Hello future SolarDweller:
When you think of solar power, its smart, more efficient and cheaper to think solar hot water heater before you think of installing those silicon-based solar panels to power your home with electricity. Ideally, solar hot water AND solar electricity would be a part of your home's energy mix, but if you take it step by step, you get more energy bang for your buck by starting out with solar hot water.
From a T.V. news report out of Florida . . . .
Federal government offers tax break for solar power heating systems
Last Update: 1/3/2006 2:33:18 PM
Soaking up the sunshine is nothing new to Floridians, and now the federal government hopes you'll take full advantage of the constant rays. Beginning this year, the government is offering a 30% tax break on new solar heating systems.
It's wonderful, says Mark Glenn. It's what the industry's been waiting for, for years.
Glenn owns American Solar Energy in Jacksonville. HeÂs had a solar water heater in his home for the past decade and says he's saving big bucks.
ÂWith a hot water system, what we do is lower the homes operating cost by taking over the water heating cost by 80-90%, which comes out to the average consumer anywhere from $30-50 in savings per month or $400-600 per year in energy savings.
Glenn says after incentives, a solar water heater can cost as little as $1,500. By comparison, a regular hot water will run between $400-600.
While a solar water heater system can look complicated, they're really quite simple. Water in one tank is transported by pipes up to the roof where it's warmed using solar panels. Water then comes back down the pipes into the tank at a warm temperature, all warmed by the sun.
As long as there is sun on the solar panels, it continues to circulate and it will raise the temperature of the tank anywhere from 50 to 70 degrees over what the tank temp started at, says Glenn.
Of course, water temperatures aren't the only thing soaring. Fuel costs are on the rise a swell, which is why Glenn believes we're going to see a dramatic increase in the use of solar energy, thanks to Mother Nature and now the federal government.
For the past three years, JEA has also offered incentives to consumers switching to solar systems.
SO, really pay attention, SolarDweller, if the continuing increase in the price of natural gas has you thinking about the future economic squeeze you'll feel when your water's getting heated up in your old-fashioned natural gas-fired water heater.
Compare the prices: to get started with an average size 2 kilowatt solar panel electricity system for a single-family home, you'll spend about $11,000 in California, after the state solar rebate and the NEW federal tax credit of $2,000 for residential installations. (This doesn't seem expensive to me for the huge benefit and satisfaction that you're producing mean, green clean electricity, and avoiding sending all those greenhouse gases into the air, day after day, year after year)
--but hey, I'm fanatically into this solar/green revolution idea, being a future SolarDweller... I understand that many green-minded people might get a little sticker shock before plunking down $11,000 to produce their own electricity. So, DO your hot water with solar for as little as $1500. BONUS!!! This little baby could save you $30-50 per month. Your return on invesmeaslys a measley 2- 4 years. It's all paid off, with many future years to come of water heated by the sun!
Now that's a sweet no-brainer.