WHAT CAN I SAVE?
Heating and Hot Water are the 2 highest utility costs in owning a home. A properly designed solar hot water system can save 50% - 80% Annually off of what a standard gas heating system would cost….. more if the home had standard electric back up systems.
HOW DOES SOLAR THERMAL (Hot Water) COMPARE TO SOLAR PV(Electric) SYSTEMS?
Each of these systems has their place and all homes and family habits are different. That being said SOLAR THERMAL SYSTEMS (hot water) are approximately 5 TIMES as efficient as SOLAR PV SYSTEMS (electric). For ex: A simple 2 – 4’ x 8’ solar thermal hot water system has the similar output of an 18 – 250 Watt PV panel system.
The major benefit solar PV systems enjoy is the fact that they are typically tied into the utility electrical grid and continuously produce power whether the home is using this power or not. This “unused” power is recorded and if the homeowner’s utility allows "net metered" for billing. Net metering is the difference between the solar power a home produces and the power the home consumes.
Solar thermal systems cannot send energy into the grid. Instead, they reduce the gas or electric energy needed to heat your water and they rely on a properly sized storage tank. The storage tank acts as the utility grid, transferring the energy collected from your solar panels to your hot water. The ideal sized storage tank will hit a high limit (usually around 140° – 180° F) on most sunny days. Too small a tank and the system will high limit too soon. Too large of a tank and the system will never hit it’s high limit and energy savings will not be realized.
Analyzing a home's various energy consumptions will dictate which, both, or neither solar renewable systems are the best for your application.