bill arrives.

If you can get on a set routine of how much power you generate, you can work toward eliminating all other costs, only paying fixed charges. And if you can get to the point where you are dumping electricity that you have generated back into the grid, you could start seeing credits on your bill from the utility company.

Can I Offset My Electric Bill With Solar?

Ideally, going solar will allow you to eliminate your electricity bill altogether so that you owe less to the utility companies. Aside from the cost of solar system equipment, you can have truly free electricity if managed correctly.

Even if you discover that you can’t do away with your electricity bill with your solar system, you can still reduce it considerably. If you live in an area that has famously expensive energy bills, investing in a solar system could be the best move.

Should I invest in solar if net metering isn’t available in my area?

Absolutely. Just because this incentive isn’t offered where you live, you don’t have to give away your unused electricity for free.

By investing in solar batteries, you can store all of that surplus energy for future use. Instead of using energy from the grid, you can simply tap into your solar batteries, thereby ensuring that you are getting the most out of your solar system.

This can come in particularly handy during busy months that see you using more electricity than what your solar system generates. Having this electricity in the bank will ensure that you don’t use too much from the electric company.

While it is ideal to use solar in an area that will benefit its use the most, this isn’t always possible. What’s important is that you manage your solar use as best you can to ensure you aren’t paying more than you need to the electric company.

Smart solar use means smart savings.

Related Questions

I keep hearing about free solar panels. Will they actually save me money?

It’s important to remember that solar lease providers are just like other companies, and they want to make money. While it’s true that some solar leases will save you money, it’s important to do your homework to ensure that you are getting the best rate possible.

There are solar lease companies that have much better rates than others. So it pays to look around, compare information, and ask any questions you can think of.

How To Install Solar Panels: 2022 Solar Panel Installation Guide

The world is going solar…why will you be left behind?

Solar is the imminent reality as we are all searching for some alternative form of energy to find respite from increasing electricity bills that add to the heat!

You buy Solar? Do you install Solar? You get into trouble!

Installing solar PV cells is not an easy thing to do. It requires quite some understanding, experience, and expertise. So if you think you can manage it easily and all alone…fools paradise beacons you.

You are on the right page if you have zero idea and technical expertise on installing solar panels. This article will discuss the different steps to the solar panel installation process that you could learn and follow.

Solar Panels: Journey Of Evolution In A Nutshell 

You may have seen some rooftops covered with sheet-like structures. This is because they are Solar PV cells.

Well, the journey of this promising technology dates back more than a century.

During our grandpa’s salad days, solar energy was used mainly to produce steam to drive machinery.

But Edmond Becquerel, with his path-breaking observation of the photovoltaic effect, initiated the journey of solar PVs.

Charles Fritts followed the legacy and his efforts led to the discovery of the first Genuine Solar Cells formed using a coating sheet of selenium with a lean layer of Gold.

After that, in the year 1941, American Inventor Russel Ohl patented the world’s first Silicon Solar Cells.

Solar Technology is still now going through evolution and development, and we will definitely see more of it.

Types Of Solar Panels

What are the different types of solar panels? While most people know what solar panels are and why they are used, many people are unaware of the various types of solar panels. Depending on the types of solar panels, the installation process also changes.

There are four major types of solar installation panels. These are as follows,

1. Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels are also known as single-crystal panels. Made from one silicon crystal that’s pure and cut into several wafers, these panels are identified from their color (dark black, usually).

It is, in fact, the pure silicon that makes these panels perhaps the most efficient space-wise, and that’s not all.

These are also long-lasting, but there’s only one problem. There is one high cost of opting for Monocrystalline panels.

It is the sheer wastage of silicon to even produce a single monocrystalline cell. But, of course, this alone increases the cost of the panel.

2. Polycrystalline

Instead of one silicon crystal, Polycrystalline panels originate from multiple crystals. After obtaining all the silicon crystals, the fragments are simply melted, only to be poured and molded into the trademark square shape of these panels.

Naturally, this makes Polycrystalline panels more cost-efficient, especially from the point of wastage.

But at the same time, these are hardly efficient when it comes to space or energy conversion.

This is because the silicon purity of these panels is naturally less than the monocrystalline panels.

Moreover, these can’t tolerate heat well, making them a bad alternative for areas with high temperatures.

3. Amorphous Silicon

The Amorphous Silicon solar cell is a thin-film solar cell that’s perhaps the best developed among other alternatives.

Perfect for watches and pocket calculators, these solar panels are best used for applications that run on low power.

But if you manage to stack one on top of the other, you can also use the same for high power usage.

It is said that Amorphous silicon solar panels are more efficient than either Monocrystalline or even Polycrystalline panels.

However, these require twice as much space for the same output that you can get from the Monocrystalline panels.

At the same time, even though space is an issue, in terms of flexibility and temperature tolerance, these are any day better.

4. Cadmium Telluride

The Cadmium telluride solar cells are blessed with similar benefits to the Polycrystalline solar panels from the environment.

These Photovoltaic cells are based completely on the cadmium Telluride.

Installing Solar Panels: A Step By Step Guide

When thinking about installing solar panels, there are many things that need to be kept in mind.

For example, the positioning of the solar panel, whether it should be placed vertically or horizontally on the roof or whether you should simply place it on the slope of the roof, impacts the installation of the panel.

There are some nitty-gritty things that you need complete and comprehensive knowledge of.

So let’s follow a step by step direction when you go on to install your solar panels:

Pre-Installation 

You need to follow certain steps to start installing the Solar PV cells. This stage is the Pre Installation Stage.

Step 1: Site Survey With An Engineer 

Once you have decided on the site where you are going to install the Solar PV Cells, call the solar installation company for your home. Sign a contract with the company.

Now call the company’s engineer to decide on the various aspects of the installation. But, first, get your electrical system.

See that the system design you have planned goes hand in hand with the existing electrical system.

This will be followed by a roof installation. After ensuring that your roof is sound, the Engineer will propose a mounting system for a flat roof.

Step 2: Sweating To Get The Permits Done

Now you will have to initiate the process of seeking permission from the concerned authorities. Do I need a permit to install solar panels? Yes sir! You need to get all the right permits and documentation to ensure the legality of your solar panel installation. This will take quite some headache on your part.

Let me give you one good news… your solar company handles most of the burden regarding paperwork and permits.

They bear some of your burdens to facilitate the smooth initiation of the installation process. To help you get the right one, check our guide on how to choose a solar installer.

Installation 

Now let’s come to the practical aspect of the overall Installation guidelines.

Step 1: Installation Of The Mount   

The solar panel mounting brackets need to be installed first. This acts as a foundation to provide support and stability to your PV Cells.

The most suitable direction to place your solar panels in the NorthEastern Hemisphere is in the southern direction.

There is a lot of sunlight. And the direction for the country in the southern hemisphere is in the north.

The angle or tilt of fixing the mounting framework needs to be at an angle from 18 to 36 degrees.

Step 2: Fixing The Solar Panels On The Mounted Structure 

You will have to fix your Solar Panels on the mounting structure and use nuts and bolts.

Ensure that you fix the Solar Panels in the right place and fix them properly to become durable and last long.

Step 3: Installation Of The Electrical Wiring 

Now the most important aspect is electric wiring. During the cabling, you need to use connectors like MC4.

MC4s may be used with any type of solar panel. You can use both Series Connection as well as Parallel Connection as a sequence of electric connections to be made between each panel.

Step 4: Connect The Solar Inverter To The System

You have to make sure you connect the entire system to the solar Inverter. Do not make things extremely complex while initiating the connection.

The solar’s positive wire is to be linked with the Inverter’s positive terminals. The same goes with the negative wire.

Step 5:Connect The Solar Inverter To The Battery

Now, to generate the power, you must connect the Inverter with the solar battery.

Here, you connect the battery’s positive terminal to the Inverter’s positive terminal. Then, in the same way, you join the battery’s negative terminal with the negative end of the Inverter.

If you are not making the connections properly, it might cause issues with the link. So take the help of some expert without doing it all alone.

Step 6: Linking The Solar Inverter To The Power Grid

Now that your Inverter connections are ready connect them to the grid. Use a standard plug while connecting the main power to the switchboard.

The electric board that is used to deliver electricity is to be linked to an output wire.

Step 7: Your Connections Are Ready! Turn On Your Inverter 

You have completed your cabling. You have completed your connections. Everything is set. Turn on the switch.

Your Inverter will include the digital display. The displays show the generation and consumption of Solar energy.

And finally, all your hard work, hassle, and headaches win you your much-awaited and anticipated Free Renewable Green Energy !!

FAQ

Q1: Can I Install Solar Panels All By Myself?

Ans: Yes, you can manage to prepare and install your solar system by yourself. It might be a time-consuming affair, but definitely, it is manageable with the required knowledge and technical assistance.

Q2: Where Can I Purchase Solar System Equipment? 

Ans: Many brands provide this equipment. The companies provide the equipment and take quite a lot of your responsibility. So make sure you buy them from reliable companies.

Q3:Which Solar Panel Is Best: Monocrystalline Or Polycrystalline?

Ans: The Monocrystalline Solar panels tend to be more efficient as they work better in diverse weather conditions. Monocrystalline Solar Panels perform better while in intense heat. In addition, they have the longest life.

Final Words

We hope you will be benefited from the information that we produce. You need to be extremely clear with the exact plan at hand.

While you buy the systems, make sure to buy them from reliable manufacturers. Quality provides durability.

But the battle is won on paper. So follow this information, and you will indeed be able to practically implement your Solar Connection! So read the guidelines properly whenever you plan to install your solar system.