The benefits of a solar hot water system exceed the seemingly prohibitive initial investment to acquire the unit. But given the current state of our atmosphere, the impending scarcity of fossil fuels, the anticipated increases in their cost, and the availability of newer but affordable technology, solar panels are a more logical choice for water and space heating. Below is a list that enumerates the benefits of a solar hot water system.
1. Solar energy is renewable energy. It is widely acknowledged that the present level of fossil fuels would not be able to support all of our energy needs for very long. This is the premise for the shift to more promising sources of energy that could support the world’s population in the future. The sun can be harnessed and exploited, but it will remain a relatively infinite source of power.
2. Solar energy is clean energy. One of the benefits of a solar hot water system is its lack of contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. While many argue that energy derived from the sun does not leave behind any carbon footprint, others point out that the technology used to manufacture solar panels and their accessories are not particularly in keeping with the ‘green’ movement. That is a point to consider, but keep in mind that, with due diligence, the equipment for solar water heater could last up to 30 years. The accumulation of debris will not be as severe when compared to trash left behind by short-lived equipment like gas and electric water heaters.
3. Solar energy is free energy. The benefits of a solar hot water system are not just measured in dollars, although this is one of the many draws to solar power: It is virtually free. Households pay for the conversion of the sun’s power into usable energy at home; hence, solar panels have been traditionally prohibitive. (Although recent market situation indicates that an increasing demand for solar collectors is likely to drive their prices down at a level that most households can afford.) Once the cost of a solar water heater has been paid back, households virtually get hot water for free.
4. Solar energy is accessible regardless of location. One of the benefits of a solar hot water system is it can be installed in locations without access to other sources of energy, like reticulated gas or ground heat. In remote locations that would make installing electricity poles or gas reticulation exceedingly expensive, the households’ only option is to heat water via solar panels, not unlike setting up a satellite dish to get television or Internet. While it would be more financially feasible to install solar collectors in places that naturally get abundant sunlight, solar collectors cannot be readily discounted in areas that do not get as much. At the very least, solar water heaters can be complemented with natural gas or ground heat to make up for days that are overcast or freezing.