Solar thermal systems use the sun’s energy to directly heat water and/or spaces for homes and businesses. Solar water heaters use the sun to heat either water or a heat-transfer liquid (such as non-toxic, food-grade propylene glycol) in the collector.
Solar water heating systems usually involve higher initial purchase and installation costs than conventional water heating systems. However, solar water heating usually saves money in the long run by reducing water heating bills between 50% - 80%. Furthermore, solar water heating system owners are protected from possible future fuel shortages and price hikes.
The variables to determine the benefit of a solar heating system are:
- The amount of hot water you use
- Your system's performance
- Your location and solar resource
- Available financing and incentives
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- The cost of conventional fuels (natural gas, oil, and electricity)
- The cost of the fuel you use for your backup water heating system, if you have one.
- Offsetting the need to use traditional, carbon-emitting sources
- Noiseless and pollution-free energy generated on-site