As the hot water in your house accounts for 50% of your electricity consumption, this in my opinion is the ideal place to start reducing your reliance on the energy grid. A solar water heater is a relatively easy DIY project and is probably the cheapest sustainable solution in energy consumption. I personally steer clear of commercial manufacturers as I feel that one of the main culprits of the environmental decay that we see in the world today is paying for someone else to shoulder the burden of your responsibility.
It doesn’t seem realistic that everyone would have the means to pay for a PV electrical system. The cost of panels and inverter can near a cost of $10,000. Although like any investment it will eventually pay for itself through little or no electrical bill; also a couple thousand may be refunded to the purchaser through tax credits. However the initial cost is comparable to purchasing a new car, a purchase most cannot make without financing. If there was enough demand for solar power it is possible that solar energy companies could achieve economy of scale, in which their high volume of customers allows them to significantly reduce the price.
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Much like LCD TVs and other electronics were when they first came out, installing a solar system in your home at present is terribly expensive, numbering in the thousands. Most people these days don’t have that kind of cash lying around, and most don’t want to add to any debt they may already have. It also comes down to supply and demand; right now, the demand is too low to warrant manufacturers from lowering prices, and so most people do not want to pay that upfront cost. Other political issues are also hurting the chances of falling costs, in which solar energy is said to be too inefficient for today’s power needs. As demand grows, the costs will fall.
To find the right answer for this question let’s take a closer look at what energy costs in your home can be replaced with solar and how effective they generally are.
Solar Hot Water and Space Heating
Solar hot water and space heating is one of the simplest ways to harness the power of the sun. It requires a solar collector, a tank on your roof, and the necessary connections to circulate heated water throughout your home. It’s about 80% cheaper than installing solar panels and can pay for itself within 2-3 years instead of 20.
What You Need for Solar Heating
There are two different types of solar heating installations – a passive installation that circulates water directly from the solar collector throughout your home without any pumps or motors, and an active installation that pumps cold water into the collector and hot water into your hot water tank where it can be stored for later use. The simplest to install and least expensive is a passive system because it requires fewer parts, less maintenance and no permits. However, you should still be careful when installing a passive solar hot water system, if only because you’re working with active pipes in your home.
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