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Ken Wright, President of Hot Sun Industries was born in Vancouver. So was the Powermat solar collector. From 1976 to 1986 First Solar Corporation made the Powermat solar collector on Marine Drive at the foot of Kerr. Ken Wright got involved in 1986 and in 1990 bought the entire operation out, moved the factory to Lake City in Burnaby and worked on ways to secure these solar collectors to roofs without wrecking the roofs. Sounds like it should be a given but most solar manufacturers are located in the sunbelt where rain is seldom seen. Liability for roof damage is carried by the installers not the factories but Ken was the factory and the installer and he had all winter to think and stew and create new improvements for the season ahead.
After 10 years of working at this Ken moved to San Diego and became instantly successful. The internet came to life at the same time as he moved to the US giving instant access to the huge US market. When Ken moved south he moved the factory to the Mexican distributor, IMPREMA SA de CV in Mexico City and he turned over his local phone number and business to Argosy Pools Ltd If you're one of the old customers with one of the 866 solar heaters Ken put in over the 13 years he was based here, Argosy Pools can look after you.
Powermats are a proven product in this market. Powermats are made for this climate. You need the flexibe vinyl construction because vinyl is a better low temperature plastic than polypropylene. But 20 years into the business Powermats hadn't achieved a significant wholesale market share. It had some fundamental deficiencies. Powerstrip was a complete rebirth of the product line based on what was needed in the marketplace. Powerstrip used what was right about Powermat and eliminated what was wrong with competing systems and today Powerstrip is gaining market share rapidly.
What Can You Expect From a Solar Pool Heater in Vancouver, BC?
The curves above represent a full sized solar heater for a typical 16x32 pool with 25% shading in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We've plotted the daily maximum pool temperatures. Note we size systems higher if you won't use a cover. We could go even higher. As you can see a cover helps a lot but solar without a cover bumps the pool temperature about twice as much as a cover alone. A pool with a full sized solar heater and cover will peak out daily 20 degrees higher than an unheated pool. Solar bumps the daily peak temperature of a covered pool 10-20 degrees. Solar bumps the daily peak temperature of an uncovered pool about 14 degrees. This is a great set of curves. We have confidence in this data. There is nothing like this anywhere else. Note that we wouldn't let the pool get so warm thru the summer. We have control of the high temperature either by turning solar off, reducing pump run time, setting the auto controller to a maximum and we can even run the solar at night to bring the pool temperature down if we want. We're showing what would happen if we didn't limit the pool temp because the data is meaningful.
All these curves are based on a typical meteorological year which is hour by hour values of air temp, solar radiation, wind levels and humidity based on 10 years of real weather data but the "tmy" isn't average weather data. It is typical weather generated using a complex algorithm and perhaps manually to some extent. This is the kind of graphical output we've been telling the Enerpool folks we wanted for years but Enerpool and all the other solar software out there only tell you the payback period. We don't care about payback period (much). We know solar pool heating's economic numbers are good and payback period is no longer than 3 years (maybe 4 in Vancouver). What we're interested in is the daily peak pool temperature (because the average doesn't mean anything to us) over what extended season. These plots show you don't need a gas heater if you can use a solar heater and a cover. It would be very costly to keep a pool above 80 with a gas heater in the months solar can't do the job here. Note that the use of a cover will allow a few extra weeks of pool use in the fall but not much extra in the spring. Solar can make up for the need to use a cover. That's the ultimate heating solution. Free heat and no cover hassle but remember in order to achieve that we'd need to upsize the solar heater.
The above curves represent a typical 16x32 inground pool with a little shade (25%) heated or not with an aged solar cover and an 8) 4x12 solar collector system (75% of pool surface). We assumed the cover would always be on the pool 20 hours a day and for 4 hours the cover would come off (for the 2 plots with covers) and moderate pool activity would occur. We created these charts using Enerpool solar simulation software. We do not have confidence in any other computer program like this. Click here to learn about this software and its history. You can even download the software yourself and put it to use if you're an engineer type. In the case of this chart only we fidged the numbers a little because we've done a thousand solar pool heaters in this area and our own knowledge and experience was used when we got results that fell short of what we saw in the field. We can't guarantee any of these results but we can back them up with our integrity and reputation. If you find your pool isn't performing close to these charts please let us know. It could indicate a plumbing flaw or other problem.
Hot Sun has a new Canadian web site for our Canadian company, Hot Sun Industries Ltd