News release –
Aquatherm Industries, a U.S. manufacturer of swimming pool solar heaters, announced on Feb. 29th that it has broken the $2 (USD)/sq. ft. mark for its Sunlite™ brand of pool solar heating systems.
The manufacturer believes this pricing is unprecedented in unglazed solar thermal, and cites several factors which have allowed it to reduce long run average costs and break the $2/sq. ft. price point threshold.
The manufacturer reports its initial investment in machinery and tooling for Sunlite™ has been completely amortized – over the course of its 25 million square foot total production – since being introduced in 2000. Over that time, improved production efficiencies and quality control processes have resulted in less waste and helped to lower production costs.
With two patents currently protecting Aquatherm’s Sunlite™ product, the manufacturer has garnered a nearly 53% market share in the industry. The pool solar panel’s unique “insert-molded” header design was recognized as a breakthrough in solar pool heating technology when the product launched a decade ago, and continues to set the standard for the industry moving forward.
Aquatherm also cites economies of scale as a major influencing factor on pricing. In 2005, the Lakewood, NJ factory underwent a 25,000 square foot expansion – effectively doubling the building’s total size. With the addition of roughly 15,000 square feet of warehouse space, the manufacturer has been able to make larger bulk purchases of its specially-formulated polypropylene resin from suppliers, further reducing costs.
Using performance rating data from the independent Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) – which measures a solar collector’s ability to efficiently transfer thermal energy from the sun into usable heat (in the case of solar thermal, BTUs) – Sunlite™ is rated at 1,000 BTUs per square foot. Based on the manufacturer’s newly released pricing, Sunlite™ carries a price per BTU of only $0.002 – making it the most cost-effective solar thermal BTU on the planet.