A history of solar panels at Wotton Pool
News / Thu Jul 04, 2013
We are lucky to have a guest blogger this week! Thanks for your contribution Alan.
Wotton Pool was just one of the many outdoor pools like others that were closed in the 70's because they were unloved, had spartan facilities and were freezing cold. In the mid-70's the Wotton townsfolk rallied round and installed a home-made solar heating system, years before renewable energy was as fashionable as it is now. There was a 160 sq m solar collector embedded in the surface of an asphalt area at the back of the pool. It cost £2000 to install and raised the water temperature by a good 5-10 C for 30 years. It was this warmish water that kept the pool open for many years when others were closing.
We had to decommission the panel in the early 2000s because the hundreds of joints in the water system were leaking and we were having to add more cold water than we were receiving in warm. Since then we have been using off-peak electricity and that is not a good ecological solution. However, a few years ago we were donated 5 large vacuum tube solar panels and we are now in the process of installing them using a volunteer (and very enthusiastic) workforce. With modern technology we should be able to monitor the performance of these panels very closely and we shall see how well they perform. The labour and engineering for installing them has come free, but the parts and control system are quite costly, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes to pay back the installation cost.
[caption id="attachment_124471" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The old solar panels, cleared, awaiting the installation of the new solar powered water heating system"][/caption]