Save Money with a Solar Powered Hot Water Heater for Your Home

A solar powered hot water heater is a great way to save money.

I mean, everyone these days is looking for ways to cut back on their power bills, right?

Well, you may have just found your answer.

A solar hot water heater is a great way to supplement your current electric or gas. 

It saves money in the long run and really is a great way to be kind to the environment. 

Not to mention the psychological benefits of being a little more independent. 

Let’s dig in to how a solar water heater works.

When  heating water using solar energy, a solar collector (not the same as  solar cells or PV Panels), connected to a roof or a wall facing the sun, heats working fluid that is either pumped (active system) or driven by natural convection (passive system) through it.

The collector might be made of a glass insulated box with a flat solar absorber made of sheet metal, attached to copper pipes, or a set of metal tubes surrounded by an empty glass cylinder.

In a "close-coupled" solar powered hot water heater, the storage tank is horizontally mounted above the solar collectors on the roof.

No pumping is required because the hot water rises into the tank through thermo siphon flow. In a "pump-circulated" solar hot water Heater, the storage tank is mounted on the floor or ground, and is below the solar collectors.

A circulating pump moves water between the tank and the collectors.

The initial cost of buying and installing a solar powered hot water heater is different in each country, and is the most expensive step in owning one.

But once that initial cost is paid, a solar powered hot water heater will save you money in the long run. 

Eventually paying for itself overtime.  

Exactly How much money you save depends on the following:

 

  •        The amount of hot water you use
  •        Your system's performance
  •        Your geographic location and solar resource

  •        Available financing and incentives
  •        The cost of conventional fuels (natural gas, oil, and electricity)
  •        The cost of the fuel you use for your backup water heating system

 

When you install a solar powered hot water heater, your heating bills should drop 50%–80%.

Also, because the sun is free, you're protected from future fuel shortages and price hikes.

If you're building a new home or refinancing, the savings can really add up.

The price of a solar powered hot water heater in a new 30-year mortgage amounts to between $13 and $20 per month.

The federal income tax deduction for mortgages that use solar power lowers that by about $3–$5 per month.

In other words, if your fuel savings are more than $15 per month, the solar investment is saving you money overnight. 

On a monthly basis you will be saving more than you are paying. 

Cost By Country

  •          America:  5000 USD
  •          United Kingdom: 4800 GBP
  •          Belgium: 4000 EUR
  •          Australia: 5000 AUD 
  •          South Africa: 14000 ZAR
  •          Brazil:  2500 BRL

In warm locations, where freeze protection is not necessary, a solar hot water heater can be very cost effective.

In higher latitudes, there are additional design requirements for cold weather, which add to system cost.

This has the effect of increasing the initial cost (but not the long term) of a solar water heating system.

The most costly part to consider is the initial installation cost of solar water heating systems.

Offsetting this expense can take a few years.  Just remember that once the system is installed, it will eventually pay for itself. 

The sun is free, don’t forget that!

And, using gas and electricity alone, can really add up over time.

The calculation of the long term cost and payback period for a solar hot water system depends on a number of things:

 

  •          Price of purchasing solar water heater
  •          Efficiency of solar water heater  purchased
  •          Installation cost
  •          Price of electricity used  pumping (if pumping  is used)
  •          Price of water heating fuel ( gas or electricity) saved per kW.h
  •          Amount of water heating fuel used per month by a household
  •          Upfront state or government subsidy for installation of a solar water heater
  •          Recurrent or annual tax rebates or subsidy for operating renewable energy
  •          Annual maintenance cost of solar how water systems ( antifreeze or pump replacements)
  •          Savings in annual maintenance of conventional (electric/gas/oil) water heating systems

 

Pros

  •          Water heating bills should drop 50% – 80%
  •          Anticipated payback period of 3-7 years in most areas
  •          Provides positive cash flow when included in a new home construction
  •          Solar energy systems can take advantage of the sun’s free energy year-round
  •          Tax credits
  •          Lessens your carbon footprint

 

Cons

 

  •          Higher initial cost
  •          At higher latitudes, solar heaters may be less effective due to less solar energy, possibly requiring the use of conventional heating methods as a backup. 

 

Conclusion

If you are ready to help the environment, cut back on the long term costs of electricity and gas, and increase your overall independence from power company monopolies, then a solar hot water heater is for you!

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