Certified Energy ManagerĀ®
Text Size

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Do solar hot water systems work in New York?

Yes, New York receives sufficient sun to make a solar hot water heating system an attractive financial investment!

Do the solar hot water collectors need to face south?

South facing is the very best and South East and South West are totally acceptable.  Collectors installed facing as far as due East or due West can even be effective.  Typically, collector array sizes are increased for compromises regarding direction or pitch of collectors.  Some solar controllers are designed to operate two arrays, one on the East-facing roof and one on the West-facing roof.

Do I have to put the collectors on my roof?

No, there are other options such as ground mounting, wall mounting, or awning systems. Mounting on a garage, barn, shed or outbuilding is also an option.

How long does it take to install a Solar Hot Water system?

Typical residential systems can take about 5 days to install.  Ground mount systems and larger systems can take longer.  We typically schedule our installations on a first come basis, however, installations can be scheduled for specific blocks of time.  Most installs can be started within 7-10 business days after execution of an installation contract.  Needless to say, inclement weather may impact our installation schedule.

How long will the solar hot water system last?

Collectors are typically warrantied for ten years, while water storage tanks are warrantied for six to ten years.  Solar collectors can last beyond 30 years, with regular glycol fluid replacements (every 5-7 years).  Like typical water heaters, storage tanks will usually last 12 to 18 years.  System components such as circulators, controllers and valves are typically very reliable and are easily serviced or replaced as needed.

What size system will I need?

During our free site evaluation we work with you to determine what size system will meet your needs.  Factors such as the number of occupants in the home, space heating goals, the type of water fixtures that are regularly used (ie.,large tubs or Jacuzzis) and the type of primary water heating system are factored in, when determining sizing.

Will my fuel bill go down? How much can I save?

In a typical home with four occupants relying upon an oil, propane or gas fired boiler with an indirect hot water tank, 25% to 30% of your annual fuel usage may be used to make domestic hot water.  A properly sized solar hot water system can produce 70% or more of your domestic hot water.  This equates to a 15%-20% reduction in expensive oil, propane or gas fuel.  A basic two-panel system can save $700-$1,000 per year.

If you are currently making hot water with a tank-less coil in an oil, propane or gas boiler, your saving can be even greater, as the boiler needs to remain hot, year round.

Electric water heating is the most expensive approach, so adding solar hot water to assist in these cases will provide the most savings.  A basic two-panel system can save $800 to $1,200 per year.

Larger systems providing space heating or pool heating can save significantly more.

With available tax incentives, and operating savings, simple payback and return on investment can typically be achieved within 4 to 7 years.  With dramatic and ongoing fuel cost escalation, this performance and annual savings will only improve over time.