On average, about 18% of home energy consumption is for water heating, the second largest consumer behind space heating. The primary technology used to do this is the tank-type water heater (both gas- and electric-powered), but solar water heating can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water.
Michigan-based Great Lakes Electric has a solar hot water product with evacuated tubes that allows for creative building-integrated solar hot water. By releasing the restriction of roof mounting, as with typical solar hot water products, GLE’s unit allows for more innovative placement and ends the worries of roof penetrations and units looking like large black rooftop tarps.
California-based EchoFirst, formerly known as PVT Solar, makes an interesting Echo solar system that I noticed locally on the Solaris homes (Style A/Style B) in Daybreak, Utah. It’s the kind of system that could work wonders for a lot of homes because Echo delivers more than just electricity from photovoltaic panels. Echo captures air from under the panels to provide home heating, home cooling, water heating, and fresh air ventilation.