Energy prices have risen dramatically in recent years and are set to continue rising in the future. Global shortage of resources will only intensify and many people are turning to alternative sources of power. Solar water heaters represent one such source of energy.
Many people are put off by the cost of installation, but with a little bit of research and persistence it is actually possible to cut the cost of installation to around $500, which in turn can be spread into affordable monthly payments. There are many benefits of doing so, the main three being:
1) Large savings on your gas and/or electricity bills, depending on how you normally heat your water. Water heaters can provide between 50-90% of your heating needs, even in northern states such as Alaska. Water heaters do not require warm weather or even direct sunlight to function – though both increase the speed with which it heats – and can even heat water on a cold and cloudy day.
For the best value systems try smaller non-profit companies or co-ops, for example the $1K system from Build It Solar. You could also see if your local government or council will give you a grant or a tax rebate towards the cost – many do, and they can sometimes be up to 50% of the overall price. You could also incorporate it into a mortgage – with payments in the above example being around $5 a month over 30 years. Given the amount you would save on your water bills could be anything from $15 – $100, you would see an instant profit!
2) Future-proofing your house against sudden hikes in gas prices of gas shortages. Water heaters are exceptionally low maintenance – you may never have to spend another cent after installation. Even if gas prices stay constant you’re looking at a good rate of return on your investment – assuming that gas prices continue to rise at a rate of around 4% annually you’re looking at a great deal more savings.
3) Protecting the environment. Environmental issues can seem rather abstract and distant to us all, but every little bit counts. If every house was equipped with a solar and wind power we could reduce the amount of gas and electricity we take from the grid by around 90% – which would have a massive impact on reducing carbon emissions.
The addition of such a heater may also add value to your house, though you should consult an estate agent to get an accurate figure. Overall though, installation of a solar powered water heater makes environmental and financial sense and a little bit of effort you will bring a lot of reward later.