Solar hot water is the most economical way to heat your water for a range of purposes:
- Domestic hot water – Solar hot water can produce enough energy to meet 70-95% of your hot water production needs.
- Radiant heating – Solar can be used with a radiant floor heating system to provide heating for a building. Solar heated water runs through pipes underneath the floor, which then radiate heat upwards to warm the room.
- HVAC- Run solar heated water through your HVAC system to heat your house.
- Solar Pool Heating – Solar offers the most cost-effective method of pool heating, and allows you to extend your swimming season by several months.
Essentially, a solar hot water collector is a black box enclosing copper piping that collects heat from the sun, and transfers it to the water that runs through the piping. This feeds to your storage tank, pre-heating the water that feeds into your existing water heater
There are two main types of solar hot water systems:
- Active systems – Contain pumps and controls to regulate the flow and hot water production.
- Passive systems – Operates without the use of pumps.
Saving You Money
The California Energy Commission estimates that the average household spends up to 30% or more of its energy bill for hot water heating, and it accounts for more than one-quarter of the total energy used in a typical single-family home. An electric water heater is the single largest user of electricity of all household appliances.
Whether you have an electric or gas water heater, the operating cost will continue to rise over time. According to the California Public Utilities Commission, electricity rates have been increasing an average of 6% per year, over the past 35 years, and the wholesale price for natural gas has more than tripled in the past eight years. Natural gas shortages are likely to push rates even higher in the near future. With solar you will no longer have to be at the mercy of the utilities and their ever-rising rates.
The California Public Utilities Commission estimates that a typical homeowner can save 60-70% on the cost of water heating by installing a solar water heating system.
Government Incentives for Solar hot water
A 30% federal tax credit will be offered to any homeowner who installs a solar water heating system. In some regions, such as San Diego, CA, a local rebate is being offered for solar water heating in addition to the tax credit.
An Investment That Pays For Itself
A properly designed and installed solar hot water system will perform well for 20-40 years. Over the life of the solar system you will realize an average annual 15% return on investment. A typical residential solar hot water system in California has an 8-10 year payback, and will generate $15,000 to $20,000 positive cash flow over the system’s 30-year life.