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Question DetailsAsked on 9/21/2015

i live in a 2000sf house with pool, SCE bill avg is $400mo.Does. it make sense to go solar? If so,panels or roof t

Are the Dow Poerhouse roof shingles a good choice if we go solar? Is solar worthwhile and does it replace my electric bill?

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3 Answers


Here is another similar question with response, and links to some other responses too.

It does NOT replace your electric bill unless you go totally "off the grid", which can be very risky and of course makes your house an "oddball" when you go to sell it. Insome areas excess power generated during the daytime you "sell" back to the power company, sometimes at artificially state-mandated rates (which may or may not survive) - in others excess power you can generate goes to waste. However, unless you put in a backup generator (additional cost for little usage) or massive battery backup system (additional cost and another system component that can fail) you will still need power from the electric company during nighttime and extended very cloudy days, even if your site is otherwise able to generate enough solar power to meet your needs. Also, unless your big demand appliances are gas (water heater, dryer, range, furnace, large power tools or air compressor or welder or such), in many cases it is not economic to size your solar system to handle their peak loads, but if it does NOT handle essentially your normal load then the economics again start going to pot.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


Before going solar,take a look at all the other things you can do to conserve energy. High efficiency pool pump, heating and air conditioning, plus better windows and insulation. Once you have improved these, if you want solar, your requirement for solar panels,etc., will have been greatly reduced.


Answered 3 years ago by BayAreaAC


As a followup to BayAreaAC's good comments - if in an area with decent solar energy, going "solar" for just the pool can be much less expensive if you get decent sun during the pool heating season.

A solar energy system generating electricity for the house has to have expensive and high-maintenance battery storage and load and frequency matching inverter systems to convert the low-voltage DC panel power to 120V AC to match the power to the line power frequency and voltage, and to filter out potentially damaging transients that can damage electronics. It also needs automatic switching equipment to switch your house from solar to line energy, if using a system that can totally replace public power at times.

A pool water heating system generally does not need all this - just a location (a small in-line tank typically) with heating coils that use the solar cell electricity directly or with only a simple transformer voltage increase to reduce losses, commonly without conversion to A/C or filtering or such (other than lightning protection), which heats the water with whatever solar energy is available at any time the thermostat says the water could use the heat. So, the system is much simpler and hence cheaper, can more readily be aimed at the optimum angle to intercept the sun (or even be tracking, which generally cannot be feasibly done ona roof installation), and also does not interfere with your household electrical system if properly isolated.

An even simpler approach can be a solar accumulator - basically a large black radiator with water in it that absorbs heat from the sun when it is warmer than the pool water.

Or solar blankets - floating "bubble wrap" or "puff pillow" or "air mattress" covers that go over the pool when not in use and absorb solar energy and heat the water, as well as adding the benefit of saving the water that normally evaporates (and has been heated already) and reducing debris entry to the pool, and dramatically cutting back the evaporative cooling effect from evaporation of water from the pool. Those alone can commonly make a 10-30 degree difference in pool water temperature, can reduce water and chemical consumption 25-50%, and reduce water heating by as much as 30-70% depending on your locale. And they are not just picking up solar heat (which they do, but not at anywhere oiptimum efficiency) but stop much of the radiative and evaporative heat losses when the pool is not in use, most especially on clear nights. Available in both manual and automatic rollout/retraction mode, and in rolled blanket and folding panel forms.

And as he said, increasing the energy efficiency of your home with an energy audit followed by weatherstripping, added insulation, multi-pane windows with appropriate heat-reflecting (heavy A/C use areas) or heat-retaining (cold climate areas) films, making sure vents (bsathroom, kitchen, etc) have appropriate draft preventing flappers, etc can save you, in a great percentage of the cases, much more per dollar than a solar power system.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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