Statistics indicate that almost 18% of energy in an average American household goes to heating water. Now, that’s quite a huge percentage. By extension, this translates to massive power bills. And because your home can barely survive without hot water, it makes perfect sense to find an affordable and sustainable way to heat your water.
One of the ways you can use to cut down utility costs is to invest in a solar panel. Even then, you must know what you are getting into before deciding to go the solar panel way. What follows is a rundown of both the upside and downside of solar panels for heating water.
Zero Cost – Ideally, a solar panel uses the energy from the sun. In essence, this means that you won’t be paying a cent to use the power. All you need to do is to figure out how to fine-tune your panel to optimize its performance even in cloudy weather.
You’ll Save Space – If you don’t have enough room to mount a solar PV panel, then your safest bet is to go for a thermal panel. An average home of two to four family members will require 2 to 3 panels with dimensions of 2 by 1 meter to heat water. On the other hand, you will need anywhere between 10 to 16 solar PV panels to heat water for the same household which might be the problem if you have limited space or if most of your roof is in the shade.
Efficiency – One of the primary reasons solar panels far outweigh any other form of energy when it comes to heating water is the efficiency they bring to the fore. More specifically, solar panels convert up to 80% radiation into heat energy.
Cheap Installation – You will spend a lot less to install a solar panel in comparison to a PV panel for instance. Also, the fact that you need fewer panels to heat water translates to having more money in your wallet.
Safe for the Environment – The world is going green, and there is no greener energy than the one from solar panels. It has zero emission and lower carbon footprint.
Rebates – The law allows you to claim a bonus every year if you’re using a solar panel or any form of green energy for that matter. The idea behind this incentive is to encourage more homeowners to embrace renewable energy.
There are Limits as to what you can do with Solar Panels – You can only use solar panels to heat water. Solar PV panels, however, can generate electricity which you can then use to heat the water and for other applications.
Maintenance Costs – Sure, solar panels will help save you some money, but you have to contend with regular maintenance costs. You have to check your panels regularly to ensure there is no freezing not to mention replacing of parts. Remember, failure to carry out maintenance procedures on your solar panels may lead to a breakdown of your entire water heating system.
Other than that, you will have to install a new water cylinder in your home to help you maximize your solar panel heating ability.
As stated, heating water is expensive, but you can always find a better alternative. We reckon that a solar panel is indeed an affordable way to help you run your tankless water heater without spending too much on energy costs. The only thing you need to remember is that you have to mount the correct number of solar panels to meet the power requirement of your heating system.
We recommend that you get a professional installer to do the mounting for you. He or she will check how many panels your roof can handle and advice on how efficient the panels will be. You may consider combining the solar panels with PV panels if the space on your roof allows it. The idea is to use some of the electricity generated by PV panel to top the solar ones to ensure that you tankless heater achieves the temperatures that you require. Again, your installer should be in a position to advise you on the same.