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Thermal Performance Ratings
Pool Collectors

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) is the National Test Center for certifying the performance of solar pool heating collectors. FSEC is funded in part by the State of Florida and certification fees paid by a given manufacturer. The Thermal Performance Ratings are a useful tool in comparing the efficiency of solar pool collectors. Other considerations such as system sizing, based on the surface area of the pool and proper installation procedures is also important to the systems overall efficiency. The FSEC testing is conducted outdoors, the test criteria is based on three conditions:

1) Solar Radiation
2) Air Temperature
3) A wind speed of no more than three miles an hour.

The test procedure does not evaluate the effect of wind speed greater than three miles an hour. In addition, because of variability of weather conditions, instrumentation accuracies, and other test condition constraints, the thermal performance of any two collectors should be considered approximately the same if their ratings are within 25 Btu/(ft2day) ( per square foot per day) this rating is listed on the last column. It’s important to note that these rating do not address the durability of the collector or the Solar Investment Value (SIV). The SIV is the total energy contribution of a given collector, based on the projected life of the collector.

Comparison Methods- Some Helpful Hints:

1) These collectors operate at the low temperature range typical of pool heating. (75-95 degrees F.)

2) The first column on the left, list the name of the manufacturer. A company name may appear more than once, this is due to variations in collector size.

2) The column titled: Glazing refers to a glass or plastic type cover on the collector. Most pool collectors are unglazed, and do not have a cover.

3) To compare the efficiency among various collectors based on Btu output per square foot look at the rating listed on the last column on the right.

4) To compare the efficiency of any two collectors based on the physical size of the collector, compare the numbers in the second to last column on the right.


To date there is no data to support the efficiency of solar “collector” installed in a pool deck, driveway or tennis court. The Florida Solar Energy Center tested products from 4 different manufacturers. None of the 4 are currently certified. At present, no collector is certified for an “indeck” application. The California Energy Commission states that all solar systems sold in California must be certified by either FSEC or the SRCC.