The sun is a remarkable resource. Our bodies use sunlight to generate vitamin D while plants and animals rely on the sun for virtually everything in their lives. Different ways of harnessing the sun’s energy are always being developed, and now among them is solar hot water.
Currently, there are two main, commercially-viable methods of deriving energy from the light that is emitted by the sun: photovoltaic or thermal. Photovoltaic (PV) systems generate electrical energy, whereas thermal systems provide energy in the form of heat. The latter of these methods is quickly becoming a growing trend for homeowners who want to tap the thermal capacity of sunlight to heat their water, saving significantly on costs associated with using gas or other methods of heating water.
Here are the three biggest benefits realized from implementing solar-heated water systems, either for a business or a residential home:
#1: High Insolation Means High Effectiveness
Insolation (also known as Solar Irradiance) is the term used to refer to the amount of sunlight received by a particular location on the Earth. Areas of high insolation value – Florida would be a great example – allow for the maximum benefit of solar hot water systems. Florida’s high insolation value lends itself to the benefit of a highly efficient hot water production system that costs exactly zero dollars to operate, once commissioned.
States that don’t enjoy such a glut of sunlight, like Oregon and Washington, can’t as easily rely on sunlight for it’s thermal properties. Therefore, consumers located in areas of high insolation should take advantage of their geography and realize this huge efficiency benefit.
#2 The Payback Period is Very Short
The Environmental Energy and Study Institute has found that solar hot water heating systems have an average payback period of only 4-8 years, a timeframe that is incredibly short when compared with other, costlier methods of hot water heating (see geothermal). This abbreviated payback period is especially cost-effective when the solar hot water system is installed in a home or business with 250+ days of sunlight a year.
Often times when consumers are considering a solar system for a building, they conduct a cost/benefit analysis that takes into consideration things like initial system cost, operating cost and return on investment (or ROI). Because the payback period is so short in the case of solar hot water, the ROI timeframe is hastened, and property owners can enjoy cost savings very quickly.
#3 Solar Hot Water Significantly Cuts Water Heating Bills
The EESI has also found that the average savings that Florida-based consumers see when it comes to their hot water heating costs is 50-85%. This statistic alone is reason enough for many homeowner to pull the trigger on a solar hot water heating system, especially considering the aforementioned payback period.
What could a solar hot water system save you in hot water heating costs? Contact us at Urban Solar to get the conversation started with a free home energy assessment, and to find out exactly how much you stand to gain by implementing thermal solar technology into your home.