In a perfect world, if you were buying a new solar heating system you could look on the manufacturer’s website and read: “Solar heating savings: our system will save you $500 per year and pay for itself after 6 years.” Of course, things aren’t that simple. This is because figuring out how much a new heating system will save you compared to your old system mostly depends on factors specific to you and your home. Someone with an especially inefficient, outdated heating system will usually see big savings on their bills after upgrading, while someone with a very high efficiency home will see more modest savings and a longer payback period. Someone living in an area that offers governmental incentives to switch to solar power will obviously have a different experience to someone where there are no incentives. And of course someone in a very warm country will have different savings compared to someone living in a colder climate. That being said, although there is no magic formula to estimate solar heating savings, there are a few factors that you should keep an eye on. Lets take a look.
Solar Heating Savings: The Factors
- Cost of New System: The cost of the new heating system is usually the first thing people think of when figuring out how much they will save. A more expensive system usually takes longer to pay for itself (but not always), so figuring out exactly what it will cost you to upgrade is usually the first step in estimating your savings.
- Compare Energy Efficiency: While most manufacturers won’t be able to tell you what you personally will save with their system, they will be able to tell you how much energy their system produces. For example, at SunPump we have different solar heating models that produce energy ranging from 5 to 15 kilowatts. By looking at old heating bills, you should be able to figure how much energy you need for heating every month. This will allow you to pick the model you need and give you an idea of how much you will save on monthly bills compared to your old system.
- Payback: Figuring out when your system will have paid for itself in savings is possibly the most important question for homeowners thinking of moving to solar heating. If you’ve looked into how much energy you use and you know how much you will save with solar heating, you should be able to estimate how long it will take for you to build up savings equal to the original cost of the new system. For example, if you will save $100 per month on bills with a system that cost $5,000, the payback period will be roughly 50 months. After that period has gone by, the heating system has paid for itself and is essentially making you money in savings. Considering that many solar heating systems will last well over 10 years, savings can easily add up to thousands of dollars.
- Incentives: If you live in an area where the government offers incentives for renewable energy heating, you’re in luck. Government incentives really take the sting out of the initial costs of new heating systems, meaning a shorter payback period and a smaller investment from the homeowner. It’s definitely worth looking into – a simple google search for your area should reveal any incentives or schemes that you could sign up for.
- Maintenance: Unfortunately, this is one factor that you probably won’t be able to account for fully. You can be as careful and protective of something as you like, but every now and again accidents happen and a system might need repair. While there’s no real way of predicting if or when this will happen, solar heating systems are remarkably sturdy and are generally extremely low maintenance. For example, the SunPump has only one moving part, meaning that the chances of something going wrong are very slim, to say the least.
And there you have it. Apologies if you were looking for a simple formula that will work across the board for estimating solar heating savings – it just doesn’t exist. To figure out what you will save, you will have to do just a little big of leg work and find out how much energy you use and what that costs with your current system compared to how much the new system will cost (less any incentives). By comparing these figures it should be easy to find out how long the new system will take to pay for itself. Of course, if you want someone to do some of this work for you, you can click here and fill out the form to get a free estimate. It’s an exciting time to be involved with renewable energy – solar heating savings can be dramatic compared to older, outdated systems, saving you money and helping the environment at the same time.