The town of Eagle-Vail, Colorado recently opened a community pool heated with 54 solar panels installed by Capitol Solar Energy and manufactured by UMA Solar. Seventeen year-round glazed and insulated flat-plate solar thermal panels heat the pool during winter to prevent freezing; 37 un-glazed, un-insulated panels increase heating power throughout the rest of the year when the pool is in use.
The 17 flat plate collectotrs are set as a closed loop, drain-back system. Glycol, a non-toxic antifreeze solution, is pumped through the solar collector, heating up and indirectly warming the water. The 37 un-glazed panels heat the water directly as it is pumped through the collector.
The solar panels are estimated to account for 60 percent of the electricity needed to otherwise heat the pool. Laurent Meillon, Capitol Solar Energy Designer for the project, says expected lifetime savings are between $69,000 and $185,000.