The Economics of a Solar Water Heater
Solar water heating systems usually cost more to purchase and install than conventional water heating systems. However, a solar water heater will save you money in the long run.
How much money you save depends on the following:
- The amount of hot water you use
- Your system's performance
- Your geographic location and solar resource
- Available financing and incentives
- The cost of conventional fuels (natural gas, oil, and electricity)
- The cost of the fuel you use for your backup water heating system
On average, if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop 50%–80%. Also, because the sun is free, you're protected from future fuel shortages and price hikes.
If you're building a new home or refinancing, the economics are even more attractive. Including the price of a solar water heater in a new 30-year mortgage usually amounts to between $13 and $20 per month.
The federal income tax deduction for mortgage interest attributable to the solar system reduces that by about $3–$5 per month. So if your fuel savings are more than $15 per month, the solar investment is profitable immediately. On a monthly basis, you're saving more than you're paying.
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