Solar Hot Water:
the Pros and Cons
Great savings can be made by installing Solar Hot Water. On this page, we go through the different types of solar collectors, their advantages and disadvantages, and their basic design needs.
On average, 25% of a home's energy bill is from hot water. Therefore, this is one way you can cut down on your energy bill.
Is my home right for Solar Hot Water?
Ideally, you want a south facing roof with a slope of your latitude + 15 degrees. For example, if you are in Austin, you would want a 45 degree roof slope. Your solar collector should also have full sun between 9am and 3pm.
How big should my solar panels be?
A general rule is 10-15 square feet of solar hot water panel area per person in the house.
How much will a Solar Water Collector Cost?
A typical system, on an unshaded, south facing roof, can cost between $1500 and $3000.
How much can it save?
Typically, depending on the type of solar collector, and the amount of water used, savings can be between $200-$300 a year. Therefore, the system will pay itself in 5-10 years. Once the solar collector is paid off, all energy savings will be profit. You can look at the initial price of the solar collector as pre-paying for hot water.
It's important to make sure that all your water pipes
are well insulated. This will prevent you losing heat. Also, locate the
solar collector close to the storage tank - this will also minimise
The average house spends more on hot water than any other part of their heating bill. There are a wide range of solar water heaters available. Intalling solar water heaters can protect you from rising energy costs. Once your solar collector has 'paid for itself' via power bill savings, all the hot water it produces can be seen as free power from the sun.