Pool owners in cool climates can use their swimming pool longer by heating water in their pool. You can heat pool water with gas, oil or electricity; however, the most energy-efficient method is to use solar panels. Aside from the initial installation costs, solar energy is free, and the technology is long lasting.

You can easily install solar panels onto your existing swimming pool pump. When you use a regular swimming pool pump, water is pulled out of the pool, pumped through a filter for cleaning and returned to the pool. However, when you heat pool water with solar panels, before the cleaned water returns to the pool, it passes through pipes leading to a solar collector. The solar collector transfers the heat from the sun to the water in the pump, and the heated water is eventually pumped back to the pool via pipes and valves. The water in the swimming pool can be a natural solar collector as well; on warm days, the sun heats the pool water directly.

Before affixing solar panels to your current swimming pool pump, there are some issues you need to consider. First, check whether you have sufficient sunlight to attain solar heat and if you have a large enough smooth area on which to place the panels. If your pool is located in a shady area, you won't benefit from solar energy. Next you need to decide how many solar panels to purchase based on the size of your pool and how high you want to make the water temperature. In addition to the number of panels, you need to judge if the the solar panels can be located close enough to the pool so the water heated in the pump can return to the pool still warm. If the distance from the pool to the panels is significant, you might need to upgrade the pump size.