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Can Solar Power Save Energy and Money?

Date Added: February 02, 2010 05:12:46 AM
Author: Paul Mroczka
Category: Environmental

By utilizing solar power and other renewable energy sources a homeowner can help cut back on harmful environmental emissions and save money. Although there’s a lot of debate over whether an investment in solar heating can payoff, especially when it comes to making a majority of your home solar dependent, using a solar powered water heater can certainly save on power costs.

Solar Powered Water Heater Costs

When solar water heaters came out over 30 years ago, they were very expensive, but now they are competitively priced. The cost of a solar powered water heater ranges from about $550 to $3,500. With installation, the costs range from $1,800 to $5,000. These are average prices, and they can vary. The expense involved for the system depends upon the heater’s capacity and the climate in which you live. 

Solar powered water heaters designed for cold regions cost more due to the fact that it’s more difficult to utilize the sun’s energy in those regions. Also, it is less expensive to install a solar powered system in a home that is being built than in one that is preexisting. This is because it costs more to run the wiring and plumbing that solar requires in a home that is already built. There are state incentives for clean, alternative forms of energy, with rebates on equipment topping out at 30%. A solar specialist can help you determine if you qualify for a rebate.


Passive Unit

                             Passive solar power units.

In terms of operating costs, a solar powered hot water heater costs $50 per year while a conventional water heater costs $500 or more. The life expectancy of a solar model is 15 to 30 years, and it has a storage capacity of 80 to 120 gallons. A standard water heater lasts from eight to 15 years and holds 40 to 50 gallons of water. Finally, the cost for operating your solar water heater will never go up, while a standard water heater is dependant upon fossil fuel costs, which tend to rise over time. While over its lifetime a standard water heater will cost around $10,000 to operate, a solar model adds up to just $1,000.

Solar Powered Water Heater Benefits

There are numerous benefits to solar power. Along with being better for the environment, these systems can save consumers cash in the long run. Reliable and able to operate even during blackouts, you’ll find that solar powered water heaters will function in any climate.

Solar Powered Water Heater Best Bets

If your water heater is powered by electricity or propane, then a solar water heater is a good investment. However, if your water heater uses natural gas, which is competitively priced, then a solar system does not necessarily make sense. Still, in new subdivisions solar can be fairly comparable in cost to natural gas. If your home has a southern exposure that is uninhibited by trees or other obstructions, then you may just have the perfect place to install your solar water heater. In the old days, solar systems tended to look the same, but now they come in a variety of stylistic looks.

Solar Water Heater

                                Solar Water Heater

Is Solar Power Right for You?

No matter where you live, this type of water heater can go a long way in providing cost effective energy. To ensure that you purchase a well-made water heater, you should contact the Solar Rating and Certificate Corporation (SRCC). The SRCC is an independent, non-profit that’s charged with certifying and rating the performance of solar water heaters. Prior to investing in a solar power, you should also have a home energy audit performed. An energy evaluation can go a long way in making sure that you are making the right choice. Be sure to engage in independent research and consult numerous solar specialists to determine what choice you should make. Solar power can be the right alternative, but it’s not for everyone.

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