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.