Solar Test Rig

The Story…
One day Simon (42 year solar veteran and Sunbather founding Director) was bored & decided to conduct a test… He thought that with the wildly varying performance claims out there in the market place, there was a simple way to prove or disprove which solar worked best. 30 days & $30k later, Simon used some common sense and built the only solar test rig in Australia that could be understood by any pool owner.
The Test…
Take 2.25 sqm of the more popular styles of solar systems in Australia, mount them side by side, same roof, same pool water, pass the same flow through them, at the same time, at the same inlet temperature, on the same day, and see which one produced the hottest water. After all, is there a more relevant test for a pool?
Capture Test Rig Final
The Results…*
Unglazed Strip Collector that lays flat on the roof heats best by up to 20%. Although the performance claims largely vary, when heating pool water, performance differences are actually not that great. Not surprisingly, Unglazed solar performs better than rigid panels and glazed solar systems, which suffer from wind and reflection losses. Having conducted similar tests in the 1980’s with the CSIRO, Simon wasn’t surprised at all.
Temp Rise
Conclusion…
In the pursuit of one-upmanship, solar performance claims have become wildly inaccurate and unsubstantiated, confusing customers along the way. One thing will always remain true, (because science doesn’t lie) that solar needs a maximum unglazed surface area to heat a pool, not a marketing campaign. To maximise your solar pool investment make sure you install a minimum of 100% solar collector of any type.
It just goes to show that some stories never get old.
* Test Results are averages and may vary depending on weather conditions. Results based on 2.25sqm over 5 separate test days in Melbourne, 1pm—3:30pm, Avg air temperature = 21 degrees, Avg Wind = 4.4km/h, Avg flowrates = 0.04L/sec/sqm (per AS.3634).