Solar Pumps Frequently asked Questions and Facts

I have an existing AC pump. Can you use this to upgrade the system to a solar pump system?

Yes it is possible, but you will need to install a full off grid solar power system which is very costly. Plus you will need around three times as many solar panels. A traditional AC mains powered pump draws around 1500 watts. The SunSmart only draws 500 watts, which means just one third of the amount of solar panels, will be needed.

Why not install a PV off – grid system to power up my existing pump?

This does work but only to a certain degree. It cannot cover the costs properly. You would need a 4kw grid connect system and you will get close, but these are the main reasons it doesn’t quite do the job.

  • A typical pool pump consumes around 12kWh a day
  • A typical grid connects system produces say 4kWh per day for every kW of solar panels installed.
  • A typical grid connects systems exports around 25% of the power produced. Householders rarely consume all that is produced.
  • This means you need a 4kw system in order to produce on average 12kWh of usable solar power a day
  • Most of the solar power is produced between 10am and 2pm
  • Pool pumps run for 7 to 9 hours a day.
  • Before 10am and after 2pm the pump will consume more electricity than the solar system can produce
  • On heavy overcast days, the pump will consume more electricity than the solar power system can produce, all day
  • If you already have grid solar installed and you tamper with it, you risk losing the government feed in tariff. It is always a better solution to install a separate off grid pool pump.

Why not the competitors brand?

As being one of the first companies to introduce solar powered pool pumps into Australia in 2010, we have the expertise to ensure your initial installations go without a hitch and we will provide as much technical support as required.

Although there are some cheap and nasty brands finding their way into the country, the only product that compares to a SunSmart pump (pump and controller) has a retail price of $3145.00. We usually advise our clients they’ll be paying about $1000 more for the competitor’s brand.

Is it a good investment?

For solar pumps, the cost is mostly in the upfront investment since the equipment is solar powered and designed with high quality materials that are built for harsh environments your solar pump will rarely need repairs and operates maintenance free. (No need to change oil, change consumable parts, etc.). SunSmart Pool Pumps can pay themselves off in as little as 1.5 years with an average of 3-5 years.

Is it a reliable investment?

The solar energy system has no moving parts, therefore extremely reliable. The pump motor is brushless, making it the most reliable electric motor available.

What warranty can I expect from SunSmart Sunshine Coast?

  • Solar Panels: 25-year performance warranty.
  • DC Pool Pump: 36-month warranty and 24-month pro rata warranty.
  • Mounting System: 10-year product warranty (manufacturer).
  • Workmanship: 36-month warranty on workmanship (installer).

Do the panels have to go on the roof of the house?

The panels can be mounted on the house roof, or space permitting, on the roof of the pump shed a pergola, backyard garden shed, or anywhere else where you have adequate space. If roof area of any kind is not available, then we have available a fence line ground mounting system which can be purchased as an option.

I’m a very capable handyman. Can I do the installation myself?

Yes, with the 200 and 500 pumps, the system is ELV (extra low voltage) and safe. However, if you intend to mount the solar panels on the roof, we do recommend employing the services of a person with experience working on a roof with the correct restraints.

Is there any maintenance involved?

There is actually less maintenance than a traditional pump. Firstly, the solar photovoltaics are virtually maintenance free. The faces of the solar panels are treated and clean themselves every time it rains. The pump itself is far more efficient and more reliable than a traditional AC pump, with a life expectancy 2 to 3 times higher than traditional pumps.

What affects the installation costs?

As long as there is adequate space in the pool house and there is nothing untoward associated with your system, then our standard installation includes everything except for trenching and any excess of a 30 meter run of cabling. See our ‘Standard Installation’ details on the pool pump page.

Can I use a solar powered pump to run my solar heating system?

Yes, we can also convert to a ‘one4all’ system where one pump can do both the filtration and the solar heating.

Do I have to make any changes to my automatic chlorinator?

Most automatic chlorinators have a device to sense that the pump is running. If you don’t have this system then we recommend that you have it upgraded.

Will my pool cleaner work?

Yes. The solar pool pumps have been tested with most pool cleaning devices.

What if I have water features that need to run at night?

Our standard installation includes mounting the pump parallel to your existing AC pump, space permitting. This way, should you need to run water features at night or for any other reason, it’s just a matter of switching your old AC pump on, If the solar pump is stand-alone then the optional power transformer can take care of it.

What happens on cloudy days?

On cloudy days the pump will still run, but at a slower rate. The pump / panel combination is worked out allowing for all weather cycles.

How many solar panels do I need?

There are a number of factors that determine how many panels are required. These include size of pool, underground pipe length, pipe diameter, length and type of cables and so on. Once we feed all that information into the computer, we will know exactly how many panels are required. As a general rule though, if your pool is under 30,000 litres, 2 panels should do the job, up to 4 panels for an 80,000 litre capacity pool. We have pump / panel combinations to cater for any size pool including commercial applications.

Is it connected to the grid?

The solar pool pump systems need no grid connection. The DC power from the panels is directed straight to the DC motor via the dedicated controller, which utilises MPPT technology to ensure maximum efficiency.

How long will a solar pump last?

The low voltage brushless pumps have a life expectancy of up to 20 years.

What’s so special about the pump?

The pump itself isn’t that much different to a traditional AC powered pump. The big difference is the motor. The pumps are coupled to low voltage (usually 48
to 72 volts) DC (Direct Current as opposed to AC Alternating Current) motors incorporating brushless technology. These motors are almost twice as efficient as a traditional AC motor and have no brushes to wear out.

How long will my solar panels last?

Photovoltaic solar panels have been stringently tested over the decades. There is a small reduction in power output with age mostly due to dulling of the glass surface. Solar panels are expected to last 30 to 40 years.

A Few Facts

SunSmart Pool Pumps Sunshine Coast wants you to know:

  • A pool pump is one of the largest electricity consuming devices in your home
  • You can run your pool pump directly from the sun
  • DC brushless technology is perfect for solar power
  • DC brushless technology gives you almost double the efficiency of AC technology
  • DC brushless technology gives you 2 to 3 times longer motor life
  • DC brushless technology is much quieter
  • Converting to solar power helps our environment
  • A solar power pool pump system can pay for itself in less than 2 years
  • A solar power pool pump system can run parallel to your existing AC pump or ‘stand alone’
  • A solar power pool pump system can save you up to $2000.00 a year
  • Cater for all size pools – models from 17 cubic meters per hour to 31 cubic meters per hour (285 litres / min to 520 litres / min

You will see we offer a Dual Redundancy Self Regulating Mains Power Pack that can be used as the main power source or as an optional backup. When used as a backup it will draw on mains power on an ‘as needed’ basis to supplement solar power when sunlight is inadequate. The power packs are used either stand alone or combined with solar panels for various situations:

Pump running solely from mains power.

  • Where solar isn’t viable due to shading, it is a good alternative to other mains powered pumps. The SunSmart pump will run at full speed using only 35 to 50% of the power of traditional pumps.

Combination mains and solar power

  • Where the premise may be shaded in the morning but plenty of sun in the afternoon. Run on mains at lower consumption in the morning and solar in the afternoon
  • Where the premise may be partially shaded at different times throughout the day. Run on solar and ‘top up’ on mains when sunlight is inadequate
  • If the pool has water features that the owner would like to run at night, start the pump at the flick of a switch
  • It may be required to ensure the pump runs at critical times regardless of weather conditions, for example, when a Jet Vac or Polaris cleaner kicks in
  • It may sometimes be required to supplement power if the pumps are used for solar pool heating
  • You should be aware that STC rebates can be claimed on the solar panels when installations are carried out by CEC accredited installers. The extra cost for installation is mostly covered by the rebate.
    (The STC rebate is a federal incentive)