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Swimming Pools

Solar Swimming Pool Heaters can significantly reduce pool heating costs. The unit cost is competitive with both gas and heat pump pool heaters. As an added benefit, they have low annual operating costs, making pool heating one of the most cost-effective uses of solar energy.

A typical solar pool heating system includes a solar collector(s) through which pool water is circulated to be heated by the sun; a filter to remove debris from the water; a pump that circulates the water through the filter and collector and back to the pool; and a flow control valve that diverts pool water through the collector(s). During peak summer months the collector(s) can also be used to cool the pool by circulating water through the collector at night1.

Pool covers can save 50 to 70 percent of the pool’s energy use, 30 to 50 percent of its makeup water, and 35 to 60 percent of its chemicals. For hotel swimming pools, indoor pool covers typically have a one year payback period. For outdoor pools and hot tubs the payback period is even shorter.

Indoor pools require simultaneous heating and dehumidification. Heat pump water heaters (HPWH) can efficiently serve both of these needs by heating the water while producing cool, dehumidified air for the room housing the pool. Using an HPWH can reduce heating costs for gas- and electricity-heated pools as much as 40 and 80 percent, respectively2.

Variable speed pumps can save up to 90% over single speed pumps. Additional benefits include prolonged pump life and cooler running, quieter pumps.

1 U.S. DEPARTMENT OF Energy – Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy
2 Environmental Protection Agency – Energy Star

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The mPOWER program has funded more than $101 million in energy efficiency and water conservation improvements since its creation in 2010. It served its mission well to save money, conserve energy and create jobs. Unfortunately, recent legislative, regulatory, and market changes have reduced the demand for this type of financing option. Solar and other energy efficiency projects continue to be installed, but other financing options are being used. After serious consideration, the Pioneer Board determined winding down and ending the program was the appropriate next step.

On June 17, 2021 the Pioneer Community Energy Board voted to wind down the mPOWER program.

As of August 31, 2021, the mPOWER program is no longer accepting applications for financing. While the program is closed to new applications, customers will still be able to make payoffs and paydowns, and they will continue to have access to customer service support. Applications received before August 31, 2021, will still be processed.

It has been a honor and pleasure serving all of the mPOWER communities.