Causeway Club - Southwest Harbor, Maine
The Causeway Club reports fossil-fuels savings of $8,000 in the first year of solar hot water pool heating.

Against the backdrop of gorgeous Acadia National Park is the historic The Causeway Club, which since 1920 has provided a low-key way to relax and recreate. One of its most popular attractions is its saltwater pool, which originally was unheated.

The first upgrade was in 1964, when the brisk Atlantic waters were heated with LP gas, which was further improved in 2008 when ReVision Energy installed a solar hot water system.

“I doubt any of your installations have produced as great a percentage savings,” says Larry Hudgens, General Manager, who reports that in the first year of service the system saved 80% of the prior year’s propane expenditure. The estimated value of that fuel is roughly $8,000. Two years later, Larry reports that the “solar pool heating system is operating as designed with a minimum of commissioning this spring.”

Harvest the Sunshine for Your Pool

Outdoor pool heating is an excellent application for solar hot water, and one that is common in sunny climates like Florida and California. Yet, Maine has ample sunshine to harvest for a pool, extending the duration of swimming season and dramatically reducing the cost of fossil-fuel based water heaters.

Pool heating can take advantage of the very simplest type of solar hot water collector, flat plate plastic collectors made by manufacturers like Heliocol. These collectors use an existing pool pump to direct pool water through a series of valves to the solar collectors. Pool water enters the solar collectors at the bottom and rises to the top through the individual tubes of the collectors, heated by sun the entire time. This warmed water is directed back to the pool, and the cycle continues until the pool is warmed.

More advanced systems can use regular flat plate solar hot water system to provide both domestic hot water and pool heating, which is a helpful dual purpose system (though they are ineligible for federal and state rebates).

Low Profile, High Performance

In addition to being an efficient way to heat a pool, the collectors are low-profile. So much so, that Larry tells us, “It is one of the more innocuous installations I have ever seen. We have a summer full of poolside members and I bet none of them even notice the collectors.”

But they do notice the warm salt water!

More Photos from Our Commercial Solar Photo Gallery:

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For more installations, see our Solar Projects Map