How much will a solar water heater save me? Advantages of solar water heaters explained
Written by Andrew Sendy
Updated August 12, 2021
5 minutes read
Categories: Solar Water
The price of powering our homes and businesses continues to increase. According to the US Department of Energy, 42% of the average household utility bill is dedicated to heating expenses.
Installing energy efficient appliances helps residential and commercial property owners lower their monthly power payments. Solar water heater installations are a simple and effective way to positively impact your energy bills.
What is a solar water heater?
Just like your regular water heater, a solar water heater provides warm water for your daily household needs. However, instead of being linked to your home’s grid energy system, solar water heaters draw their power from the sun.
Solar water heaters are a cost-effective option as they produce hot water more efficiently than gas or electric-powered heaters. Their upfront costs are higher, but they save you money in the long-run thanks to lower utility bills. There are a variety of available systems, models and sizes.
How do solar water heaters work?
Solar water heaters use solar panels to collect energy from the sun’s rays. There are four main types of solar water heaters.
- Direct active circulation solar water systems use the heat from the sun to warm your water supply. As the water moves through the system, it absorbs heat from the collectors on its way to your faucets.
- Indirect active circulation systems pass a freeze-resistant fluid through the collectors. That fluid is then pumped through a heat exchanger, which transfers the heat from the collectors to your water supply.
- Integral collector-passive solar water heaters use metal plates to absorb heat from solar panels. Placing the plate under or over a water storage tank allows the heat to transfer to the water supply.
- Thermosyphon solar water heaters are passive systems that draw their heating power from a collector installed directly below the storage tank. As the water absorbs heat, warmer water floats to the top of the tank, where it can be pumped into your plumbing.
Each type of water heater works best in specific climates and conditions. For help choosing the right solar water heater for your property, we recommend talking to a professional solar installer in your area.
What solar water heater models have earned the highest ratings?
Solar energy production is a flexible technology with astounding applications. Modern manufacturers are racing to develop solar-friendly appliances for homes and businesses. These companies are on the cutting edge of solar water heater technology.
These companies manufacture systems and components for solar hot water installations.
The equipment that will be used in your home, however, largely depends on the installation company you choose. The installation companies generally stock and install the brand that works best in your climate. Ask a solar energy installer near you for more information.
How much money can you save with a solar water heater?
Your savings from a solar water heater installation depend on a number of factors.
- The initial cost of your system.
- Your family’s average water use.
- Time of day when the bulk of your water usage occurs.
- The average cost of grid energy in your area.
- The SRCC rating of your equipment.
Review older utility bills or contact your local utility provider for more information on the average price of energy in your community. Comparing this information will give you a good idea of how much you could save with a solar hot water heater.
The average household spends $781 each year for household hot water. If your solar appliance replaces on 50% of the grid energy you use to power a traditional water heater, you will still save over $390 each year on utility bills.
Data source: energy.gov
Are there any rebates or incentives available for solar water heater purchases?
One of the biggest factors to impact your savings is the solar payback period. This is the time it takes for your monthly utility savings to equal the amount you initially invested in the system. Using rebates and incentives is an excellent way to shorten your solar payback period, so you realize true savings more quickly.
- Property owners can receive a credit on their federal taxes worth up to 26% of their out-of-pocket costs for the purchase and installation of an approved solar water heating system.
- Manufacturers and solar installers often offer special discounts and incentives for those considering a solar water heater purchase. Check with your local solar installation company for more details.
- Your state and local governments may offer incentives as well. Use this tool to find deals based on your location. The US Department of Energy also maintains a database of credits, rebates, and savings for solar water heater installations.
This online calculator is a simple way to find your potential solar payback duration.In a related note, if you’re also interested in solar panels then check out this advanced online solar calculator.
What are the best states for installing a solar water heater?
With a winning combination of alternative energy-friendly ordinances, government-sponsored incentives, and rates of adoption amongst residents, here are the five best states for solar water heaters and solar power:
- District of Columbia (D.C.)
- New Jersey
Interestingly, of the 5 states listed above, only California is among the top few states in the nation with a climate and geographical layout that favors productive solar systems. This makes clear the role of state policy and incentives, not to mention energy costs; the higher both these factors are, the better solar looks.
What should you look for in a solar water heater?
When shopping for a solar water heater for your home or business, use these tips to find the perfect equipment for your property’s needs.
- Take a look at your property. Is it a good site for a solar installation?
- Decide how much hot water capacity you’ll need.
- Check out local laws and regulations that could restrict your buying choices.
- Research potential equipment purchases by reading user and expert-submitted reviews online.
- Talk to an experienced solar energy installer near you for expert guidance on choosing your solar water heater.
Solar energy saves money and reduces stress on our natural resources. Solar water heaters are a great way to take advantage of this money-saving technology without committing to a full residential solar energy system installation.