Vermont Solar Water Heater Initiative to Reduce Upfront Costs

Photo courtesy of Sunward Systems

Photo courtesy of Sunward Systems

How much hot water does your household or business use every day? Think about it: showers, dishwashers, washing machines, sinks…it all adds up. In fact, the average household spends between 14% and 18% of their total utility budget on heating water, making it the second largest expense in the home.

But a solar water heater can significantly reduce energy bills. Solar water heaters are about 50% more efficient than any gas or electric water heater, because all of their power comes from the sun.

How Much Money Does a Solar Water Heater Save?

Studies show that solar water heaters can save between 50% and 70% of annual water heating costs. If you properly maintain your equipment by insulating pumps and tanks, promptly fixing any leaks, and using energy-efficient appliances, that number can increase over time. The life expectancy of a solar water heater is about 20 years—compare that to the life expectancy of a storage water heater, which is only about 10 years.

Read on to find out about the new initiative from Efficiency Vermont that will significantly reduce the upfront costs of a solar water heater installation!

How Do Solar Water Heaters Work?

You can read all about how solar water heaters work on our Solar Water Heaters page, but here’s a brief overview:

Solar water heaters use solar collectors, mounted on your roof or on the ground, to collect heat from the sun, which heats your water storage tanks.

Because our state is prone to freezing temperatures, the most effective type of solar water heater in Vermont is an indirect circulation system. Indirect circulation systems have pumps that circulate a non-freezing, heat transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home or business.

How Do I Get Started?

Sunward Solar Frame-mount

Photo courtesy of Sunward Systems

Right now is the perfect time to get started with a solar water heater. At the end of the summer, Efficiency Vermont and Sunward Systems announced an initiative to help more homeowners install solar water heating systems in their homes. People who take advantage of the program receive some great benefits:

  • The program will reduce the upfront cost of solar water heaters by $1,600 for all systems installed before November 30, 2014.
  • There is also a 30% federal tax credit for these systems in effect through 2016, but through the current Efficiency Vermont program, this credit only applies to systems installed before the November 30th deadline.
  • An additional $450 per panel rebate applies to this package through Vermont’s Clean Energy Development Fund.

Only systems installed by companies approved by Renewable Energy Vermont are eligible for this discount. ARC Mechanical Contractors is an approved Vermont Solar Thermal Provisional Partner, so contact us today if you are interested in finding out whether a solar water heating system is right for you.