Should PV Dealers Sell Solar Hot WaterAdam
The simple answer to this question is yes, you should. And there are many reasons for this.
First and foremost should be that your customers are asking about it. Chances are when you are out discussing PV to a potential customer/client, they may bring up Solar Thermal (Hot Water). There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that Solar Thermal is generally more efficient, cost-effective, and far more affordable than PV.
Solar Hot Water Systems have a much lower entry cost than PV Systems. Typically, the average household can install a Domestic Solar Hot Water System for under $5,000, offsetting more than 50% of their annual water heating costs – a savings of hundreds of dollars. To match these savings with a PV System, an initial investment of tens-of-thousands of dollars would be required – not to mention applications for net metering and connection to the electric utility.
There are no such requirements with Solar Hot Water Systems.
Additionally, Solar Hot Water Systems make better use of the available roof space than a PV System. A typical Solar Hot Water System will produce the equivalent of 600 watts per square meter, while a PV System will produce only 100 watts in the same space.
Justifying the Cost of Solar Hot Water
The cost of a Solar Hot Water System is often best justified when compared to the operating cost of a traditional water heater. An electric water heater can cost $300-400 per year (or more) to operate for a typical household. A gas System, is not much less expensive – typically between $200-300 per year, a propane water heater will be even higher than that. When properly sized, a Solar Hot Water System can cut between 60 and 90% of this cost starting the very first year.
Solar Hot Water for New Construction
A recent survey of new home buyers shows that 78% of those surveyed would have seriously considered a solar system for their home if it had been recommended by their home builder. Another 40% said they would have paid a premium price, averaging $21 a month, on their mortgages just to have the solar system. (Source – NREL: National Renewable Energy
Financial Incentives for Home Buyers
There are several key advantages for home buyers to choose a solar system. First and foremost, by incorporating a Solar Hot Water System can generally qualify a home for an EPA Five-Star Energy Efficiency Mortgage, which offers more favorable mortgage terms, an increased debt-to-income ratio and even cash back bonuses at closing. And, with the lower energy bills, the solar home buyer can afford to include additional housing upgrades – for the same monthly payments, a solar home buyer gets more for their money that a standard home buyer. And even if they choose a standard mortgage, by rolling the cost of their solar hot water system into the mortgage, they will save more in energy costs every month than they will increase their mortgage payments.
Pre-Packaged Systems vs Component Systems
Are you better off offering pre-packaged solar hot water systems from a solar company, or piecing together a system from a number of different components. Generally, a pre-packaged system will save you time and money, meaning a more profitable installation with less hassle, limited field integration problem and a happier, satisfied solar hot water system owner. These pre-packaged systems are great for new installers who are just learning the ropes of the solar hot water field. However, as you grow in the industry, you may find that your prefer using individual components to create customer solar hot water systems for each of your jobs.
Offering Solar Hot Water System Repairs
SunMaxx strongly recommends that you do not offer to maintenance/repair older, outdated solar hot water systems. These older systems can have components that are no longer available. For this reason, it is recommended that the home owner upgrade and install a new SunMaxx Solar Hot Water System instead of repairing their outdated system.