Install a solar water heater

Why? A solar water heater can be a great investment. They typically cost more than standard water heaters, but can save you money over time through lower operating costs. A solar water heating system can reduce water heating costs by 50-75% on average.

Things to think about: Before installing a solar water heater, make certain that the site you are considering receives enough sunlight and is unobstructed by tree cover. Also consider the site's exposure because areas facing south tend to receive the most sunlight. Your contractor or solar system supplier can perform a solar site analysis or you can do it yourself.

What to look for in a system:

  • The correct size. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a 50-60 gallon storage tank is sufficient for 1-2 people, and a 80 gallon tank is appropriate for 3-4 people. Your contractor should help you choose the right size, also consult the Department of Energy.
  • Adequate backup support. Depending on how much sun you receive on your property, you may want to add backup support for your new solar water heater. These systems can be paired with either conventional or demand (tankless) water heaters depending on how they are configured. Talk with your contractor about your options.

What to look for in a contractor:

  • Experience installing solar water heaters (the more years, the better).
  • A valid plumber and/or solar contractor license.

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Tax Incentives: If your new solar water heating system meets certain efficiency requirements, you could be eligible for a federal tax credit equal to 30% of the system's price. Credit is offered through the 2021 tax year. Visit www.energystar.gov to learn more, or contact your tax professional for current information. You may also want to check for tax credits or rebates from your county or state.