Solar Water Heating Pays For Itself Five Times Over

An analysis of the engineering and economics for a solar water-heating system shows it to have a payback period of just two years, according to researchers in India.

The current focus in the developed world is on advanced technological approaches to alternative energy sources, such as photovoltaic cells for solar power and harnessing wind and wave with elaborate systems to generate electricity. However, the cost of such systems may be prohibitive for some applications in the developing world. They also often ignore the fact that a mundane process such as heating water might best be carried out using direct heat from the sun rather than including a waste energy-conversion step.

They have compared solar hot-water production per liter with electrical energy approaches and found that solar heating is 57 percent of the internal rate of return.

“Solar energy is the only renewable energy source that has wide range of uses with commercial viability. Solar energy provide water heating, air heating and electricity through various modes of applications. The use of solar energy for thermal purposes is the most cost-effective way of utilizing the resource. A solar water heating system satisfies the need of warm water,” the researchers explain.

Thinking about it. May even go that route before I can get round to saving enough for photo-voltaics for electricity.

2 thoughts on “Solar Water Heating Pays For Itself Five Times Over

  1. solarkent says:

    Solar Water Heating is surely the most cost effective way of utilising solar energy, however there seems to be too much of a focus on the use of an engineered high cost solution. This means that in developing countries, in particular those nearer the equator, peopl eon lower incomes simply take the view they can’t afford the solar panels or tubes that are necessary in colder northern areas. In India there are simpler and more appropriate ways of using the sun to heat water!

    In the UK, solar Water heating requires lots of technology and a relatively high cost to get what heat is available from summer sunshine. You can see this in websites such as and my own However, the further south the greater the energy from the sun and the less technology needed.

    When living in Pakistan, G-6-3 in Islamabad I set up my own simple solar water heating. A very long length of black plastic hose that I coiled on my roof. The length worked as a water store in itself. One end was connected to the mains (actually my roof mounted water tank) the other came to the kitchen to its own hot water tap. It works! Okay you can only use a pipe lengths worth of water but on a sunny day its sometimes less than an hour to heat up again! It doesn’t work in the winter nor at night. Also we only used it for washing. Had I stayed longer we would have used it for bathing.

    The cost, well I think it was about 30 metres of pipe and a few fittings and a tap. A hole drilled through the wall and a join into the outlet from my roof tank. Certainly a tiny fraction of what I paid for my hot water panels in the UK!

    Basically, don’t look at modern ‘technological’ solar water heating and say you can’t afford it. Go for the appropriate option.

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