Nearly 40 years after California began offering inducements to people to heat their shower water using the sun, Brad Heavner of the California Solar Energy Industries Association still has to remind them the technology even exists. Read more.
The price is a big hurdle. Looks like the cost is $4500 - $5000 and the gas savings is $5-12. Even if the gas price doubles, it would still take way too long to make your money back. Can the system be simplified to only use 1 standard 40-50 gallon tank (instead of the extra 80-gallon tank next to my existing water heater)? When I replace my old rusty water heater, it would be natural to just upgrade to this if the cost/benefits work out. Very few people have room in their garage or house for an extra 80-gallon tank.
Ingrid Lobet Mike • 18 days ago
Mike and Mike, Thank you for the comment. I realize I should have been clearer in the writing. Wilder says his bill dropped down to $5-$12. That is the range of the total monthly bill he pays in the summer.
Thanks for the clarification Ingrid. Without knowing Wilder's original gas costs, it'll be hard to understand how much the savings are. I just checked my bills. In the summer months, I averaged about $11 per month. If my family size doubles, then maybe my gas bill will double to $22 per month. Assuming a $4500 solar water heating system can save me my entire $22 gas bill, it would still take 17 years to break even. The cost/benefit just doesn't add up. I'm all for conservation, but this industry is not having a hard time because people in this state are not green enough. With the sudden glut of domestic shale gas, the cost of gas is just too low for anything else to compete. Combine that with the convenience of already existing gas-distribution infrastructure, there are very few options that can compete with regular ol' natural gas. If the industry can make the systems simpler and cheaper, then it would eventually have a good chance to compete with gas, but right now, it's too difficult.
California Defender • 18 days ago
Manufacturers and installers must come down on the price, or this green technology will never be utilized.
A $7,500 system saving $8/mo in gas will take 78 years to pay for itself.
As of right now, this is just a rich man's toy.
Mike Murphy California Defender • 18 days ago
we put in on on our own some years back, under $400
Mike Murphy • 18 days ago
seems the water here corrodes away any savings in the long run