Solar Hot Water FAQ’s

  1. How much does a solar water heater cost?
  2. How much will I save if I install a solar water heating system?
  3. How long will it take to recover my investment in a solar water heating system?
  4. What happens when the sun is not shining?
  5. What happens on a cloudy day?
  6. How is the solar hot water system protected in freezing weather?
  7. How does a tankless water heater compare to a solar water heater?
  8. Does a solar hot water system qualify for a federal tax credit?

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1. How much does a solar water heater cost?

Size of the family to be served (and thus, the amount of heat supplied)

Size, type and brand of solar system

Type of roof upon which the panels are mounted

Different county building code requirements

Orientation of panels are all factors.

2. How much will I save if I install a solar water heating system?

Due to the ample availability of sunshine in Florida, solar savings can be as high as 85% of your energy use, for heating domestic water. These results vary and depend entirely on the specific circumstances of your hot water consumption. For a customized simulation of your potential savings, please contact our technical department and we will run a personalized solar simulation based on your unique consumption.

Solar water heaters operate with a fixed cost following installation. Free solar energy exempts you from fuel shortages or price hikes.

The total number of Solar Water Heating systems that we have installed contributes to the savings in Electricity in the order of MEGAWATTS. These savings go on increasing and yielding higher returns on the investment as years pass.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR HOT WATER USAGE

For a family of three, the typical hot water usage is 70-gallons per day, so using 4990-kilowatt-hours per year( found on yellow sticker at water heater) to heat the water electrically, or $724 per year worth of electricity at .145 per kilowatt hour with all charges included.

3. How long will it take to recover my investment in a solar water heating system?

In general, payback times tend to be shorter for propane and electricity hot water systems and longer if you are currently relying on natural gas. Due to the magnitude of these factors of influence, it is impossible to offer one precise figure here. However, from our experience, results from our customers, suggest payback times from as low as 3.5 – 8 years for a solar hot water system with a design life of over 30 years. For a more accurate figure of the payback time for your specific home, please contact us for a free estimate.

Compare it to 45 (100) watt light bulbs turned on at once or look at your meter after someone takes a shower.

A solar water heating system generating free energy for you now OR in a warehouse somewhere else. The money you spend for the hot water portion of your monthly electric bill over a few short years will have completely gone to pay for a solar hot water system either way.

4. What happens when the sun is not shining?

In general, a solar hot water heating system should be able to generate up to 85% of your hot water needs from solar energy. In the event that there are many cloudy days in a row, or you have increased demand in your hot water consumption (several guests spending the weekend at your house), a back-up element kicks in and provides the required amount of hot water.

6. What happens on a cloudy day?

Since solar energy systems require sunlight, the bulk of production will take place under sunny conditions. Output is directly proportional to the amount of infrared sunlight available at any given moment. A system can generate 50-70% of its typical output under bright overcast conditions. When rain or excessive days of cloudy conditions exist, the auxiliary backup will use conventional energy to heat water.

Since the Solar Energy is inexhaustible and is continuously available, we not only give importance in designing & creating efficient and effective systems but also make sure that the systems once installed, provide years of dependable service.

Thus we commit ourselves to provide our customers a higher quality product at a competitive price.

7. How is the solar hot water system protected in freezing weather?

In both direct and indirect systems, automatic recirculation is used for freeze protection. When the water in the collector (panel) reaches a temperature near freezing, the controller turns the pump on for a few minutes to warm the collector with water from the tank and repeats until temperatures are above freezing.

In addition there is a freeze protection valve located at the collector, when the copper piping connected to it reaches 45 degrees, it opens allowing a small amount of water to trickle out of the collector (panel) and simply runs off the roof.

A third option (not necessary) allows you to manually drain the collector (panel) of approx. 3 gallons of water if you so choose. Ask us more and we advise you.

Collectors are basically of 3 types namely Flat Plate Collectors, Evacuated tube, and Passive, thermosyphon. Solar Flat Plate collectors are the most widely used collectors for Water Heating systems because of their Simplicity in design, easy operation and Installation & they return the highest payback per dollar invested.


8. How does a tankless water heater compare to a solar water heater?

The water you use still has to be heated. The amount of energy required to heat a gallon of water to certain a temperature does not change just because its being heated at a faster rate.

The tankless water heater only eliminates standby losses of water sitting in the storage tank awaiting use. Since the element only comes on approximately 5 minutes out of every hour to maintain that water temperature, the tankless water heater is only about 10 to 20 percent less expensive to operate than a conventional electric water heater.

And tankless water heaters come with drawbacks, (According to the U.S. Department of Energy) “Sometimes….even the largest, gas fired model cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous….multiple uses….taking a shower and running the dishwater at the same time can stretch a (tankless) water heater to its limit”. Filling up a soaking tub is another example.

Solar water heaters can provide all the benefits of tankless water heaters, but eliminate up to 85% of your water heating costs compared to a maximum of 20% with tankless.

9. Does a solar hot water system qualify for a federal tax credit?

YES! Both the Purchase Price AND Installation Cost of a solar hot water system qualify for a 30% federal tax credit. The credit applies to equipment placed in service between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2016. IRS Form # 5695 (Download pdf here) is needed to apply for this credit. Enter the installed cost on line 1 of the form.