On average, water heating is the second largest energy expenditure behind heating and cooling, according to information on the Energy Star website. Folks spend anywhere from $400-$600 per year on water heating, so it’s a good area to scrutinize when trying to save energy at home. In South Carolina, thanks to a grant from the state energy office, 60 homes received a shiny, new Velux solar water heating system to showcase the benefits of this technology.
Southern Energy Management, a certified B corporation (SEM), partnered with Velux to install the systems at a rate of one per day. One system recipient, Ken Newell, said, “anything that can save money is a real godsend. I’m going to be very interested to see my power bill,” according to a press release.
His power bill will certainly fall. The average water-heating bill drops about 50-80% upon the installation of a solar water heater, according to the Department of Energy.
Central Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (CEPCI) will monitor 25 installations for a year to track how much solar hot water is produced and how much electricity is saved. CEPCI will then use that information to help local customers understand the potential energy savings that can be captured with solar water heating.
In support of the economic proposition, there is a 30% federal tax credit for the purchase and installation of qualifying solar water heating systems placed in service through the end of 2016. On top of that, there may be state and local incentives that make these systems even more financially attractive.