Federal and State Tax Credits Make Solar Hot Water a Smart Option for Homeowners
How it Works
The solar panels collect heat from the sun and convert it into a liquid medium. This liquid then runs down into coils in your hot water tank, providing supplemental heating for all your hot water needs.
There are a number of variable factors that affect efficiency such as sun exposure or roof slope, but in general a solar hot water system will be effective on any rooftop that receives sunlight for the majority of the day. With a two panel system you can expect to, on average, save anywhere from 50% to 80% a year on your hot water bill.
There is no need to worry about being without hot water because a solar hot water system functions in a complementary fashion with your current system. At night or after a particularly cloudy day your old hot water heater will pick up the slack.
Why it’s a Smart Choice
Affordability — Right now the federal government offers 30% off deal in the form of a tax credit towards the purchase of any solar energy system. If you’re installing your solar array in Vermont you’re eligible for the Vermont Small Scale Renewable Energy Program which 16% off the total price. This all amounts to a fair bit of savings. The average solar hot water array will cost anywhere from $8,000 to $11,000 when all is said in done, however, with this credit you’ll likely only end up paying around $5000 to $6000.
Longevity — Solar hot water have a life expectancy of 20+ years, outlasting standard gas and electric hot water storage systems by a longshot. It’s a good idea to have a qualified contractor conduct an annual inspection to ensure efficiency but besides that a solar hot water system will require very little maintenance.
Environmental Impact — It is estimated that a solar hot water system will reduce the electrical usage of your water heater by about 2500 kWh per year. This means that around 4000 less pounds of carbon dioxide will enter the atmosphere annually — the equivalent of driving your car for four months!