If you are thinking about installing a solar panel system on your home, you may be wondering whether solar electricity or solar hot water is the way to go. There are probably several factors that you are thinking about:
- Return on investment
- Energy savings
- Tax rebates and incentives
Comparing solar electricity (photovoltaic, or PV panels) to solar hot water systems, you can stand to save a lot of money with both. In general, solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity for use throughout your home. Using PV panels, you draw less on the grid and pay less to your electrical utility. On the other hand, solar thermal panels save you money on the energy required to heat water for domestic use – bathing, washing dishes, laundry and more.
Here is a brief introduction to solar hot water:
For homeowners considering solar, solar hot water is less expensive than solar electricity systems. In fact, many people make the switch to solar by going with solar thermal panels, rather than PV panels. As a result, the return on investment for solar hot water is shorter than for traditional solar panels (5-8 years, compared to 10-15 years).
On the other hand, solar PV panels can save you significantly more money and energy over the life of a system. Plus, with grid-tied systems, you can get credit on your utility bill for excess solar power generated via net metering. Because all water heated with a solar hot water system is used on-site, there is no opportunity to extend your savings by selling excess solar-heated water to your community.
There are currently more options for financing solar PV panels than solar hot water systems, including solar panel leasing. But both types of solar panels boost the value of your home and help you reduce your carbon footprint, while saving you money on your monthly utility bills.
So – whether you switch to solar electricity or solar hot water, you’re making a smart investment. What would you do?