At the ACEEE conference, there was attention given to solar hot water—a technology that is big in Europe and now even required in Hawaii. Using the sun to heat your water is great for the environment and for your wallet! Especially with today’s skyrocketing energy costs! You can save up to 75% on water heating costs with a professionally installed solar system.
You don‘t have to live in sunny Arizona to benefit from solar. Even in cloudier locations like Syracuse or Seattle or Canada, a solar hot water system can help meet your hot water needs!
Another myth among homeowners is that solar hot water systems are too expensive to install. For example, in New York, there are currently generous tax credits and incentives that can put 65% or more of the system cost back in your pocket! Depending on what you use now to heat your water (gas, oil, electric), how much you‘re paying for that fuel, and how much hot water you use (and if like me you have teenage daughters, the answer is A LOT!), you can recoup the cost of the system in as little 3 to 5 years. After that, it‘s money in your pocket!
So how does it work? Solar hot water systems are usually used to heat water for basic household needs such as laundry, bathing, dishwashing, and cooking. These systems use solar energy – gathered from solar collectors usually mounted on your roof – to preheat water coming into a standard water heater. The warmer the water from the solar heater, the less conventional fuel is needed to provide for the household‘s hot water demands.
During the summer, a properly sized solar hot water system can provide up to 100% of a household‘s needs! In the winter, it will be less in snowy climates. On average, however, solar hot water systems meet between 60% to 70% of a home‘s annual load.
Solar systems not only save you money on your energy bills, they also increase your energy independence and decrease your environmental impact. Visit the GreenHomes site to see if solar hot water is right for your home.