When most people think about solar panels they picture them on top of a roof. They are likely to get the most direct sunlight up there, so that’s where they go, right? The short answer is “it depends”, but the important thing to note is that it isn’t “Yes.” This is especially true with solar panels for swimming pool heating systems.
The reality is that most solar panel systems for above ground pools are mounted down near the pool. This ground-level position actually has several advantages. First, the panels are exposed to significantly less wind. This inhibits the potential cooling effect a strong wind can have on the circulating pool water. Second, ground-level mounting eases the burden of maintenance and possible repairs. You can keep them dirt and debris free—and thus operating at maximum capacity—and easily inspect and make any repairs as necessary. Many swimming pool owners appreciate this “no ladder required” configuration.
Wherever your solar heating panels are mounted, the key to their efficacy is their exposure to the sun. This comes down to orientation, pitch, and location. The faces of the solar panels must face the proper direction, must be tilted at the appropriate angle to maximize heating, and have few to no obstructions from the sun throughout the daylight hours. In combination with considering the direction of the prevailing winds in your area, consideration of these factors should help determine where you install your solar panels.