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Installing a Solar-powered Heater: Why my parents might consider it.

October 14, 2010

With efforts towards building a “greener” community increasing, solar-powered water heaters are growing in popularity. Despite the brough, ha ha, they’re not cheap.

Solar-powered water heaters typically cost between $7,000 to $10,000.  And in some cases, it can take as long as 12 years for any of the savings accumulated to offset the installation expenses.

This makes investing in a solar-powered water heater if you plan to only live in your house for three to five years seem pointless.  As the economic recession continues to take its toll on society, people are constantly on the move seeking better paying jobs or maybe just a paying job in general.

Although having a sun-powered heater may help with the buy back, you would essentially only gain one-fourth of your initial investment, particularly if you have more itinerant tendencies.

Solar-powered homes are chic, but is it worth it? // Photo courtesy of Stefano Paltera / U.S. Dept. of Energy

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against solar energy. For those who are more settled, solar powered water heaters are a great way to save money and conserve energy.

My parents left their hometowns in New Hampshire and Massachusetts 20 years ago.  Since then, they have lived in the same state, same street, and same house for the past two decades.

In my parent’s situation, installing a solar powered water heater would be a fantastic investment—assuming they installed it shortly after moving to St. Louis.

Not only would they have paid off the entire expense, but they would also be spending little to no money at all for hot water.  The only expense would using the back up water heater on cloudy days when the solar panels cannot capture enough sunlight.

Solar-powered water heaters can be a great addition to any home, but before finalizing your decision to install one, it’s important to look into the future and think, “how long do I really see myself living here?”

What are your thoughts? Would you invest in a solar-powered water heater if you’re not going to be able to recoup the investment?

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