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Technology has advanced to such a level that most modern homes can easily and affordably create the majority of their hot water supplies directly through sunlight. This would be done through the use of a solar water heater which is capable of operating in any climate. For this discussion we will look at the costs and requirements for sizing and installing a solar hot water system for domestic use.
While "passive" systems are less expensive, they are not as efficient as the "active" varieties, and for this discussion we will consider the installation of an active closed loop solar water heater suitable for all areas of the world, even those prone to freezing. This is a project that will cost between $6000 and $17000 depending upon the size of the system and the needs of the household, along with any additional considerations, such as the use of radiant heating.
Solar hot water heater installation isn't a DIY project and according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the "proper installation of solar water heaters depends on many factors. These factors include solar resources, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues; therefore, it's best to have a qualified, solar thermal systems contractor install your system".
What needs to be included:
The wisest course of action for any solar hot water heater installation is to work with a licensed contractor who can accurately determine the appropriately-sized system for the home. Always request references, obtain information about warranties, and seek at least three bids before selecting the provider. It is also essential to understand the SEF or solar energy factor of the system to ensure that it will function at optimal efficiency as well.
For the solar hot water heater installation, the following issues and tasks must be considered:
Cost to install a solar water heater varies greatly by region (and even by zipcode). Get free estimates from solar energy contractors in your city.