Solar panels bring the heat in Eagle-Vail |

Solar panels bring the heat in Eagle-Vail

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
NWS EV Pool Solar DT 11-8-10

EAGLE-VAIL – At the new Eagle-Vail pool, the sun will do more than get swimmers tan. It’ll heat the water, too.

Workers recently installed 52 solar panels designed to keep the pool toasty. The panels, from Capitol Solar Energy in Denver, cover the south-facing roofs of the main pool building and the nearby pool shelter.

Although solar panels are a fixture at pools in Florida, those setups are less common here in Colorado, said Megan Gilman, the energy consultant for the Eagle-Vail pool.

“Solar in general is becoming a lot more common, especially since we have different incentives and rebates,” she said. “But in my opinion, for how much sense it makes just financially to heat a pool with solar, it’s surprising that more pools are not doing it.”

In Eagle-Vail, Gilman expects the solar panels to provide about 60 percent of the pool’s heating and save about $100,000 in utility bills over the next decade.

The community received about $24,000 in county ECO-Build funds to pay for the $85,000 project.

Two different types of solar panels will be at work, said Laurent Meillon, director of Capitol Solar Energy.

One set looks like the typical solar panels you see on roofs, he said. Water heats up as it passes through a series of copper tubes inside the panels. The other system consists of pipes made from solar panel material that warm the water as it flows through, he said.

It’s actually harder to heat the pool in the summer because the cover is off and the water evaporates faster, Gilman said. The pool will hover at a cooler temperature in the winter, with a cover firmly fastened.

R.A. Nelson in Eagle-Vail started work on the project in April. The facility includes a six-lane lap pool, 40-by-16-foot kiddy pool, a water feature and a tube slide. Voter-approved bonds covered a majority of the $3.6 million project.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User