Solar-powered hot water systems generally use panels mounted on the roof to collect the heat from the sun and use it to heat your domestic hot water. Although they require substantial investment, installing a solar-powered hot water system could reduce water heating costs significantly and pay for themselves in the medium term.
Water heating accounts for 17 percent of a typical home’s energy use. Many homes heat water with natural gas or other fossil fuels. That’s many tons of carbon going into the atmosphere. Switching to solar hot water is a great way to reduce carbon and other greenhouse emissions and protect our climate.
Many additional homes use electricity to heat their water. Most of the electric power comes from burning coal. Particulates and other byproducts of burning coal pollute our air and contribute to a number of negative environmental and health effects. When you heat with solar hot water, you become a part of the solution to these public health problems.
Carbon and particulates aren’t the only byproducts of burning fossil fuel. It has identified that power plants are the primary source of mercury and other toxic heavy metals which released in the environment each year. These substances are a major threat to the health of our rivers, streams and lakes — and to human health as well. Solar water heating is one practical step we can take to put a stop to mercury contamination of our watersheds.
A solar water heater can provide up to 80 percent of your hot water needs, even in temperate climates. This translates to major utility bill savings, month after month. In fact, a solar hot water system typically pays for itself in just four to eight years, and can be expected to last for 40 years or more. That’s a lot of free energy, and a lot of savings.