Solar Pool Heater Cost Breakdown

Solar pool heaters can be a great way to heat your pool water without raising your energy bills. They can extend your swimming season allowing you to enjoy your pool for longer. But, like any home improvement project, there are costs to installing a solar pool heating system.

In this article, I will break down the costs of a solar pool heater, so that you see the upfront and ongoing expenses of this type of heater.

Main Takeaways

  • Solar pool heaters are an environment-friendly investment.
  • The upfront cost of a solar pool heater, including installation, can range from $3,000 to $7,000.
  • Solar pool heaters have very little ongoing costs and can save you money on your energy bills and pay for themselves over time.

Average Upfront Costs for Solar Pool Heaters

The upfront cost for a solar pool heater is between $1,500 and $5,000 on average, but it will vary depending on the size and type of heater you choose.

Size is the most significant factor that will affect the cost of your pool heater. Solar pool heaters are available in various sizes to fit any pool size. You’ll need a larger and more expensive heating system if you have a large pool.

Other determining factors are your pool type and what kind of solar panels you want.

Above Ground Pools

Heating above ground pools is much less expensive. For smaller above ground pools, you can even find solar heaters for less than $1,000. But for medium to large above ground pools, the average cost lies somewhere between $1,500 and $2,500

Inground Pools

Solar pool heaters for inground pools tend to be more expensive as they tend to be larger and involve more complicated plumbing. The average cost of a solar pool heater for an inground pool is between $2,500 and $5,000.

Glazed Solar Panels

The type of solar panel you choose will also affect the upfront cost. Glazed solar panels are more expensive than unglazed solar panels but are also more efficient. Glazed solar panels have a glass coating that helps to reflect sunlight and trap heat. This makes them more effective at heating your pool than unglazed solar panels.

If you choose to purchase glazed solar panels, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,500, depending on the size of your pool.

Unglazed Solar Panels

Most solar pool heaters on the market are unglazed, and these solar panels are the more affordable option. Unglazed solar panels are made of black rubber or plastic and are less durable than their glazed counterparts. These solar panels also have a shorter lifespan, typically lasting between 5 and 7 years. Expect to pay between $500 to $4,000.

Installation Costs of Solar Pool Heaters

The installation cost of a solar pool heater will depend on the size and type of your pool and the type of solar pool heater you choose.

Pool Size

The size of your pool will also affect the installation of your solar pool heater. A solar pool heater for a small pool will be less expensive to install than for a larger pool.

On average, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,500 to install a solar heater for a small pool and between $1,500 and $2,000 for a medium-sized pool. The costs can go up to $2,000 and $2,500 for a large pool.

Pool Type

If you have an inground pool, the cost to install a solar pool heater will be higher than if you have an above ground pool. This is because inground pools require more plumbing and electrical work to install the solar pool heater. Solar heaters for above ground pools are not generally required to be mounted on the roof, so they can just sit, propped up in an open area of your yard while in use.

On average, the cost to install a solar heater for an inground pool will be between $1,000 and $2,000, and between $500 and $1,000 for an above ground pool.

Operating Costs for Solar Pool Heaters

Solar pool heaters have little to no ongoing costs since they rely on free solar energy. However, although it costs nothing to run, you may come across a couple of other costs.

Electricity Cost for Filtration System

If you have a regular filtration system, you can continue to use it with your solar pool heater. There’s no need to buy a separate filtration system for your solar pool heater. The only additional cost you’ll incur is the cost of electricity to run your filtration system. The cost of electricity will vary depending on the size of your pool and the type of filtration system you have.


If you live in an area where the winters are cold, you’ll need to winterize your solar pool heater. Winterization is the process of preparing your solar pool heater for the winter months. Winterization typically costs between $100 and $200.

Maintenance and Repairs Cost

Like any gas or electric heater, solar pool heaters must be properly maintained to function at their best and provide years of trouble-free service. The good news is that solar pool heaters are generally low maintenance, and the only ongoing costs you can expect are for periodic cleaning and checking the system.

Repairs and Replacement Costs

Although solar pool heaters require menial maintenance, they can still sometimes break down or need repairs like other mechanical systems. The most common issue is that the solar collectors can become damaged, which will reduce their efficiency. Solar panel replacement can be expensive, but it is still cheaper than replacing an entire gas or electric pool heater.

Other Repair Costs

Other potential repairs include leaky pipes or connections, which a qualified pool technician can easily fix. Overall, the costs of maintaining and repairing a solar pool heater are much lower than those of other pool heaters. Expect to pay between $100 to $700 to fix issues with your solar pool heater.

Need Some Maintenance Help?

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Are Solar Pool Heaters Worth It?

Solar pool heaters are a great way to save money on energy costs. The upfront cost of a solar heating system can be higher than a traditional gas or electric pool heater, but the ongoing costs are much lower. It can certainly help raise your pool temperature to the desired level if you live in a mild climate, especially paired with a solar pool cover. However, solar water heaters are less effective than electric or gas pool heaters. So, I recommend going with gas or electric if you live in colder weather or don’t have great sun exposure. Solar panels are also environmentally friendly and can help you reduce your carbon footprint (find out how a solar pool heater works before purchasing one as well). If you’re interested in a solar model, check out my research on the best solar pool heating system. And if solar heating isn’t your style, feel free to check out my recommendations on the best swimming pool heaters.

If you have more questions, feel free to reach out. I’m happy to help!

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