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Solar heating for commercial swimming pools – experiences in south-eastern Australia

conference contribution
posted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Priyadarsini Rajagopalan, Robert Fuller
Commercial swimming pools, particularly aquatic centres are increasingly common features of large towns and cities in Australia as people are encouraged to increase their levels of physical activity. Swimming is regarded as a low impact form of exercise and use of indoor facilities allows this to continue all-year round. Aquatic centres are large users of energy for water and space heating with an energy intensity which can be up to seven times that of a commercial office building in Australia. Much of the energy is used to heat water to relatively low temperatures and therefore solar energy technology is capable of providing this energy. In the residential sector, solar thermal systems for heating water and swimming pools is well-established. This is not the case for commercial swimming pools i.e. aquatic centres. In Victoria, a program to encourage commercial pool operators to install solar systems was funded in the early 1980s. This paper describes an investigation into the current use of and attitudes to solar systems in commercial pools through a survey of municipal pool operators in Victoria, south-eastern Australia. The survey found that there has been very little increase in the use of solar energy and that barriers to the use of the technology remain the same as they were nearly 30 years ago. Lack of roof area, poor payback periods and an inability of solar to meet pool heating needs are the most common misconceptions. To improve the uptake of solar heating in commercial pools, further research, particularly looking at the feasibility of integrating traditional heat sources with solar collectors using smart control, is required. An incentive programme and the education of the new generation of consultants and aquatic centre operators, unfamiliar with the potential benefits of solar systems, would also help to increase their uptake.



Asia-Pacific Solar Research. Conference (2nd : 2015 : Brisbane, Qld.)


1 - 9


Australian PV Institute


Brisbane, Qld.

Place of publication

[Brisbane, Qld.]

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E Conference publication; E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2015, APVI


R Egan, R Passey

Title of proceedings

APSRC 2015: Proceedings of the Asia Pacific Solar Research Conference

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