Residential Solar Hot Water FAQ

Can a solar water heating system be used in place of a traditional gas or electric heating system?

A: In order to ensure proper efficiency of your water heating system, a solar energy system must usually be used in conjunction with a traditional gas or electric heating system, rather than as an alternative to a traditional system. While it is possible to size a system to provide a 100% solution, the best return on investment occurs when a system is sized to provide most of the hot water, most of the time.

 

Do solar thermal systems produce hot water in the winter?

A: Solar water heating systems will operate and produce hot water during the winter months but may require anti-freeze protection where applicable.

 

Do solar thermal systems produce hot water on a cloudy/overcast day?

A: Solar water heating systems will be able to provide water heating during cloudy or overcast days, but may require the use of traditional gas or electric heating system to produce required temperatures.

 

Can I use a solar collector with my existing hot water system?
A: Most often times solar collectors can be used with an existing system by utilizing a simple solar conversion valve that connects to your existing water tank.

 

What happens if one of the solar tubes is broken?
A: The tubes are very strong and not easily broken, but can be replaced very easily should one break due to extreme conditions. They are inexpensive and available though Alliance Energy Group. One advantage of evacuated tubes systems is that breakage will typically disable only a single tube instead of an entire collector as would be the case with a flat plate design, the system will continue to produce hot water with one or even several broken tubes. There is no leakage from the system as a result of a broken tube.

 

What is the payback/ROI of the system?

A: Depending on factors including geographic location of the system, incentives or rebates, insolation levels (amount of solar radiation) in that area and annual usage of the system, an average household of 4 can expect to recover the cost of a solar system within 4 to 6 years.

 

What is the life of the solar collector systems?

A: Solar water heating systems have a life expectancy of greater than 20 years with a manufacturer's warranty of 10 years.

 

Do solar heating systems require any maintenance?

A: Maintenance of the system is negligible; however, an annual assessment of the solar water heating system is recommended to help to maintain efficiency levels and to help avoid potential long term problems with the system.

 

If I order a solar water heating system, what do I get?

A: All units can be provided as a complete system with all components included to install and operate the system, including water storage tank.

 

 How much does a solar system cost?

A: A fully installed solar thermal system which can provide enough hot water for a family of four costs in the range of $5000 - $6000 before state and federal rebates/incentives.