Solar Pool Heating

Cool down with solar pool savings

Solar Pool Heating

In a solar pool heating system, pool water circulates through solar collectors—usually located on your roof—and absorbs the sun's energy. Most solar pool heating collectors are flat, black panels manufactured from high-technology plastics designed to resist weather and ultraviolet radiation. View a simple diagram.

Installing a solar pool heating system is a great investment. Best of all, cash incentives and a state energy tax credit can offset up to 50 percent of your initial investment.

Find out more about installing a solar pool heating system in your home.

How can we help? For more information, questions or comments, call us at 1.866.368.7878.

Note: Energy Trust provides technical assistance and financial incentives but does not develop, sell or install energy systems or equipment. This work is done by independent businesses that are solely responsible for the quality and performance of their installations.

How do solar pool incentives work? Energy Trust provides funding to reduce the upfront cost of installing a qualified home solar pool heating system. The amount of the cash incentive depends on how much energy your system will save annually.

To make it easy for you, the cash incentive is applied upfront—like a coupon—reducing the amount you pay to your contractor. Once your project is complete, we verify that it was properly installed and then reimburse your contractor for the amount of the cash incentive.

Collector Type Pool Type Incentive Maximum
Unglazed collectors Outdoor $3.00/ft2 collector area 50% of project cost
Indoor $4.50/ft2 collector area

Incentive offer is subject to availability of funding and may change.

How do I determine how much incentive I will receive?

The amount of your cash incentive depends on whether your pool is indoor or outdoor and the type of solar collectors your system uses. Most solar pool heating systems use unglazed collectors (made of heavy duty rubber or plastic). For these types of systems, the incentive is based on the square footage of collector area. Home solar pool heating collectors  are typically 50-100 percent of the surface area of your pool. To estimate your incentive, multiply the square footage of potential collectors by the incentive rate listed above.

For solar pool heating systems using glazed collectors (made of tempered glass and metal), the incentive is based on the estimated annual energy savings from the solar pool heater. The annual savings is estimated by a solar contractor using modeling software.

Tax Credits

In addition to Energy Trust’s cash incentives, your project may be eligible for a state energy tax credit from the Oregon Department of Energy. Tax credits, sometimes called tax incentives, reduce the amount of tax you owe dollar for dollar.

The following description of the tax incentives does not constitute tax advice and cannot be used to avoid IRS penalties:

Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit: You may be eligible for an Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit of $0.15 per annual kilowatt-hour saved, up to $1,500 (not to exceed 50% of system cost). View availability and requirements. Ask your tax professional for complete details.

Federal energy tax credit: Solar pool heating systems are not eligible for the federal energy tax credit at this time.

NW Natural Customers in Washington

Washington residents who heat their pool with fuel from NW Natural qualify for this Energy Trust cash incentive; however, there are no state or federal tax credits available for Washington residents at this time.

State and federal tax credits are subject to change.

Eligibility for solar pool heating incentives from Energy Trust varies with customer location. If your home is located in Climate Zones 2 or 3, you must be replacing an existing pool heater that receives electricity or gas from Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural or Cascade Natural Gas.

If your home is located in Climate Zone 1, the pool does not need to have an existing pool heater to qualify for incentives (Oregon only). However, your home must be heating domestic water with electricity or gas from Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural or Cascade Natural Gas. NW Natural customers in Washington who heat their pools with natural gas are also eligible for incentives.

Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3
Benton Coos Baker
Clackamas Douglas Crook
Clark (WA) Jackson Deschutes
Clatsop Josephine Gilliam
Columbia   Grant
Klickitat (WA)   Harney
Lane   Hood River
Lincoln   Jefferson
Linn   Klamath
Marion   Lake
Multnomah   Malheur
Polk   Morrow
Skamania (WA)   Sherman
Tillamook   Umatilla
Washington   Union
Yamhill   Wallowa
    Wasco
    Wheeler

All systems must be installed by a qualified Energy Trust solar trade ally contractor. Self-installed systems do not qualify. Systems must be new, and incentives are not available for replacing components. Expansions or repairs to existing solar systems are not eligible. Systems must be installed in compliance with the Energy Trust Solar Water Heating Installation Requirements.

Oregon customers who do not heat their pool with fuel provided by Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural or Cascade Natural Gas, please visit Solar Oregon to see if your utility provides incentives for solar installations. If you are a Washington resident who does not heat your pool with fuel provided by NW Natural, please visit Solar Washington to check for available utility incentives.

Incentives are not intended to influence consumer decisions on fuel sources.

Follow these steps to install a home solar pool heating system and get your cash incentives and tax credits:

1. Contact Energy Trust solar trade ally contractors. Receive several bids before making a final decision. Need help comparing bids? Read the How to choose a solar contractor fact sheet.

2. Your contractor installs your system. Energy Trust will verify your new system to ensure quality standards have been met.

3. Receive your incentive. Your contractor will complete and submit your Energy Trust incentive application on your behalf. Your Energy Trust cash incentive is applied to the cost of your solar installation up front—like a coupon—reducing the amount you pay your contractor.

4. Submit the application for your Oregon Department of Energy Residential Energy Tax Credit. Your contractor will provide the completed form and a copy of your invoice marked “paid in full.” There are no state tax credits available for Washington residents at this time.

5. Claim your federal energy tax credit when you file your taxes. Complete the IRS Residential Energy Credit Form and submit it with your federal tax return.

6. Enjoy your clean, free, renewable energy and a more comfortable pool for years to come!

Questions? Call us at 1.866.368.7878.

Your contractor will work with you to complete the proper application form for your Energy Trust cash incentive. They will also complete your state energy tax credit application.

Have questions? Call us at 1.866.368.7878.

Interested in going solar? Here are some great ways to get started, and the supporting resources you will need along the way.

Other Resources

Fact sheets

Consumer guides to solar water heating

Tax credits

Tools and other resources