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April 16, 2014  |  Login

Switch to Solar Water Heating

Eclipse your reliance on fossil fuels and use the sun to heat the water for your home.

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Feathers ruffled by the soaring fuel prices? Looking for an environmentally friendly way to approach building a new home or revamp your current home? Start with your home’s water heating, which can consist of 20% of a home’s gas usage. By harnessing the sun’s energy right at your home, you can use less fuel and incur fewer transport costs to get the energy to your home, ultimately decreasing our communal reliance on non-renewable resources.

Simple and sleek solar panels can be installed on a south-facing roof or open area where sunshine is readily available. They can be used in any climate, though warmer climates tend to see bigger savings. Depending on your location and the type of solar panels installed, you can generate 100% of your home water heating emission-free. A solar water heating system can also provide all the hot water for your pool, saving you an average of $700 each year. In addition, many states and local governments offer alluring tax incentives to encourage the use of solar panels. Sounds like a pretty hot idea!

So what’s the downside? Solar panels require a larger upfront cost than traditional home water heating systems, such as oil and electrical based ones. Solar may only be the way to go if you know you will be stationary for long enough to reap the cost benefits down the road. A solar heating system will typically pay for itself, through savings, within 4 to 8 years. Considering that the sun is a renewable, reliable and free resource that isn’t going anywhere, you will see a permanent drop in your energy bill of one-fifth after the technology pays back.

 

Take Action / Next Steps
  • Learn more about the basics of solar water heating at Solar Basics.
  • Find out what type of solar water heaters is most appropriate for your climate and situation from the Department of Energy
  • Check out the DSIRE website for information on your state’s policies and available tax incentives.

 

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Did You Know?

Click below for more facts about this tip.

 

SOURCES :

1. Langholz, Jeffrey, and Kelly Turner. You Can Prevent Global Warming (and save money!). Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2003.


2. US Department of Energy. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. "Tax Incentives". Available from: http://www.eere.energy.gov/states/alternatives/tax_incentives.cfm [8 July 2008]


3. Sunwater Solar. Solar Heating Information Library. "Environmental Benefits of Solar Heating”. Availlable from: http://www.sunwatersolar.com/environmental-benefits.php [8 July 2008]


4. Chiras, Dan. The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy. Canada: New Society Publishers, 2006.


5. Toolbase Services. "Solar Water Heaters". Available from:
http://www.toolbase.org/Technology-Inventory/Plumbing/solar-water-heaters [8 July 2008]

 
 
 
 
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