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Solar Water Heaters

Solar hot water systems use thermal energy from direct sunlight to heat water for the building. They are commonly used for pools and household plumbing. Here’s how it works: fluid passes through heat exchangers in the solar collector. Some systems have tanks attached directly to the solar panels which accumulate solar heat. Alternatively, tankless systems heat the water passing through directly as needed. Solar water heaters provide a highly efficient substitute for standard water heaters.

As for costs, solar systems only cost a little more in materials and installation. However, the benefits are outrageous! A building owner can expect to save 50%-80% on water bills, says Energy.gov. Of course, this depends on how much water is used, operation/maintenance costs, and the efficiency of the system. When selecting your system, pick one with a low solar energy factor (1-3). Talk to the manufacturer about O&M costs.

Title 24 Regulations

If you’re planning to install solar water heating systems, speak with an energy consultant about Energy Code guidelines. Thankfully, consulting is a service BarrierEnergy provides. Everything about the system, from storage volume to solar savings, must be approved. So, it’s best to get advice while you’re in the planning phase. 

Once selected, a HERS technician will record the manufacturers’ information as well as all the specifications onto the Certificate of Compliance. After installation, a licensed technician will certify that the system was installed according to the manufacturers’ recommendations and state guidelines.

Use for Solar Panel Exemptions

Another bonus of solar water heaters pertains to solar panel requirements in California. You may be aware that CA requires solar panels to be installed on newly constructed buildings. Although, solar hot water systems can present an exception to this rule. In some instances, you can get solar exemptions by installing other efficient systems in lieu. Therefore, instead of installing an entire solar roofing system, you may be able to get away with a solar water heating system instead. Once again, you’ll need to verify this with an expert consultant. They can crunch the numbers for you to make sure the property is still meeting mandatory efficiency scores. Talk to one of our specialists, based out of Santa Barbara, today.

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