Although the recent weather is hardly an indication, summer is fast approaching, which means that pools across Australia will soon be getting a work out.

With electricity prices soaring, many pool owners are looking to alternative means to power their pool pumps and heating systems. Solar power systems are an attractive solution, with their promise of clean, free electricity.

National solar solutions provider Energy Matters notes that running a 1.5kW rated pool pump can add up to 17% to a power bill over the course of a year. Solar power systems can offset these costs, potentially entirely, while adding value to homes and significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Further, if the electricity generated by a solar power system exceeds the amount required for pool pumps and heating, the excess can be used to supply power to other household appliances, or exported to the mains grid where, in most states, a credit or premium payment can be generated.

As the nation moves towards a more sustainable future, most state governments now also offer rebates to reduce the cost of installing rooftop solar panels, which can translate to savings in the thousands of dollars.

Infolink features an extensive directory of solar panel suppliers.

An alternative approach is to use solar power in a pool heating system, which will not provide the advantages of excess power generation, but can still significantly offset pool operating costs.

Pioneering solar heating supplier Zane Solar power Australia offers a range of solar pool heating systems to suit all budgets and applications. Select models are also available through Waterco, an authorised Zane reseller.

Photo: a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from nist6ss's Flickr photo stream