SunMaxx Solar Heating System Performance

As noted in a previous post, the solar heating system has undergone some revisions. As a result of the upgrades a morning of performance measurements were collected from the SunMaxx solar heating system used to heat the pool.  Sunrise was at 7:10 AM (January 31, 2012) but the sun did not crest the mountains until about 8:00AM.  Even then the sky was overcast with high cirrus and small cumulus clouds and it was not until about 8:45 that enough sunlight penetrated the cloud cover to start the heating cycle in the solar panels.  The amount of overcast is shown below in a photograph recorded at 11:30 AM (time of reading) to visually demonstrate the amount of cloud cover. The collector temperature, pump speed (in percent of the maximum 1.5 gpm), and the temperature in and out of the heat exchanger were recorded at one minute intervals throughout the morning.  The sun would creep behind the clouds then reappear causing the pump to cycle up and down in response the the temperature fluctuations measured at the solar panels. The cycling of the pump appears to minimize coolant temperature fluctuations reaching the heat exchanger resulting from fluctuations in sunlight by slowing the flow rate when less sunlight is available for heating, note the "oc" and "s" on the graph and compare with heat exchanger temperatures.  A maximum of 127 degree coolant was produced by the panels during the measurement period, while 114 degree coolant was reaching the heat exchanger, with a maximum of 20 degrees differential across the heat exchanger.  The solar panels work well and combined with well insulated stainless steel lines which minimize heat loss across the run between the solar panels and pool house high temperatures at the heat exchanger are reached .  It is also pleasing to note that even on an overcast January morning the panels easily produce heat which can be used in the pool.

Solar collector performance
Cloud cover at 11:30 AM, panels producing 120 degree coolant and 109 degrees
at the heat exchanger.

Solar panels used to heat the pool at the Painted Pony Resort


  1. Oh my. My Buffalo NY childhood memories must have come to the fore........the photo of clouds to me looked like SNOW. Brrrrrr.

  2. Sorry, just a rare cloudy morning in the San Simon Valley, nothing to worry about.

  3. You have done a amazing job with this project.

  4. Thank you. Lots of hard work with little knowledge goes a long way.