Does it make sense to heat your water with solar?

March 14, 2019

We get many people inquiring about heating their water with solar. * Guelph Solar started out 10  years ago as a solar thermal system installer, but as incentives have changed over the years and natural gas prices have been very low, in today’s environment solar electric as part of net metering has become the BEST business case for many reasons.
For a few years now very few people have been installing solar hot water systems (SHW) as the trend has moved toward installing solar PV systems instead as the cost of solar electric without any incentives is now cheaper than the cost of electricity in Ontario even at today’s fair hydro rates and the business case will only get stronger as rate hikes take effect! It is also possible to store your electricity on the grid for free with net metering and there are many limits to storing your solar thermal power.

What are the other benefits to solar electric net metering compared to SHW?

  •  There is very little long-term maintenance required on solar PV compared to SHW due to having fewer moving parts and no glycol fluid needing to move through pipes with a much lower chance of component failure.
  • There are much longer warranties on the main PV components on solar electric systems than on SHW.
  • Performance on solar electric systems can be measured much more reliably than on SHW systems with less worry about matching usage to every month's requirements as with net metering credits can be carried over up to 12 months.
  • A solar electric system can offset more of your hot water electrical usage per dollar invested so you get more bang for your buck!

 Installing an efficient electric water heater such as a heat pump water heater combined with solar PV is a cost effective and environmentally friendly investment that will lower your energy usage and offset those costs by generating your own clean energy for many years.

 What steps do you need to take before making this decision?  Do you need building permits?  A roof assessment?  What is the cost?

If you send your hydro bills we can provide a business case for your solar electric usage.  Both solar electric and solar thermal require building permits which is something we will do for you to make going solar as simple as possible.  We can do an initial assessment using online tools. The cost of the solar thermal system is about $7000 depending on how much hot water you use.  We can give you an estimate for the solar electric once we see your bills. The turnkey cost ranges from $16,000-30,000.

 * To note this blog refers to solar hot water systems for your home and not pool. Heating your pool with solar is very rather a very cost effective solution!

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