Summer 2011 Top Ten Lists for Renewable Energy
ELE 333 Sustainability Design
Instructor: Bethany Johnson
Solar Hot Water
by: Ellen Buckman
1. The government supports it: the Government’s Investment Tax Credit (ITC) offers a tax credit
for 30% of the cost of investing in solar energy technology which includes solar hot water
systems through 2016.
2. It’s cost effective: estimates show that the “payback” period for investing in solar hot water is
typically less than 10 years, and often less than that.
3. It can be straightforward: “passive” systems are the simplest and are best for warm climates.
Passive systems are totally self-regulated by solar heat and thermosyphoning.
4. It can work in cold climates: “active” systems designed to accommodate cold/freezing
climates. Active systems are slightly more complicated and expensive than passive ones
and require some power current for regulation (though this can also be solar powered).
5. It’s not a total replacement: Solar water heating systems still need more traditional back-up
systems in the case of cloudy days or limited sunlight.
6. It’s international: In 2009, China used more than 7 times more solar thermal power than the
US. The European Union used 3 times more than we did, putting us in 3rd place.
7. It’s regulated: The Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC) certifies and rates solar
thermal systems and equipment.
8. You can DIY: There are solar water heating kits available to purchase and install yourself, as
well as system plans online that all you to select and customize your own.
9. It’s older thank you think: Levi Yissar built the first solar water heating prototype in Isreal in
10. It lasts a long time: Solar hot water systems do require maintenance over time, but they have
a life expectancy of up t0 40 years. That is nearly 3.5 times the life expectancy of traditional
hot water heaters.