Test results show solar power is a viable option for northern Europe as well as southern European climates.
Test results show solar power is a viable option for northern Europe as well as southern European climates.

Barilla Solar has been testing Bowman heat exchangers on an outdoor demonstration pool at its headquarters in Lymington, Hampshire since May 2012 as part of a two-year research programme.

The aim is to prove that solar thermal is a viable primary heat source for UK outdoor pools and that installation is both easy and straightforward. Ongoing results have shown that Bowman solar heat exchangers are easily capable of heating the outdoor pool to comfortable temperatures all year round.

Barilla has been simulating and testing a variety of typical UK climate conditions, to prove its solar thermal system will work effectively. Results have shown that even on a cloudy day, pool temperatures have been reaching 22-23C. On sunny days, the pool temperature has risen to such a level that Barilla has been able to draw excess energy from the pool heating circuit into a thermal store, which has been used to heat hot water in its headquarters.

The pool has a capacity of 37,500 litres and is being heated by 6 x Barilla F22 AR Flat Plate solar thermal collectors. A single Bowman heat exchanger transfers energy generated in the collectors to heat the pool. The experiment will continue for a further two years to help Barilla correlate the actual performance of a pool system against the modelling software that it has developed.

Whilst many contractors have already discovered the benefits of renewable energy, some have shown reluctance to recommend it to customers due to a perception that installation is complex.

Consequently, Barilla has set out to demonstrate that renewable systems are as easy to install and commission as a conventional boiler system and the company provides comprehensive advice and support for contractors considering the system for the first time.

Solar collection has long been a preferred option for the pool industry and many users have already made the switch. Whilst it has been highly successful for installations in Southern Europe, where the climate ensures temperatures are sufficient for usage all year round, Barilla’s results show it is also a viable option for Northern Europe.

Commenting on the results, Kevin Howell of Bowman, says: “We’re delighted but not surprised by the results of Barilla’s tests, as our renewable energy heat exchanger range has been specially designed to work with the lower temperature water delivered by a solar system, compared to the hotter temperatures of traditional boilers.

“Many of our customers have been genuinely surprised at the difference a Bowman high efficiency heat exchanger makes to the efficiency of their pool. With pool heat-up times up to 60% faster than most competitor products, energy demand is significantly reduced, making solar heating a much more viable heat source for Northern Europe.”

The live pool data feed can be seen at