Skip to main content

Solar Water Heaters

closeup water droplets

Have You Considered a Solar Water Heater?

Solar water heating is a simple, efficient, affordable technology that provides hot water and saves on energy bills.

image demonstrating solar panel directional efficiency

Why Solar Water Heating?

Here are some reasons why you should consider a solar water heater:

  • Affordability. By using a solar water heating system, residents can typically cut their water heating costs by 50 to 80 percent. The average Missouri family of four, spending approximately $455 annually on water heating, would save between $227 and $364 each year. Click here to learn more about our solar water heater rebate. Low-interest solar loans are also available to finance installation.
  • More hot water. Solar water heaters increase the amount of hot water immediately available to you (80-gallon storage).
  • Durability. Solar water systems last 25+ years, when installed and maintained regularly (every four to five years).
  • Efficiency. During peak daylight hours, your solar system is most efficient. However, because the solar-heated water is contained in an insulated storage tank, it is available any time. In fact, a solar water heater can provide a home with more hot water for longer periods of time than traditional gas and electric systems.
  • Increasing demand. The market for solar water heaters is increasing. Solar water heating systems are used by more than 1 million homes and over 200,000 businesses in the United States.

How Much Will I Save?

By using a solar water heating system, residents can typically cut their water heating costs by 50 to 80 percent. The average Missouri family of four, spending approximately $455 annually on water heating, would save between $227 and $364 each year.

How Much Will It Cost to Install?

Upfront costs vary widely and depend on the type of system installed. Typical costs range from $3,000 to $5,000 for a standard home installation. Exact price quotes can only be obtained from the installer.

How Can I Pay for This?

Low-interest solar energy loans are available to Columbia Water & Light electric customers for installation of new solar water heater systems. See our solar water heater rebate page for more information about the money available for solar water heaters.

What Is the Payback Time?

Payback time is a measure of how long it takes for the energy savings to repay the cost of the solar water heater. For example, consider a family of four that spends $455 per year for hot water. The family installs a $4,500 solar water heating system that reduces their annual water heating bills by 65 percent. It will take 15 years for the system to pay for itself. Adding in the federal tax credit of 30 percent (the 2019 tax credit rate), cuts the system cost to $3,150. This will reduce your payback to 10.5 years.

Which System Will I Need?

A family of four needs two 4’ x 8’ collector panels connected to an 80-gallon storage tank. Residents in Missouri will want freeze protection. Both drain-back and non-toxic antifreeze systems offer freeze protection. A back-up heater is needed for cloudy days. Final system choice depends on the specific application and homeowner needs. Call one of our solar contractors for an evaluation.

Myths About Solar Water Heating Systems

Myth: A solar water system cannot provide hot water and at night.

Truth: During peak daylight hours, your solar system is most efficient. However, because the solar heated water is contained in an insulated storage tank, it is available at any time. In fact, a solar water heater can provide a home with more hot water for longer periods of time than traditional gas and electric systems.

Myth: Solar water panels only work on a home’s roof.

Truth: Solar water panels can be installed anywhere there is direct sunlight. A southern orientation is optimal, but is not required.

Contact Utility Services

Address

701 E Broadway, Columbia, MO 65205

Phone

573-441-5528

Email

efficiency@como.gov

Copyright © 2019 City of Columbia