Black plastic panels capture the energy from the sun and use it to heat the water in your pool. Using the pump from your filtration system, water is circulated through the solar panels where it is heated and then returned to the pool. The system is designed to work with your existing pump, which need not necessarily be situated near the solar panels.
A valve, either manual or automatic, controls the flow of water in the solar panels. The automatic option responds to changing temperature conditions and adjusts accordingly to provide optimal comfort at all times.
The surface area of the solar panels should be at least half the surface area of the pool, in order to function properly. Such a system could raise the temperature of the water 3 or 4ºC (6 to 10ºF).
As with any heated pool, the use of a solar cover is always recommended – a practice which actually allows you to swim earlier and later in the season, thereby extending your swimming season.