Solar water heating is a cost-effective way to tap into the sun’s energy. This is one of the many reasons people choose this type of system as their first investment in renewable energies.
What Is Solar Water Heating?
Solar water heating is an excellent, low-cost solution for reducing energy usage in the home. A typical system provides at least 85% of the hot water. It’s not unusual for water heating to be responsible for 25% of a home’s energy usage.
Benefits of Solar Water Heating:
- Systems have long life expectancies and require little or no maintenance from year to year.
- N.C. and Federal tax incentives reduce the price of a typical residential system roughly in half.
- New construction represents a cash-positive transaction.
- Existing construction represents about a 10% return on investment.
- Costs are fixed as the cost of energy continues to rise.
- Offsets CO2 emissions as well as other greenhouse gasses.
We offer a couple of options for water heating systems. They typically consist of one or two solar collector(s) mounted flush to the roof. A single 80 or 120 gallon solar water heater comes with an electric heating element to ensure a consistent supply of hot water regardless of weather conditions, a pump station, and in some cases a drain-back tank & controller.
Solar Water Heating FAQs:
Q. How Does a Solar Water Heater work?
Solar water heating uses a panel or multiple panels mounted on your roof to collect heat energy. As fluid passes through these panels the heat energy is transferred into the fluid, which in turn is transferred into your water heater. The solar loop is circulated using either an AC pump, or even better, a DC pump powered by a small PV panel.
Q. Do I need to change my water usage?
Not at all. A standard electric water heating element is integrated into the solar water heating tank. During extended cloudy days or when friends or family are visiting and water usage is unusually high, the electric element makes up the difference.
Q. How much will it cost me? And are there any financial incentives?
The cost of a typical system is around $10,000. North Carolina has a 35% tax credit with a maximum of $1,400, and the Federal tax credit is 30% with no maximum limit. So on a $10,000 system the final cost after tax credits is about $5,600, nearly a 50% savings! These credits can be carried forward for up to five years.
Q. How much can I save?
Especially in today’s more efficient houses, water heating can account for up to a third of a typical family’s energy usage. It is common for our systems to provide 85-90% of a typical household’s needs. This typically translates to $300 – $500 a year depending on the size of the house and number of occupants.
Q. How long does the installation take?
Depending on the difficulty, installation time is 2-3 days. However, the hot water is only off for a few hours.
Q. What about high winds?
The panels are usually mounted very close to the roof, preventing high winds from getting underneath them. They are attached through the roof deck to the attic rafters using very heavy duty lag screws, providing an extremely strong bond between panel and roof. Realistically speaking, the panels will not be coming off unless your roof does.
Q. Do I need to worry about roof leaks?
We use high quality copper and stainless steel flashing for all penetrations which are correctly integrated into shingle roofing systems, and the highest quality 50 year. EPDM rubber flashing available for metal roofs. They are typically the highest quality flashing materials we see on the roof at our installations.