Solar Thermal: What is it and how can it help your property?

As the prices for solar panels drop and government tax credits stay high, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are as popular as ever. But did you know that there is another type of solar technology that can reduce your water heating bills? While solar PV converts the energy of the sun’s rays into electricity, solar thermal technology works by capturing and transferring the heat of the sun to your hot water supply. Transferring the sun’s energy into heat is more effective than generating electricity, so when you consider the overall investment, solar thermal systems provide a greater return, often with reduced investment compared to what a solar photovoltaic system would cost. A solar thermal water heating system can help reduce your property’s carbon footprint and utility bill, and by combining federal tax credits and PG&E rebates, solar thermal may be a cost-effective water heating option for your property.

How does solar thermal work?

Solar Thermal

Benefits of solar thermal

  • Lower Utility Bills: With a solar thermal system installed, solar-heated water is used first, your gas or electric water heater is utilized only when demand is high. Solar thermal can reduce water heating costs by up to 80%.
  • Longevity of Equipment: Solar thermal systems last approximately 25 years. Compare that to a conventional water heater’s life of approximately 8 to 12 years.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Solar thermal reduces your carbon footprint, saves electricity and gas, and allows you to market your property as environmentally friendly.

Coordination with PG&E’s Solar Thermal program

PG&E’s Solar Thermal program offers incentives to properties for the installation of a new solar thermal heating system. Program incentives coupled with federal tax credits can cover up to 75% of system costs, whereas the incentives for solar PV systems are no longer available. So, consider a solar thermal water heating system when considering a solar system on your property. Reach out to the MUP team, and find out if solar thermal water heating is a good fit for your property.