comparing costs of solar pool heaters

Comparing Costs of Solar Pool Heating Systems

Prior to purchasing a solar pool heating system, you can estimate and compare the costs of using different solar pool heating systems. This will help you determine the potential cost savings of investing in a more efficient type of collector, which may require fewer panels for the collector area needed to heat your pool.  Each solar collector should have a thermal rating, Btu/day or Btu/ft2/day.  To help consumers compare solar collectors, the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC), a non-profit organization, has established a rating system for solar collectors.   SRCC information allows you to compare different types of collectors — for example, flat plate collectors compared to evacuated tube collectors.  Ratings can be accessed using the following link:

(* British thermal unit. One Btu is the amount of heat required to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit and is about equivalent to the amount of heat produced by an ordinary kitchen match.)

The following information will be required to compare systems:

  1. A collector’s thermal performance rating (Btu/day)
  2. Total number of collector panels or piping for the area needed to heat your pool
  3. Total installed cost of system.

Calculate a collector’s energy output per dollar spent or invested using this formula:

(Btu/day X # of collector panels/piping modules) ÷ total installed cost of system = Btu/$ per dollar spent


(27,900 X 4) Btu ÷ $3,000 = 37.20 Btu/day per dollar spent

If you just know the prices and thermal performance ratings (Btu/day) of collectors, you can use the following formula to calculate the energy output for each dollar spent or invested for different collectors:

Btu/day ÷ collector price = Btu/day per dollar spent


21,000 Btu ÷ $387 = 54.26 Btu/day per dollar spent

The cost of the system should not be the only factor in your selection process. When selecting a solar pool heater, it’s also important to consider all of the factors involved including warranty, level of customer service provided, customer reviews, solar company’s reputation, etc.