As prices seem to be rising in nearly aspect of our life, Americans are constantly hoping to catch some sort of break. Well, little do many know, solar-powered conversions are a great start to making that catch. By changing from a conventional water heater to a solar-powered water heater, not only are you helping save the environment – you’re helping to save yourself money!
According to mechanical engineers at the University of Wisconsin’s Solar Energy Laboratory, an average four-person household with an electric water heater needs about 6,400 kilowatt hours of electricity per year to heat their water. Assuming the electricity is generated by a typical power plant with an efficiency of around 30 percent, it means that the average electric water heater is responsible for about eight tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is almost double that emitted by a typical modern automobile. The same family of four using either a natural gas or oil-fired water heater will contribute about two tons of CO2 emissions annually in heating their water.
Surprising as it may seem, analysts believe that the annual total CO2 produced by residential water heaters throughout North America is roughly equal to that produced by all of the cars and light trucks driving around the continent. Another way of looking at it is: If half of all households used solar water heaters, the reduction in CO2 emissions would be the same as doubling the fuel-efficiency of all cars.
Having half of all households use solar water heaters might not be such a stretch. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), there are 1.5 million solar water heaters already in use in U.S. homes and businesses. Solar water heater systems can work in any climate – even that temperamental New England weather, and EESI estimates that 40 percent of all U.S. homes have sufficient access to sunlight, such that 29 million additional solar water heaters could be installed right now!!
Another great reason to switch to a solar water heater is financial savings. With savings in electricity or natural gas, solar water heaters pay for themselves within four to eight years. And solar water heaters last between 15 and 40 years – the same as conventional systems – so after that initial payback period is up, zero energy cost essentially means having free hot water for years to come.
Additionally, in 2005 the U.S., including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, began offering homeowners tax credits of up to 30% of the cost of installing a solar water heater. The credit is not available for swimming pool or hot tub heaters, and the system must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation.
So after all these reasons, why not look into installing a solar-powered hot water system into your house? Check local companies, such as Repower Home Energy Solutions, today!