How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

SystemSystem Posts: 2,511 admin
How much should a solar power water heater cost installed? I have a 2500 square foot house with two people living in it and my electric bill is about 300$ a month.

Comments

  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    Without knowing your location and utility rate, it's impossible to say if that's good or bad.

    It sounds like you're looking to save money on the electric bill. The first rule there is conservation.
    You will get a better return on $ invested from conservation measures than from anything else. Invest your first $30 in a Kill-A-Watt meter and start checking everything that's plugged in. You might be surprised to find what's eating up power and what things you can do without, get better versions of, or shut off 'more completely' with a 'power bar' (parasitic loads from 'wall warts').

    Go over your insulation and see how up to standard that is. Look for low-flow shower heads, et cetera. What's your heat source? Is it old? Is the hot water heater old? Sometimes just upgrading to newer, more efficient units will make a big difference.

    As far as a solar hot water heater is concerned, there's no fixed price. They need to be tailored to your home. You may not have good insolation (solar exposure).

    You have to find the cause of the problem before you can work out a practical solution.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,154 admin
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    You appear to be in Florida... Solar Guppy, one of the posters here has lots of experience with solar electric and solar hot water/etc... So, he can give you better answers than I...

    But, as Marc said, conservation is your best place to start. Lots of attic insulation (assuming you use lots of A/C) and a modern high efficiency A/C unit will help a lot.

    For Hot water, you have several ways to go... One is to get a "Desuperheater". In Florida, I presume you use A/C for much of the year (dehumidify vs pure A/C)...

    Here is a Florida based thread where some of the basics are discussed by Solar Guppy.

    For a do-it-yourself solar thermal system... www.solarroofs.com is a good place to start. Solar Thermal is much cheaper to install (lots of plumbing though) per BTU of hot water vs solar electric panels.

    The kill-a-watt meter is great for 120 VAC 15 amp circuits... For a home with 240 VAC loads--you probably want to look at the T.E.D. or equivalent:

    T.E.D. : Electricity Monitor, Energy Monitor, Power Monitor

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • homerramirezhomerramirez Solar Expert Posts: 102 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    MMM.... well all depends, you want to go green, save money or both?, 2 people should get by with 40 gal. of hot water per day, this means that you can use a hot water heater timer and run it for1 or 2 hrs. a day, if you retired and spend more time at home you might still get by with this timer if you:
    1.- wash clothes with cold water only and cloth line dry
    2.- use a short washing cycle
    3.- do not use a dish washer machine
    4.- take short showers

    If you want to go green and there is no city regulation, you can build yourself a batch solar water heater (if you live in Florida), with the understanding that require maintenance. again, conservation is the key.

    I have a family of 4 and we set the hot water timer for 1.5 hrs a day (I uset to have for 2hrs. a day and was more than enough), this means, the hot water heater is ON only for family showers every day. ;)

    it is a good feeling to reduce our carbon footprint while saving money :D
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 4,130 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    Real world price of 5 to 10K$ installed depending on if you need freeze protection for 2 people.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Mountains near Mariposa/Yosemite CA
     http://members.sti.net/offgridsolar/
    E-mail [email protected]

  • GreenPowerManiacGreenPowerManiac Solar Expert Posts: 453 ✭✭✭
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    My system has solar water heating & radiant floor heating for about 26k installed. Of course, if your state gives rebates, usually 30%, that is a plus. The Fed matches the states rebate. Here in Illinois my system will cost just over 10k. The biggest issue nowadays is the states funding. Illinois has gotten their budget for next year, however, funds from the renewable energy program have been "Swept" away for other reasons and is currently inactive. Soon they will find funds to reimburse us according to the state officials.

    Don't let the money deter you for total cost, it's worth it providing you get enough sun during the day. We've had 12 gloomy days in the past 15 and my backup LP water heater has been taking the load for floor heating.


    A Solar Water Heating system by itself is around 10k total cost minus the 60% = 4k after rebates & tax credits. Right now an equity loan is a very attractive option to cover the initial costs. One thing to consider is never to expect a lot of output from a renewable energy system of any kind and you'll be happy.
    Nature's Design & Green Energy on FaceBook : Stop by and "Like" us anytime.. Many up-to-date articles about Renewables every day.
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  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 28,154 admin
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    Regarding an equity loan... Be really careful of taking a loan for something that has a longer term, low % rate payback. Especially in this business climate.

    Solar Thermal systems probably have the highest rate of return of any Solar RE project... But conservation investments (insulation, appliances, etc.) are usually still better areas to put your money first.

    Personally, I go without/less rather than getting loans that I cannot pay off quickly (other than for big ticket items like a home).

    If you can pay off the loan quickly (months to year or so)--may make sense for you. If this is a decade or more payback--probably not a good idea.

    -Bill

    PS: It is almost impossible to cost effectively move Solar RE equipment from home to home--And a new buyer will probably only pay a modest amount of the costs of your installation (and in some case, it may reduce the value of the property).

    So, make sure the investment works for you (plus your family) and plan on staying in the property for many years to come.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    In June we installed a solar water heater from Solar Roofs.com and a demand water heater (Takagi Jr) and converted our propane water heater into a storage tank, all in conjunction with our existing hot water recirc pump - this was an open loop system with freeze protection. We are two people and we used 3 each 10SF standard panels - works well most of the time here on the foggy coast in Northern California.

    Based on reduced usage since then, my spread sheet now calculates that the 400gallon +- (gauge read 80% of a 500 gallon tank at that point) storage of propane will last until sometime in 2017 :D

    What this means is that there is a huge waste associated with keeping 50
    gallons of water heated and at the ready - we were previously using 300-500 galons of propane a year. And of course, we now take our showers later in the day.

    Our total cost was just over $3k including three hundred to the plumber to help replumb the water heater and recirc piping. After rebates/credits, the cost was under $3k and the payback is not bad at the current price of propane.

    Nick
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    Nick,
    Do you own the propane tank or rent it until 2017? I bought mine because I kept getting notices I wasn't using enough product to warrant the supplier keeping a tank at my home...while i was paying rent on the tank!

    Love SDHW, low to no guilt long showers when the sun shines.

    Ralph
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,114 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    pcguy2u, for comparison, I just looked at my Sept. Nat gas bill.
    We converted to a demand heater last Jan....
    our monthly consumption went from 2.3 Gigajoules of gas to 1.3 for the same period.
    Before, we were heating with a HI efficiency Lennox (96%) with a 10 gal storage capacity... so there is a 44% drop in consumption in not heating a reservoir.

    ps I am thinking that you have a 'full tank" @ 80 %.. Up here, N. of 49, we are limited filling a tank to 80% capacity on LPG tanks...
    cheers,
    Eric
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
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    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • pcguy2upcguy2u Solar Expert Posts: 139 ✭✭✭
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?
    Ralph Day wrote: »
    Nick,
    Do you own the propane tank or rent it until 2017? I bought mine because I kept getting notices I wasn't using enough product to warrant the supplier keeping a tank at my home...while i was paying rent on the tank!

    Love SDHW, low to no guilt long showers when the sun shines.

    Ralph

    We own the tank, so no problem there. And speaking of long showers, we also have a spring from which we pump with a solar pump to 4 each 5000 gallon tanks. The water comes down the hill gravity and we have standing 50 PSI. The house is on a 5000 watt PV system so the recirc power is courtesy of the sun. You gotta love the no guilt long showers;).
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: How much should a solar power water heater cost installed?

    Propane tanks are only filled to ~80% at ~20C to allow for expansion. Anything over 80% and the expansion can be great enough to trigger the relief valve, causing gas to vent to atmosphere. (Wasteful and potentially dangerous!)

    A simple home made flat plate collector, using store bought parts that will yield ~50 gal of 50f rise water (At ~50 degrees north in the summer) will can be built for ~ $1000, less if you are handy. In moderate climates, a flat plate collector, with a freeze protection circ on the controller is pretty easy to do, and doesn't require anything but potable water. I have used them with extended temps ~10f.

    Tony
  • peakbaggerpeakbagger Solar Expert Posts: 341 ✭✭✭
    I am surprised that no one mentioned a heat pump hot water heater. It is lot lower cost up front and cuts the electric cost significantly compared to resistance heat plus the bonus of free dehumidifier
  • JohannJohann Solar Expert Posts: 240 ✭✭✭
    I am surprised that no one mentioned a heat pump hot water heater. It is lot lower cost up front and cuts the electric cost significantly compared to resistance heat plus the bonus of free dehumidifier


    Look at the OP question...''.How much should a solar power water heater cost ?''


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