Why Use Solar Water Heating?

Beginner
Balance of system components for a drainback-type solar water heating system.
Balance of system components for a drainback-type solar water heating system.
Many solar water heating systems require freeze protection.
In all but the most temperate climes, some form of freeze protection is important for solar hot water systems.
Installing a 30-tube evacuated tube system.
Installing a 30-tube evacuated tube system.
Balance of system components for a drainback-type solar water heating system.
Many solar water heating systems require freeze protection.
Installing a 30-tube evacuated tube system.

Why Use Solar Water Heating?

Heating your water with solar energy can be a rewarding venture in more ways than one. In general, there are several reasons to use solar energy.

Energy Independence. Using solar can reduce your dependence upon the utility, as well as the fossil fuel companies that supply it. It helps reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign energy sources. Solar is as reliable as getting your energy from the utility, as well. As long as the sun is shining, you’ve got energy. Many folks with solar hot water only need to use the utility for backup, and sometimes not even that. Independence can be a very gratifying experience.

Environmental Impact. It is a fact that most of our energy comes from burning fossil fuels. This leads to a wide array of environmental problems, including human-caused climate change, acid rain, mountaintop removal for coal and tar sands, and health effects around power plants. The use of nuclear energy and its long-lived, poisonous byproducts is an important issue to many.

But why risk the environment, when we can take advantage of the sun which falls freely on Earth, ready to be used for our own energy needs? With the slight exception of having to manufacture the equipment needed to capture the sun’s heat, there is no environmental impact from making solar energy at our homes.

Financial Benefits. When you choose to use solar to replace all or part of what you had been using the utility for, that comes with financial savings on your utility bill. Solar-electric, as popular as it is, does not have as high an energy and cash savings per amount spent as does solar water heating. It is easy to see 50% to 100% savings on your bill, helping systems to recoup the original investment in 5 years, and as little as 3 years. The time depends largely on your local solar resource and how much utility energy costs.

As with other energy technologies, there are often financial incentives to make the initial investment even more attractive. For solar hot water they can include state and federal tax credits, and state, regional, and utility rebates.

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