Sometimes we are presented with challenge when a client does not know if they want solar pool heating or solar photovoltaic (electric) panels, or if they want both. Often we have to make judgment calls about which roofs to use for each technology. Sometimes there simply isn’t enough roof space to accommodate the solar panels a homeowner wants.
We were recently given the opportunity to design and quote solar panels for a Cape Coral, FL homeowner who wanted both solar pool heating and solar electricity. In this case the only suitable roof that could accommodate enough solar pool heating collector area was the east roof. However, that roof also represented the best opportunity for a large solar electric system. In Cape Coral, the east roof is slightly more productive than the west roof for solar electricity, making it prime real estate for electricity generation, but in this case it was the only reasonably viable location for solar pool heating.
In order to accommodate both types of solar panels on this home, the solar pool heat will definitely need to go on the east roof, reducing the total number of photovoltaic modules possible from 43 to 23. A 23 panel system would still be sizable at 6.44 kilowatt rating, but it would not likely meet 100% of the energy needs of the home. Nonetheless, reducing the homeowner’s electric bill substantially while providing the improved quality of life afforded with a solar pool heater is a good tradeoff.
There are other places where we can tuck more photovoltaic modules, like on the corners on either side of the solar pool heater, and high up on the south roof. In fact, even the entryway east and west roofs could be used. However, when considering aesthetics, this layout provides a nice looking system with good symmetry. If maximum solar production is desired without regard to looks (function over form), we could certainly increase the photovoltaic panel count to about 33. For initial presentation purposes, this is the design with which we decided to go.