Purchasing a Solar Water Heater
In 2008, Hawaii became the first sate to require new homes to have solar water heaters. This is part of Hawaii’s plan to have seventy percent clean energy by 2030.
Solar water heaters are not new and have been available for almost 200 years. There are a wide variety of systems commercially available. Several factors, including size, climate, orientation, and design, impact the amount of energy that can be output for water heating. In most cases, a backup source of energy is needed for hot water heating. Most systems will consist of a tank to store hot water, a collector to absorb solar energy, and a conventional source of energy , and a pump to force circulation.
There are two types of solar water heaters. Active systems utilize a pump and temperature control. While passive systems rely on the fact that hot water rises and cold water falls.
Solar water heaters cost between $1,500 and $5,000 compared to $150 and $450 for conventional energy sourced heaters. They pay for themselves within four to eight years according to the EESI. However, they last between fifteen and forty years.
Solar water heaters don’t have to be cost prohibitive. Some do-it-yourselfers boast their ability to create a heater for less than five dollars! These heaters are best suited for camping and science experiments. A step-by-step guide for creating a five dollar heater is available at www.instructables.com.
Solar heat tubes connect to any low, medium, or high pressured cold water supply. The installation is simple and the cost is between $250 and $300.
Solar showers are very easy to hook up. They are typically used poolside as an outdoor shower. The cost of an outdoor solar shower ranges between $450 and $500.
The PacII4X8 is about $1,300 and can handle the hot water needs of two to three people. One of the benefits of this system is that it is marketed toward the do-it-yourselfer.
The Pacemaker 80 will supply enough hot water for four or more people. The cost is roughly $1,500. A highly skilled do-it-yourselfer may be able to install this himself.
120/32 Drainback systems were, at one time, prone to overheating and freezing concerns. However, these products have been engineered out. This type of system is capable of storing 120 Gallons of water. The cost is about $3,700 and professional installation is recommended.
Solar water heaters are not new. They are relatively easy to install. The return on the investment is fast. It leaves one to wonder when other states will begin to follow Hawaii’s example.