Frequently Asked Questions about Solar Water Pumps

1. How does the electric company bill you?
Answer: They bill you monthly for each kilowatt hour (kWh) used.

2. What is a KW?
Answer: This is a metric term “kilowatt” or 1000 Watts of load or power of electricity.

3. How can we measure KW’s?
Answer: Voltage multiplied by the current or amps of electricity. This is the physical law of electricity called “Ohm’s Law”.

4. How much does a kWh cost?
Answer: It varies from area and house to house. The average is 0.11 to 0.15 cents per kWh in the US, over .25 cents per kWh in the Caribbean depending on which island and to over a $1.00 per kWh other areas. Also, electric costs increase on a yearly average of 8%. When viewing your electric bill, take the total cost of your bill and divide by that month’s kWh consumption, this will provide your actual cost per kWh

5. How many kWh a month does my pool pump use?
Answer: You can use Ohm’s Law to calculate this.

6. How to Size your Solar Pool System:
Proper filtration of the pool requires the water to pass thru the filter at least once per day; this is also referred to as “turning the water over”. Solar Pump offers three solar powered pool pump systems, thereby allowing us to filter from the smallest of pools up to 36,000 gallons with a single system. Pump systems can be plumbed together to filter even larger pools.

Solar Pump Systems are not sized by horsepower, rather volume of water to filter. One of the many great aspects of the system is that all systems utilize the same pump, motor and controller assembly. The more energy delivered to the controller the higher the revolutions and the greater the flow rate. The system is based on the amount of Watts delivered to the motor controller. However, depending on the quality of the solar panels, the total Watts being delivered to the system will vary, so careful solar module selection is crucial.

7.  How many solar panels can you use on a Lorentz Solar Pool Pump?

 Model PS600, Minimum Solar Panels Required – 2 Panels

(2) –  190 Watt Panels to pump about 11,000  gallons per day

(3) – 190 Watt Panels to pump about 16,000 gallons per day

(4) –  190 Watt Panels to pump about 20,000 gallons per day

 

Model PS 1800, Minimum Solar Panels Required – 4 Panels

(4) –  190 Watt Panels  to pump about 22,000 gallons per day

(6) –  190 Watt Panels to pump about 36,000 gallons per day

(8) – 190 Watt Panels to pump about 48,000 gallons per day

 

All Pool US Gallons is a average of a 6.5 hour  full sunlight day gallons my vary based on sunlight day.


Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency – US and US Territories
http://www.dsireusa.org/


 

How Much Electricity is Your 230volt Pool Pump Using?

A basic electrical calculation using “Ohm’s Law” requires obtaining the voltage and amperage of a device. Ohm’s law states that if you know the volts and amps of a device, you can then calculate the Watts. Located on the pool motor is the rating plate. Note that there will be two units of information required: 1) the voltage and 2) the amperage.
Often times the motor will state two voltages and likewise two amperages. In regards to the calculation sheet prepared for the Homeowner, this will have no effect on the outcome of the calculation. However, the voltage will typically be stated as 115/230 and the amps will likewise state two amperages. The amperages can be 18.6/9.3. When the motor is wired for 115 volts the higher or first number is used, and when wired for 230 volts, the lower amperage will be used. Most pool systems are wired to run on 230 volts. Below is an example of a 1.5 horsepower motor specification and the calculation to show how to determine the kilowatt-hour consumption.

How to measure your return on investment:

 

Calculate your monthly savings:
Pool pump motor volts x motor amps =watts
Divide by 1000 = (KWH)
Multiply this by hours a day (run time)
Multiply by number of days in billing cycle.
= Number of KWH saved per month
Multiply by cost of KWH = monthly savings
Example for a 1.5HP A/C pump
230 volts x 9.4 = 2162 watts
2162 / 1000 = 2.162 KWH
2.162 x 8 hours =17.296
17.296 x 30 days = 518.88 KWH/month
518.88 x .25 cents per KWH = $129.72
$129.72 X 12 months = $1556.64
$1556.64 per year savings at .25 per kwh – this could be higher if the cost per kwh was higher!!!

Savings & Return on Investment

Energy Cost
$0.15 k/Wh
$0.20 k/Wh
$0.30 k/Wh
Run Time
6-8 Hours
6-8 Hours
6-8 Hours
Annual Energy Savings
$702-$936
$936-$1,248
$1,404-$1,872
Return on Investment
36 Months
24 Months
18 Months

These costs are based on an average pool filtration system, please see our website for more precise savings information. Figures also include the federal solar tax credit, the pool owner will need to consult their tax professional to see if they qualify.



Electrical Consumption
– how to calculate what your cost of your pool pump per kWh actually can be.

_________ X _______ = _______Watts
(Volts)……….X.. (Amps)
_________ / 1000 = __________kW
(Watts)
_________ X ___________ = __________kWh/Day
(kW)…………X…… (Hrs/Day)
_________ X 30.4 days = _________ kWh/Month
(kWh/day)
____________ X $0.13 = $_________ Monthly Cost
(Monthly kWh)
$____________ X 12 = $_________ Annual Cost
(Monthly Cost)


R.O.I and Payback

$_________________ / $______________________ = ________________%
(Annual Savings)…………../(Estimated Price of System) ……..=(Annual R.O.I.)
$______________________ / $____________ = _______________ Years
(Estimated Price of System)…../(Annual Savings)..= (Simple Payback)


Pollution

________________ X 1.9lbs = _________________ X 12 months= _______________
(Monthly kWh)……………X……….. (Lbs. per month)…………………………= (Lbs. per year)


THE ENVIRONMENTAL COST OF USING ELECTRICITY
The Electric Bill Project:An Elementary School Introduction to Energy

http://www.sci-ed-ga.org/modules/k6/elec/elec.html#envir

Emergency Power Systems with Photovoltaics
http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/publications/pdf/FSEC-CR-1144-99.pdf

Union of Concerned Scientists
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/coalvswind/c02c.html
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/coalvswind/c01.html

Clean Air Network
http://www.greenlink.org/assess/pdfs/cleanairnetwork.pdf


Added Value of Property

$_______________ X 20 years = $____________________________
(Annual Savings)……..X……………………(Added Real Estate Value)

Adding Value to Your Property

The convergence of the fuel expenditure coefficients around -20 is consistent with research findings that the selling price of homes increased by $20.73 for every $1 decrease in annual fuel bills.2 Other research supports the underlying conclusion that energy efficiency increases home value by an amount that reflects annual fuel savings discounted at the prevailing after-tax mortgage interest rate.

The implication for home buyers is that they can profit by investing in energy-efficient homes even if they do not know how long they might stay in their homes. If their reduction in monthly fuel bills exceeds the after-tax mortgage interest paid to finance energy efficiency investments, then they will enjoy positive cash flow for as long as they live in their homes and can also expect to recover their investment in energy efficiency when they sell their homes

The implication for appraisers is that cost-effective energy efficiency investments do appear to be reflected in residential housing market values. Therefore, the appraised value of energy-efficient homes could understate their actual resale value if the comparables used in the appraisal do not reflect the value of a cost-effective energy efficiency investment.


Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit 

Residential Renewable Federal Energy Tax Credit  (Expires December 31, 2016)

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency

http://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver

RESIDENTIAL CREDIT FOR ALTERNATIVE ENERGY (Expires December 31, 2016)
Nonrefundable energy tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of qualified residential alternative energy equipment, such as solar hot water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, and wind turbines
http://energy.gov/savings/residential-renewable-energy-tax-credit


 FP&L Residential PV Rebate

FPL has opened its application period for our solar rebates program. Residential and Business PV reservations have been issued, but Solar Water Heating remains.
As part of a five-year pilot program authorized by the Florida Public Service Commission, this rebate is available to all existing FPL residential customers in existing dwellings. The rebates are not available for new construction or PV systems that are already installed. Applicants must be current account holders of the premise where the solar photovoltaic system is being installed.

https://www.fpl.com/save/programs/solar-rebates/residential-pv.html

For more information on the Residential Photovoltaic Program, email SolarPVSupport@fpl.com or call 1-800-DIAL-FPL.


The average conventional 230volt A/C Pool Pump:

  • uses an estimated 500-650 kWh per month or 6,000 – 7,800 kWh per year.
  • costs about $650-$1000 a year in electricity.
  • should be replaced every 4 years.
  • produces an estimated 11,500 – 15,000 pounds of pollutants every year.

The Solar Pool Pump Motor has:

  • A motor life expectancy of 8-10 years
  • Costs nothing per year in electricity.
  • Very Quiet
  • Produces zero pounds of pollutants

According to the 2006 property appraisal statistics, in Florida alone, there were over 1.1 million pools. That equates to billions of gallons of water to filter. The home utilizes the conventional alternating current (A/C) motor to filter the water. The conventional motor is inefficient, has a short life span, adds to the noise and air pollution and is costly to operate. With rising energy costs it is becoming ever more expensive to filter the pool water.

The average Homeowner with a pool typically uses over 500-600 kWh a month just to filter their pool. With the cost of electricity in Florida averaging $0.13 per kWh and an average 8% increase per year in energy costs, the savings for the Homeowner who has the Solar Pump product gets better every year.

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) rates the pool pump as the second largest consumer of electricity in the home next to the air conditioner. This equates to about 20 percent of the average homeowner’s electric bill.

On the GREEN side, with each kWh produced by coal-burning power plants, the customer is saving the planet 1.9 pounds of pollutants from entering the atmosphere. This means the average installation prevents over 11,000 pounds of pollutants from entering our atmosphere each year.

Proper filtration of the pool requires the water to pass thru the filter at least once per day; this is also referred to as “turning the water over”.


Filtration Type and Limitations

Cartridge type filters are preferred with the solar powered pool pumps.

The following is noteworthy regarding DE filters:

  • DE is NOT environmentally friendly.
  • DE filters create the largest amount of back pressure on a system.
  • DE requires back washing and there is a general trend to not allow the water to be back-flushed into the yard or local waterways.
  • DE system requires the expensive rotary port valves that are prone to malfunction.
  • No longer a need to purchase DE product.
  • In general, replacing the DE filter with a cartridge type filter does not add much to the cost of the system and often times aids on the installation configuration.

System Characteristic and Benefits of a Solar Pool Pump

Solar Panels

  • 25 year warranty with a much longer life expectancy
  • Durable design
  • Light weight
  • Compliant with local wind-load requirements
  • Code compliant
  • Can be mounted remotely

Motor/Pump Assembly

  • Direct Current (D/C) and brushless
  • Operates at a temperature slightly above ambient ensuring long life expectancy
  • Installed with threaded couplings on intake and exhaust for ease of service
  • Quiet operation
  • High quality ceramic seals
  • Motor/pump shaft has no contact with pool water
  • Total electric separation

Solar Pump System

  • The Solar Pump Pool System cost savings for the homeowner equals that of a 3.75 kw system, which would cost the homeowner over $12,000. the average Solar Pump system is approximately one quarter the cost of a 3.75 kw system. solar energy is affordable.
  • $0 cost monthly, annually and for the rest of the average Homeowner’s life, to filter the pool water
  • Saves the Homeowner on average $700 to $1000 annually
  • The system pays for itself in a relatively short period of time
  • As electrical costs go up, the system becomes more valuable
  • The system is one of the best investments available earning the homeowner a rate of return of 12 to 14 percent on average. This is guaranteed each year, every year, and as electrical costs increase, the investment becomes even better.
  • Solar systems are considered the BEST HOME IMPROVEMENT by Wells Fargo
  • Saves the environment by reducing the emissions of power plants by over 11,000 pounds each year, every year.
  • Reduces the Homeowner’s carbon footprint
  • All UL listed components and code compliant
  • Non-battery operation (No battery maintenance)
  • Very low maintenance system
  • Designed to filter water between 9 am and 3 pm, but operates from sun up to sunset resulting in healthier water and the pool typically requires less chemicals which is also better on the finish of the pool and pool equipment’
  • Because of the universal motor/pump/controller assemblies, we refer to the system as “plug and play”
  • May beuse with most bodies of water
  • Works well with solar-thermal, gas and electric pool heaters
  • Works well with all types of pool water treatment systems
  • Sales Tax Exempt
  • May be eligible for a 30% Federal Tax Credit

Placement of the Solar Array

The solar array is best positioned facing south but, in general, can be placed anywhere except facing north. (Special mounting may facilitate mounting with a northern exposure.) Note the foliage on the customer’s property and the neighbor’s property. Also, make sure that there will be no shadows blocking the solar array during peak run times. Determining the location of the solar panels will then determine the length of electrical wire and thusly, the appropriate size of the electrical wire and the effect on the installation cost.

Caution: The mounting structure and system must be engineered for wind load and safety. Should you have questions as to the code restrictions, consult your local building code authority.

Fixed Mount
A fixed mount is when the array is mounted on structure or roof permanently. It is recommended that the array receives approximately 6 peak sun hours a day for proper water turn over. Shading of the array or poor orientation of the array may require the use of an additional panel. In no case should the input voltage exceed the system specifications.

Orientation of the solar array
Proper filtration of the pool requires filtering of the entire volume of the pool water at least once per day.  This is also referred to as “turning the water over” at least once per day. The Solar Pump Pool Pump System design is based on an approximate 6 hour direct sun exposure.

Solar Pool Pump Maintenance

Solar Array

Solar array mounting bolts tend to loosen as the array structure flexes in high winds. Check the tightness. All bolts should have lock washers to keep them tight. Cut away any vegetation that will grow enough to block solar illumination. Shading even a small comer of the solar array may stop the pump, or greatly reduce its flow. If there is dirt, mineral deposits, bird droppings or other debris stuck to the solar array surface, clean it with water, vinegar or glass cleaner. If a solar tracking system is used, refer to tracker manufacturer’s instructions.

Controller Assembly
The Controller Assembly is electronic with few moving or wearing parts. It requires no maintenance. There are rubber gasket seals at the top and bottom, and rubber plugs to seal unused conduit holes. Inspect them to insure that the controller is sealed from moisture, insects, etc. Check that mounting and conduit hardware is tight.
Motor
The motor is permanently sealed and has no brushes or other frequently wearing parts.

Pump end
Your Solar Pump Pool System is virtually maintenance free. The seal (s) at the strainer basket lid (s) and at the unions, if installed, have “O” ring seals. Routinely lubricate the“O” rings with a silicone based lubricant formulated for “O” rings. The pump mechanism (pump end) is lubricated only by water and requires no maintenance. It may wear after some years, especially if there are abrasive solids in the water. If sand or abrasives from the finish of your pool accumulate in the storage tank or pipes as a result of normal pumping, it is best to take periodic measurement of the pump’s performance. A worn pump end can be replaced in the field.

Electrical Wiring
Inspect wires and connections carefully. Any wires that are hanging loose should be secured to prevent them from swinging in the wind. Exposed wiring must be sunlight resistant and in good condition. In the case of a tracking array, look carefully for any wire damage due to rubbing, bending, or pulling as the tracker swings.

Inspect the grounding system carefully. All connections must be tight and free of corrosion. Poor grounding can lead to damage from lightning-induced surges.


About Solar Panels

Solar energy begins with the sun. Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic panels, are used to convert light from the sun, which is composed of particles of energy called “photons”, into electricity that can be used to power electrical loads. Light from the sun is a renewable energy resource which provides clean energy, produced by solar panels. Solar panels can be used for a wide variety of applications including remote power systems for cabins, telecommunications equipment, remote sensing, and of course for the production of electricity by residential and commercial solar panel systems.

The development of solar energy goes back more than 100 years. In the early days, solar power was used primarily for the production of steam which could be used to drive machinery. But it wasn’t until the discovery of the “photovoltaic effect” by Henri Becquerel that would allow the conversion of sunlight solar electric energy. Becquerel’s discovery then led to the invention in 1893 by Charles Fritts of the first genuine solar cell which was formed by coating sheets of selenium with a thin layer of gold. And from this humble beginning would arise the device we know today as the solar panel.

Russel Ohl, an American inventor on the payroll of Bell Laboratories, patented the world’s first silicon solar cell in 1941. Ohl’s invention led to the production of the first solar panel in 1954 by the same company. The new-fangled solar panels found their first mainstream use in space satellites. For most people, the first solar panel in their life was probably embedded in their new calculator – circa the 1970s! Today, solar panels and complete solar panel systems are used to power a wide variety of applications. Yes, solar panels in the form of solar cells are still being used in calculators. However, they are also being used to provide solar power to entire homes and commercial buildings, such as Google’s headquarters in California.

Solar panels collect clean renewable energy in the form of sunlight and convert that light into electricity which can then be used to provide power for electrical loads. Solar panels are comprised of several individual solar cells which are themselves composed of layers of silicon, phosphorous (which provides the negative charge), and boron (which provides the positive charge). Solar panels absorb the photons and in doing so initiate an electric current. The resulting energy generated from photons striking the surface of the solar panel allows electrons to be knocked out of their atomic orbits and released into the electric field generated by the solar cells which then pull these free electrons into a directional current. This entire process is known as the Photovoltaic Effect.

An average home has more than enough roof area for the necessary number of solar panels to produce enough solar electricity to supply all of its power needs. Assisted by an inverter, a device that converts the direct current (or DC current), generated by a solar panel into alternating current (or AC current), solar panel arrays can be sized to meet the most demanding electrical load requirements. The AC current can be used to power loads in your home or commercial building, your recreational vehicle or your boat (RV/Marine Solar Panels), your remote cabin or home, and remote traffic controls, telecommunications equipment, oil and gas flow monitoring, RTU, SCADA, and much more.

The Benefits of Solar Panels

Using solar panels is a very practical way to produce electricity for many applications. The obvious would have to be off-grid living. Living off-grid means living in a location that is not serviced by the main electric utility grid. Remote homes and cabins benefit nicely from solar power systems. No longer is it necessary to pay huge fees for the installation of electric utility poles and cabling from the nearest main grid access point. A solar electric system is potentially less expensive and can provide power for upwards of three decades if properly maintained.

Besides the fact that solar panels make it possible to live off-grid, perhaps the greatest benefit that you would enjoy from the use of solar power is that it is both a clean and a renewable source of energy. With the advent of global climate change, it has become more important that we do whatever we can to reduce the pressure on our atmosphere from the emission of greenhouse gases. Solar panels have no moving parts and require little maintenance. They are ruggedly built and last for decades when properly maintained.
Last, but not least, of the benefits of solar panels and solar power is that, once a system has paid for its initial installation costs, the electricity it produces for the remainder of the system’s life span, which could be as much as 15-20 years depending on the quality of the system, is absolutely free! For grid-tie solar power system owners, the benefits begin from the moment the system comes online, potentially eliminating monthly electric bills or, and this is the best part, actually earning the system’s owner additional income from the electric company. How? If you use less power than your solar electric system produces, that excess power can be sold, sometimes at a premium, to your electric utility company!


Florida Solar Rights Law

F lorida law forbids ordinances, deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements from prohibiting solar equipment use. Under this law, a homeowner may not be denied permission to install a solar collector, clothesline, or other energy device based on renewable resources by “any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property…”

While a homeowner cannot be prevented from installing a solar energy system, certain restrictions may be imposed without violating the law. However, those restrictions must be reasonable, not arbitrary, and uniformly imposed on homeowners in the subdivision. The restrictions cannot act to impair the performance of a solar system or it may be seen as “effectively” prohibiting solar.

The law specifically prohibits a community association from preventing the installation of solar collectors on the roof. The association may determine where on the roof the collectors may be installed, so long as the installation is within the area required for its effective operation, that is, south, or east or west of due south. The association is, thereby, limited in imposing requirements which would effectively restrict the system’s operating efficiency or increase the installation cost. As such, requirements for screening the system from view, whether by trees or fences, ground-mounting, or limiting visibility from the street, are contrary to the spirit and letter of the law if the result impairs the efficiency of the system.


CHAPTER 163
INTERGOVERNMENTAL PROGRAMS
Florida Statutes

163.04  Energy devices based on renewable resources

(1)  Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter or other provision of general or special law, the adoption of an ordinance by a governing body, as those terms are defined in this chapter, which prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources is expressly prohibited.

(2)  A deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement may not prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or binding agreement. A property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors or other energy devices by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, declaration, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings and within the boundaries of a condominium unit. Such entity may determine the specific location where solar collectors may be installed on the roof within an orientation to the south or within 45° east or west of due south if such determination does not impair the effective operation of the solar collectors.

(3)  In any litigation arising under the provisions of this section, the prevailing party shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

(4)  The legislative intent in enacting these provisions is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by encouraging the development and use of renewable resources in order to conserve and protect the value of land, buildings, and resources by preventing the adoption of measures which will have the ultimate effect, however unintended, of driving the costs of owning and operating commercial or residential property beyond the capacity of private owners to maintain. This section shall not apply to patio railings in condominiums, cooperatives, or apartments.

History.–s. 8, ch. 80-163; s. 1, ch. 92-89; s. 14, ch. 93-249; s. 1, ch. 2008-191; s. 3, ch. 2008-227.


Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption
——————————————————————————–
Last DSIRE Review: 11/14/2008

Incentive Type: Property Tax Exemption

State: Florida

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Water Heat, Photovoltaics, Wind, Geothermal Heat Pumps, Direct-Use Geothermal

Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential

Amount: 100% exemption

Terms: Renewable energy device must be installed on or after 1/1/2009

Authority 1: Fla. Stat. § 196.175

Authority 2: HB 7135

Date Enacted: 6/25/2008

Date Effective: 7/1/2008
——————————————————————————–
Summary:

Note: On November 4, 2008, Florida voters approved Amendment 3, which removes the 10-year duration of the exemption, although this applies only to residential property. The amendment also strikes the previous section in the state constitution that established the original guidance upon which the June 2008 law described below is based, thereby creating a possible contradiction that will need to be addressed.

In June 2008, Florida enacted legislation that revived a renewable energy property tax exemption that had previously expired in 1990. Under Florida law, improved real property upon which a renewable energy source device* is installed and operated is entitled to an exemption in the amount of the original cost of the device, including the installation cost. The exemption does not include the cost of replacing, removing or improving existing property in the course of the installation.

Renewable energy devices must be installed on or after January 1, 2009, to qualify for the exemption, and the exemption will not be authorized for more than 10 years. If the renewable energy device was operative for less than a full calendar year preceding the taxpayer’s exemption application, the exempt amount will be reduced proportionally.

* The legislation states that a “renewable energy source device means any of the following equipment which, when installed in connection with a dwelling unit or other structure, collects, transmits, stores, or uses solar energy, wind energy, or energy derived from geothermal deposits: solar energy collectors; storage tanks and other storage systems, excluding swimming pools used as storage tanks; rockbeds; thermostats and other control devices; heat exchange devices; pumps and fans; roof ponds; freestanding thermal containers; pipes, ducts, refrigerant handling systems, and other equipment used to interconnect such systems (however, conventional backup systems of any type are not included in this definition); windmills; wind-driven generators; power conditioning and storage devices that use wind energy to generate electricity or mechanical forms of energy; pipes and other equipment used to transmit hot geothermal water to a dwelling or structure from a geothermal deposit.”


Take Your Pool Pump Off The Grid – With Solar Power!

Contact Florida Solar Pump today

We’ll answer your questions and introduce your pool pump to the power of the sun.
Covering Florida, Miami, Broward, Palm Beach, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, & across the Caribbean Central America
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