Solar pool heaters lengthen your at-home swimming season by harnessing the power of the sun’s rays. They pay for themselves over time by reducing your pool’s energy costs, and they require less sunlight than you might think – as little as six hours per day. But, how much does a solar pool heater cost? You can expect to spend between $2,835 to $7,335, or a national average of $5,085, for solar pool heater installation.
There are several types of home solar pool panels and pump systems designed for different swimming pool sizes and climates. Your solar pool heater starts at your flow control valve and works by sending water through pipes up to your solar panel array. As the water passes through, your solar panels heat the water. The water then travels back down your outlet pipe, flowing directly into your pool.
In this pricing guide, we’ll cover:
- Average Costs
- Cost Estimator By Collector Size
- Cost Estimator By Panel Type
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Related Services
- Cost By Location
- FAQ About Solar Pool Heaters
Average Costs of Solar Pool Heaters
|National Average Cost||$5,085|
|Typical Price Range||$2,835 – $7,335|
|Extreme Low-End Cost||$1,500|
|Extreme High-End Cost||$16,000|
Most solar pool heater installations fall into the $2,835 to $7,335 range, but many factors can impact your overall costs. A solar pool pump installed on a small, 250-square-foot pool could cost as little as $1,500, while a large, high-end installation on an 800-square-foot pool can set you back as much as $16,000.
Solar Pool Heater Cost Estimator By Collector Size
Collector size, or the number of solar panels you need to warm your pool, is an important cost factor. Additional factors, like the size and type of your pool, your climate, and whether you use a pool cover, all affect the size of your collector.
Typically, solar panels used in pool heater installations are 4 feet wide by 10 feet long, and the most important factor to consider during installation is the location of your collector. Most contractors recommend installing your solar panels on a roof, fence, or built-up platform that receives six or more hours of sunlight per day.
On average, 4×10 feet panels cost between $300 to $800 each, not including labor, and cover 40 square feet of pool per panel. Experts recommend using the following information to help determine how many panels you need in your installation:
- Homeowners in the southern U.S. or those in other regions looking to use their swimming pools for three to four months should aim to offset 50% of their total pool area with their solar collector.
- All regions looking to use their pool for a four to six-month season should aim to offset by 75%.
- Homeowners living in the northern U.S. or those in the Southern U.S. looking for a year-round swimming season should offset their total pool area by 100%.
Here are some of the most common pool sizes, including area, collector size, and average cost.
|Pool Size||Pool Surface Area||Number of 4’X10’ Panels||Average Cost|
|18’ Round||254 sq. ft.||3 – 6||$900 – $4,800|
|30’ Round||706 sq. ft.||9 – 18||$2,700 – $14,400|
|15’ x 30’ Oval||450 sq. ft.||6 – 12||$1,800 – $9,600|
|16’ x 32’ Rectangle||512 sq. ft.||7 – 14||$2,100 – $11,200|
|18’ x 36’ Rectangle||648 sq. ft.||8 – 16||$2,400 – $12,800|
|20’ x 40’ Rectangle||800 sq. ft.||10 – 20||$3,000 – $16,000|
Solar Pool Heater Cost Estimator By Panel Type
Your location and the size of your pool determine how many solar panels you need in your collector array. One of the biggest factors affecting the price of your solar array is the type of panel. There are two main types of solar collectors used for pool heater installations: flat plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors.
Flat plate collectors are more common than evacuated tube collectors. However, evacuated tube collectors are more energy efficient and ideal for colder climates.
Polypropylene mats and unglazed solar panels are the most common flat plate types used in home solar pool heater systems. Flat plate glazed solar panels are more expensive and work best for colder regions with less direct sunlight. In most instances, polypropylene mats and unglazed solar panels are sufficient for the swimming season.
Here’s a look at the common solar panel types and their average costs:
Propylene mats are the least expensive collector option, with installations ranging from $750 to $3,000. These mats use flexible veins to transport heated water through your system into your pool. Polypropylene mats work best in hot climates like Florida.
Unglazed Solar Panels
Unglazed solar panels cost an average of $1,500 to $4,300, including installation. They feature rubber or plastic boxes filled with tubes that carry the heated water to your pool. Unglazed panels work well in both warm and more temperate climates. However, they are not the best choice for homeowners looking to for year-round swimming.
Glazed Solar Panels
Glazed solar pool heater systems work in any climate. Installation costs between $3,000 to $9,500. Glazed solar systems feature an aluminum plate with a glass covering and copper tubing for maximum efficiency and heat absorption.
Other Factors That Affect Cost
Sunny days and hot water sound like a dream vacation. Luckily, with a solar water heater, that dream can become an at-home reality. The size of the pool and the type of swimming pool heater affect your upfront costs. Let’s look at some other factors affecting your overall costs.
Your pool’s complete solar heating system warms water through your collector and distributes it with a heat pump. Soar pool heat pumps cost between $50 to $1,300, depending on capacity, measured in gallons per minute (GPM).
The size of your pool pump is determined by the size of your pool. Your pump should be able to cycle all the water in your pool in 8 to 10 hours.
Use the following formula to help determine pump size for your pool:
- Pool Capacity in Gallons / 8 hours = Gallons Per Hour Needed
- Gallons Per Hour / 60 = Gallons Per Minute
Match up the number of gallons per minute your pool requires with the proper pump size.
|Pump Size in Horsepower||Gallons Per Minute(GPM)||Average Cost |
|0.5 HP||40||$50 – $400|
|1 HP||60||$150 – $600|
|1.5 HP||68||$200 – $700|
|2 HP||76||$500 – $750|
|2.5 HP||80||$600 – $800|
|3 HP||85||$700 – $1,300|
Solar Pool Heater Cost Estimator by Brand
Several brands manufacture cost-effective solar pool heaters. As eco-friendly technology and solar energy use continue to rise in popularity, we can expect to see more brands develop their own solar pool heaters.
Here are the most popular solar electric pool heaters and their average costs. Note that these costs will vary depending on your location and the cost of installation. Some brands offer DIY installation kits. However, it is always best to have solar pool systems professionally installed to avoid voiding the warranty.
|Enersol||$1,000 – $3,600|
|Fafco||$300 – $1,175|
|Heliocol||$2,000 – $6,500|
|Northern Lights||$2,800 – $8.650|
|SmartPool||$575 – $1,700|
|SwimEasy||$1,150 – $4,100|
|SwimLux||$2,050 – $6,950|
Enersol offers DIY solar pool heater kits and professional installation services. The versatile systems cost between $1,000 to $3,600 and feature durable rubber panels that are salt and UV-resistant.
Fafco’s solar swimming pool heaters feature unglazed solar panels with twice as many tubes as its competitors for increased efficiency and reduced operating costs. The lightweight polymer offers UV-resistant durability. The solar pool heaters cost between $300 to $1,175 and require certified installation.
Heliocol’s low-maintenance pool heaters cost between $2,000 to $6,500 before installation. They are eco-friendly and come with a 12-year limited warranty, including freeze protection.
Northern Lights’ premium solar pool heaters feature a glazed panel system that works for in-ground and above-ground pools in all climates. Designed to work on cloudy and cold days with limited sun exposure, these systems cost between $2,800 to $8,650.
SmartPool offers DIY kits featuring inexpensive polypropylene mats designed for in-ground pools and sunny climates. The solar pool heating systems cost between $575 to $1,700.
SwimEasy offers DIY kits and professional installation that works with most existing heat pump pool heaters. They cost between $1,150 to $4,100 and feature polypropylene mats designed for warmer climates.
SwimLux offers professionally installed solar pool heating systems costing between $2,050 to $6,950 befor installation. The all-climate systems are freeze-resistant and feature a unique flow system to prevent clogs and pressure buildup.
Labor Cost to Install Solar Pool Heaters
The total cost of installation combines materials and labor, and materials make up most of the cost. Most installers charge per hour, with the average cost of solar pool heater installation falling between $45 to $120 per hour, for a total of $500 to $1,625 per project.
Additionally, solar pool heaters require plumbing connections. Your installer may work with a local plumber to complete this portion of the job. Typically, plumbers cost between $45 to $150 per hour.
Overall labor rates depend on your location, the experience of the installer or plumber, and the size of your system.
|Installer per hr.||$45 – $120|
|Plumber per hr.||$45 – $150|
Solar power heating options work for small or large pools, increasing pool temperature and extending the swimming season. Consider checking out these related products and services to get the most out of your solar pool heating system.
Solar Pool Covers
Pairing your solar pool heater with a solar pool cover when not in use is a great way to increase the efficiency of your system. Solar pool covers cost between $65 to $350, depending on the size of your pool. They help trap heat inside your pool and keep debris off the surface, reducing the time spent cleaning your pool.
Solar Panel Cleaning
Glazed solar panels feature aluminum, glass, and copper to increase efficiency. Like all solar pool heater systems, they are relatively low-maintenance. However, the glass surface of these systems benefits from bi-annual cleanings. Depending on the location of your solar panels, you can expect to spend between $13 to $25 per panel.
Cost of Solar Pool Covers By Location
Solar pool heater installation costs vary widely based on location and the cost of living. There is no way to know exactly what your solar installation will cost without receiving free quotes from professional installers in your area to compare.
Above-Ground vs. In-Ground Pools
There is a type of solar pool heater for every pool and climate, whether it is a new or existing pool. The biggest difference between in-ground and above-ground pools is their efficiency levels. In-ground pools are more efficient thanks to the soil and earth surrounding them. Above-ground pools of the same size require a larger heating system to make up for their lost energy.
FAQ About Solar Pool Heaters
Yes. Solar pool heater kits are available for home use. However, it is always a good idea to have your system professionally installed. Improper installation could void the manufacturer’s warranty and lead to leaks and improper filtration.
Solar pool heaters last between 20 to 25 years when properly maintained. Longevity depends on the brand, proper installation and maintenance, and providers offer their own warranties.
Be sure to check with your pool heater manufacturer to understand your warranty.
In warm climates with sunny weather, a solar heater can warm 5 to 7 degrees in as little as four hours. In colder regions, it can take 12 to 24 hours to warm the same size pool 5 to 7 degrees.
Solar-heated pools are typically 8 to 12 degrees warmer.
When to Hire a Solar Pool Heater Professional
Solar pool heaters increase the length of your swimming season while lowering your energy bills. You can expect to spend between $2,835 to $7,335, or a national average of $5,085, for solar pool heater installation. If you are ready to reduce your solar pool heating costs and your carbon footprint, Pool Gnome connects you to the best solar pool heater pros near you.
Note: PoolGnome may get a referral fee for matching you with contractors in your area.