Floridians see their electric bills go through the roof during July, August and September and don’t need to be told that air conditioning uses a lot of electricity. At today’s electric rates (including fuel surcharges and utility taxes) of around 14 to 15 cents per kilowatt hour, water heating can easily cost $800 to $1,200 each year for a three to five person household. In Central Florida, a solar water heater can almost completely eliminate this portion of your electric bill.
Solar water heaters offer many extra benefits
Naturally, switching to solar water heating means going green in a big way. but you might also be surprised to learn that solar water heating gives you benefits that improve upon conventional electric or gas water heaters:
Which home energy uses are the most expensive?
The pie chart below shows where the money goes in a typical Florida family’s annual electric bill. The chart is based upon an electric power consumption study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The “typical” Florida household and energy use pattern shown above is based upon these factors:
Is your hot water use average?
Actually, an active American family of four is probably closer to 100 gallons per average day and just over $1,000 per year at 14 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Because incoming solar radiation—called insolation—is often interrupted by cloudy or rainy weather and fluctuates in intensity with seasonal changes in the sun’s position in the sky, solar water heating systems are usually sized to collect and store an entire 24 hours or more worth of energy to meet hot water demand. A modern solar water heating system storage tank will usually have a backup electric heating element to meet unusual peaks in hot water use or extended periods of very cloudy or rainy weather.