Technology is available, with some great rebates, for solar-powered water heaters


by Christine Wright

Posted on November 5, 2009 at 3:31 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 6 at 12:18 PM

(WHAS11) - More and more people are going solar to power their homes. But a lot of people are still in the dark about solar power for water heaters.

The technology is there, along with some great rebates.

Lincoln Kennedy, a solar water heater owner, said of his newly-installed solar water heater, “It’s really worth the investment. We’ve got hot water all the time.

We’ve got a lot of it and our bills have shown a decrease.” Kennedy is like many Americans turning to solar, not only save money, but also to help the environment.

More and more people, even those who don’t have a need to replace a water heater are going to the solar option. Mike Donley, with Donley Service Center, said that in the last year they’ve hooked up at least 100 solar water heaters.

They use an active, closed-loop system that includes a panel and eighty gallon tank. “This system is charged with a glycol that is basically an anti-freeze, but an environmentally friendly anti-freeze and that’s what is pumped into up into the panel.

It’s heated and goes into the tank; there is a heat exchange that the glycol goes around the tank, it heats up the tank and the water gets hot. It’s obviously green. You’re off the grid, so to speak, with your electricity to heat your water,” said Donley.

The biggest reason people still don’t turn to solar is the cost. But according to Donley, taking advantage of the rebates will put money back in your pocket in no time.

”The costs are reduced up to 8% by a tax credit, which is 30% of the cost of the system. And then the utility rebates can be as much; on our system, it can be as much as $2,100. And the rebate from the utility, you can get back in four to six weeks.” Donley said people can see the full payback on their solar system in three to five years.

“We can make it affordable, almost the same price as changing a water heater.” As for Kennedy, he researched the benefits of solar and believes he made the right choice to make the switch now. “All in all, it was a worthwhile investment that’s going to last in this house another ten to fifteen years.”