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Solar Water Heater FAQs


How do solar water heating systems work?

  • Solar water heating systems work very similar to solar electric systems, except they don't produce electricity. Solar water heating systems use solar panels to provide hot water for your home or business.

How much do solar water heating systems cost?

  • Solar hot water systems can vary in price from $800 for a simple passive system to $3,500 for a professionally made system. You can get more out of your solar hot water system by installing low flow shower heads and aerators on all your faucets.

Which brand or type of system should I choose?

  • To qualify for the CPS Energy Solar Initiative rebate, solar hot water systems should be new and OG-300 certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation (SRCC).

Is my home a good place for a solar water heating system?

  • The first consideration when installing a solar heating system is the site. If the roof faces south with minimal obstructions and shading, it should be a good candidate for a system. A CPS Energy registered installer can assist you in determining if your roof has the proper orientation for a system. If your roof doesn't have enough space, the system can also be installed on the ground.

Do I need approval from my homeowners' association?

  • Yes. Check with your homeowners association first. If there are covenants and/or restrictions in your neighborhood regarding solar energy systems, you cannot receive a rebate. If your homeowners association is considering allowing such systems and would like more information please have them contact CPS Energy.

Will water be heated on a cloudy day?

  • Yes. Even though the heat output of the solar collector is reduced on cloudy days, it should still provide heating. If it is an especially cloudy or rainy day, then more conventional heating may be required to maintain water at the required temperature. Usually systems can be automated so you don't have to worry about running out of hot water on a rainy day.

How long will my solar water heating system last?

  • If properly designed and installed correctly, a solar water heating systems can last 20 years or more. Most retailers of solar equipment offer warranties that range from five to 10 years. CPS Energy recommends reviewing the warranties offered by different solar equipment retailers before making a final selection.

Do I still have hot water when there is no sunlight?

  • Yes, since almost all solar hot water systems use a backup system. Typically, the backup system is a conventional water heater.

Who will help me apply for the CPS Energy Solar Initiative Rebate?

  • Your chosen CPS Energy Participating Solar Installer will assist in the rebate application process to help secure these rebates for you.

Is solar water heating a viable alternative to gas or electricity?

  • Solar water heating should be used as a supplement to conventional water heating systems. Solar cannot completely replace the need for traditional water heating methods as there are days when there is little sunshine. If sized correctly, a solar hot water system can provide as much as 70% of a household's hot water needs. Systems that provide more than this are unadvisable, as too much heat may be produced during the summer. Solar hot water systems can be automated so hot water is nearly guaranteed regardless of the amount of sunshine.