Water heaters are an essential component of any household. Water heaters typically have a tank capacity of 30-50 gallons and are powered by either natural gas or electricity. The temperature of the water heater is set to approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit (plus or minus a few degrees), and the water is circulated throughout the house through copper piping to provide on-demand hot water.
Water heaters have evolved over time, from tank-style to tankless to solar-powered water heaters today. In this guide, we will cover the basics of what a solar water heater is, as well as FAQs, a buying guide, and finally the features, advantages, and disadvantages of the best solar water heaters available on the market today.
Solar Water Heater Benefit to a 24/7 Clean Power Grid
The mission of TheEnergyFix is to provide information to assist in the transition to a 100 percent clean power grid that is dominated by renewables. Solar water heaters are a critical piece of equipment in achieving this goal. It is important to note that water heaters account for approximately 17 percent of total energy consumption in the home. As a result, any gains in efficiency in this sector are extremely beneficial. The following are some of the advantages of solar water heaters:
Carbon Emissions Reduction
Water heaters that are traditionally used run on gas or electricity. This energy is obtained directly from the electrical grid. Depending on how clean your grid is, the majority of the time it is generated by coal, which releases CO2 into the atmosphere. As a result, using your solar water heater instead of a traditional water heater results in immediate savings in carbon emissions.
Improved Consumer Behavior
Those who understand and see the actual savings obtained from their solar water heater begin to alter their behavior in a positive direction…. Instead of using hot water whenever they want, they plan their activities around the available time. By taking a cold shower in the morning instead of a hot shower at night, you can further reduce your energy consumption. These types of behavioral changes result in a cascade of other changes that contribute to the clean-up of the electric grid.
Best Solar Water Heaters: Top Picks
Rheem SolPak Review
Since the 1960s, Rheem has been a well-known American brand based in Atlanta, Georgia, and it has been developing water heaters for decades. A Rheem-based water heater is most likely something you are already familiar with from your previous residence.
SolPak water heaters are a brand of water heaters that is part of the Rheem product line. The technical requirements are as follows:
- The water capacity varies between 80 and 120 gallons.
- A storage tank, solar collectors, a controller, a speed pump, and a mixing valve are included.
- Energy Star certified for the greatest possible energy savings
- Electric or natural gas from the grid can be used as a backup heating source.
- It is possible to install it both indoors and outdoors.
- Manufacturer’s warranty is valid for 6 years.
- Height: 62 inches
- Width: 2.81 inches
- Depth: 28.25 inches
- The solar collectors require 66 square feet of roof space to be installed.
Duda Solar 50 Gallon Active System Review
Duda is a well-known brand in the solar water heating industry for being a high-quality brand based in Alabama that produces high-quality products.
- ~50-gallon capacity (200L)
- Active (indirect)
The Duda system heats water on the roof, and then stores it in a storage tank below the building. The solar collector includes twenty 14mm solar tubes, which are included with the purchase. The tubes are at a 45-degree angle to allow them to be mounted to a slanting roof (37-degree angle also available). Because of the way the Duda system is configured, it is ideal for use in colder climate zones. It also includes an 8-liter expansion tank, which ensures that if there is an overflow due to an excessive amount of water, there is a backup tank to catch it.
Other Companies selling Solar Water Heaters
- SunEarth provides a wide range of solar energy solutions for both residential and commercial customers in the United States.
- Sunbank Solar manufactures a variety of components for domestic solar water heating systems.
- Apricus is also a very well-known manufacturer of solar-powered water heaters.
FAQs on Solar Water Heaters
In recent years, due to their lower costs and lower emissions, domestic solar water heaters (DSWH) have become increasingly popular.
What is it?
Solar water heating technology is the process of converting sunlight into heat through the use of a solar thermal collector device (solar thermal collector). This device collects heat, holds it, and then uses it to heat liquid that has been stored in a tank of some sort.
The most significant difference between this and conventional water heaters is that electricity or natural gas is not used as the primary source of energy to heat the water in the tank as is the case with conventional water heaters.
What are the different types of Solar Water Heating Systems?
There are two kinds of passives: active and passive-like.
- Active systems: When it comes to warm climates, this is more common (e.g., Arizona, California, Florida). When it comes to moving water through the solar thermal collector device, an electric circulating pump is utilized. A storage tank is used to hold the cold water that comes from the pipes. Electric pump: This pump removes water from the tank, circulates it through the collector, and then returns it to the tank. A temperature sensor detects when the water tank’s temperature falls below a predetermined threshold (for example, 120 degrees Fahrenheit), and the pump kicks in to warm the water up.
- Passive systems: The vast majority of these systems are installed on rooftops or in attics. Water is collected in a serpentine-shaped pipe by collectors. Cold water flows into these pipes, where it is heated by the sun. The water is then heated in a conventional water heater. The majority of the work is done by the sun, hence the term “passive.” When hot water is drawn from the water heater for daily use, the cycle is restarted, this time with the help of the sun.The active and passive systems that make up a water heater are the foundation of the device. It should be noted that passive and active systems are subdivided into a number of categories, which you can read about here.
Are there economic benefits of Solar Water Heaters?
Yes! If you compare this method to using an electric water heater, you can save up to 40%. When compared to natural gas water heaters, the savings can be as much as 20% over the course of a typical lifetime.
What is the mechanism by which this is possible? During the day, when the sun is shining, your solar water heater will use the energy from the sun to heat the water. This process is carried out continuously throughout the day at no additional cost in terms of energy. The only time you will be charged is when you are awake during the night. As a result, your energy costs are reduced by a significant amount on average.
What happens when the sun is not shining?
An electric or natural gas-powered backup system is included with the majority of solar-powered water heaters. This is only used in very rare circumstances because, in both active and passive systems, the water tank is always ready to provide hot water when needed. As a result, by the time it gets dark, the tank is practically empty. However, in the event that you require additional hot water, your backup systems will step in to fill the void.
In addition, many users have stated that their behavior has changed significantly as a result of the installation of a solar water heater. As opposed to doing their laundry at night, they do it during the day when the sun shines. Such behavioural changes have the potential to reduce energy bills even further.
Is a solar water heater right for me?
What determines whether or not a solar heater is right for you is determined by the following factors:
- What amount of sunlight does your rooftop receive each day?
- How much water do you consume on a daily basis?
- Your initial budget for equipment and labor should be as follows:
If you live in a predominantly cold climate, a solar water heater may not be the best option for you. Obtain more information by speaking with a manufacturer or an installer in your local area. The question of whether you would benefit from such a system is something they can answer for you.
Are there any federal tax benefits?
Yes! The Solar Tax Credit is applicable to solar water heaters that are installed on your property. The following are the discounts available:
- According to the IRS, the tax credit will be worth 26 percent of the equipment and installation costs in 2020.
- In 2021, the tax credit will be equal to 22 percent of the equipment and installation expenses.
- There will be no tax credit available in 2021 and beyond.
The tax credit is only valid if you install the system on a residence that you own and occupy. Rental homes are not permitted, but second homes are permitted on a limited basis. For additional information, please see this article.
After you have completed the installation, make sure to keep all of your receipts and provide them to your accountant. Our accountant will complete the IRS Form 5695 on our behalf. They will deduct the expenses from your income at tax time each year and apply the tax credits toward your tax bill.
Are there any utility rebates available?
Yes, depending on where you live and whether or not you qualify. As an example, the City of San Antonio’s electric municipality, CPS, will provide a maximum $2,000 rebate if you install a device of this nature. You must, however, hire a certified installer who has been hand-picked by CPS. A $750 rebate is being offered by a Hawaii utility.
In the event that you are debating whether or not to purchase a solar water heater, be sure to check the website of your local power utility for any current rebates, or even call their customer service line.
It’s important to remember that rebates are in addition to federal tax credits, so it’s worth your time to look into them.
Where can I learn more about these devices?
Here are some additional resources to assist you in your research:
- Energy.gov. -Everything you need to know about solar water heaters
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- Energy.gov – Solar water heater cost and energy efficiency estimates based on historical data
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any specific questions or concerns.
We discussed the best solar water heaters and addressed many of the frequently asked questions. Solar water heaters, if installed in the proper locations and exposed to sufficient sunlight, can be beneficial to you financially while also contributing to the goal of achieving a 100% clean energy grid that operates around the clock.
If you are interested in learning more, contact a local manufacturer, such as Rheem, to discuss your options. They have local representatives in every state who can provide you with detailed answers to any questions that you might have.