Can I run a spa pool on solar power?
2 AUGUST 2023
Highlife, Limelight models heat at 1539w so whenever you are not using your spa the maximum power draw of any of these models to heat and filter the water is 1539w. This is very important information when considering a spa that can utilise your solar array efficiently.
An endlessly luxurious soak, powered by renewable energy delivered for free. A solar powered spa pool sounds like a dream – a way to enjoy your soak free from both power bills and guilt. But can it be done?
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at running a hot tub off solar power: if you can, whether you should, and how you might go about it.
Can I run a spa pool using solar power?
Put simply, yes, you can certainly use solar panels to power a hot tub. Solar technology has evolved in leaps and bounds over recent decades, and modern panels are capable of producing more than enough electricity to power your spa pool. You can even use home battery systems to power your spa when the sun doesn’t shine.
While you’ll need to make a significant upfront investment to fit such a system, it’s one that will pay itself back over time, both in terms of lower power bills and a reduced carbon footprint. As a result, many Kiwis are investing in solar powered swim spas and solar spa pools.
But it’s not as simple as slapping a solar panel on your roof and hooking up your spa. Your choice of spa pool is every bit as important, as it needs to be energy efficient in order to make the most of the sun’s rays. Independently tested as New Zealand’s most energy efficient spa pools, a Hot Spring machine is the ideal choice.
How to heat a spa pool with a solar system
How exactly do solar powered hot tubs work? There are two distinct ways to inject the energy of the sun into your backyard spa pool.
Solar-thermal (heat exchange panels)
A solar thermal hot tub setup sees the spa’s water being fed through narrow tubes in heat exchange panels that are exposed to the sun. The water is drawn from the spa, warmed in the tubes, then sent back. Solar-thermal systems don’t generate electricity – they are purely solar hot tub heaters that warm the water. This means that the spa will still need to rely on the grid to power the jets, lights, water features and entertainment systems.
Solar thermal systems are also limited by the weather. This type of spa pool or swim spa solar heating is great at warming your water in summer, but isn’t as effective when you need it most – in winter
Solar-electric (traditional solar panels)
The most common and most popular solar spa pool setup is solar electric, where solar panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity to power the spa. As mentioned earlier, this electricity can either be sent directly from the panel to the machine, or can be stored in a battery for use later, including at night.
The limitations of solar-thermal, and the efficiency and environmental friendliness of solar-electric, mean that the latter is far more popular than the former.
How much solar power do I need to run a spa pool?
Power use is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). On average most spa pools use between 100-300kWh per month, thought the amount of power your spa uses will depend on three main factors:
The size of your spa
The larger your spa, the more water there is to heat, the more jets there are to run, and the more features – lights, waterfalls, sound systems – there are to power.
The frequency and intensity of spa use
If you use your spa for hours each day, and have the water temperature particularly high and the jets on full blast, you’ll use more power.
The energy-efficiency of your spa
The most important factor in how much power your spa pool will use is how energy-efficient it is – and at Hot Spring, we’re market leaders in this area. We understand the need to retain heat, so we offer a range of high-end insulation options that reduce the work demanded from the heater. Our Internal machinery is designed to do more with less power, and innovations like our hot air induction jets even recycle heat, drawing it from inside the cabinet and pumping it back into the water.
Is a solar system for my spa pool worth it?
Solar systems represent a significant upfront investment. But it’s critical that you see them as just that: an investment, rather than a cost. If you pair a high quality solar system with a high quality spa pool, the power bill savings over the years (or decades) to come can be incredible.
As the most energy efficient spa pools on the New Zealand market, Hot Spring machines can be powered for as little as $1 a day. This means that you may be able to get away with a smaller and more cost-effective solar system than you might imagine.
Then there’s the environmental benefits of a solar powered spa pool. Run with 100% renewable energy, you can relax in the lap of luxury, totally free of guilt, safe in the knowledge that your soak isn’t doing any harm to the planet.
The Hot Spring difference
If you’re looking to use solar panels to run a hot tub, that spa should be worthy of the investment. It should be a Hot Spring.
Born in an Auckland garage in 1980, Hot Spring has spent the last four decades offering Kiwi customers the finest soaking experiences possible. By buying a Hot Spring you won’t just enjoy better energy efficiency – you’ll get better massage, better water and better support too.
Our dedicated network of dealers stretches up and down the country, and are always ready to offer advice on enhancing your spa pool ownership experience, including hooking your machine up to a solar system