Our team has researched and reviewed the Solar Heating And Cooling Systems Cost to help you come up with a better buying decision. We’ve also put up a solar heating system cost shopping guide with the features you can consider when buying solar water heater system.
Solar Heating And Cooling Systems Cost
Residential solar water heating systems typically range between $6,000–$10,000, according to SEIA, depending on system type and geographic location. This cost is significantly reduced by the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and various local, state, and utility incentive programs. The out-of-pocket price of installed systems is typically $3,000–$5,000 with these incentives, and the payback period is typically in the 4–8 year range.
Typical commercial applications include space heating, cooling, and water heating. Building types that are particularly well-suited for these solar applications, according to the SEIA, include “military facilities, manufacturing plants, large multi-family residential buildings and affordable housing, municipal facilities, hotels, elderly and student housing, hospitals, sport centers, and agricultural operations.” Commercial and industrial systems generally range between $20,000–$1,000,000, depending on size and the heating or cooling load. Depending on application, location, and financial incentives, the payback period for commercial systems can be likewise as low as 4–8 years.
The SEIA notes that capital expenditures (CAPEX) for solar heating and cooling systems are often higher than conventional fuel systems, but on the other hand, operational expenses (OPEX) are much lower because the fuel is generated and supplied for free. Budgeting fuel expenses becomes a thing of the past, lowering OPEX significantly with the transition to clean, renewable solar heating and cooling technologies.
solar water heater system
The small residential sector represents around 80% of the current solar heating and cooling market volume in the US. By expanding solar heating and cooling systems to generate around 8% of America’s total heating and cooling needs, the SEIA estimates that this could displace an equivalent of 64 coal plants, or approximately 226 million tons of offset carbon emissions every year.
“Solar Heating & Cooling: Energy for a Secure Future”, developed by SEIA-member companies and BEAM Engineering, lays the groundwork for achieving this 8% by driving installed solar heating and cooling capacity from today’s 9 GW thermal to 300 GW thermal by 2050. SEIA predicts this would bring more than 50,000 good-paying American jobs and an estimated $61 billion in annual energy savings for homeowners, businesses, schools, and governments.
SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch reports, “In 1891, inventor Clarence Kemp of Baltimore patented the first commercial solar water heater in America. Kemp enclosed a simple metal tank in a wooden box, creating the so-called ‘batch’ water heater. Looking back,” says Resch, “we’ve certainly come a long way since then!”
What is solar power and why should you consider it?
Solar power systems are also called solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. They work by collecting solar energy in solar panels which are normally roof-mounted, but can be mounted on the ground. The solar energy collected is converted into alternate current (AC) with an inverter. While solar panels will only work during the daytime, battery storage units are available that allow the excess power to be used at night.
Solar power has been through three stages. Until about 2011, solar panels were expensive and the payback period was longer. After 2011, they started coming down in price and today, the price of solar panels has stabilised and is far more affordable than in the past.
Solar panels have also improved in efficiency and reliability. In the past, solar panels were expensive and most homeowners bought smaller systems up to 2kW. Today, a 5kW system is about the same price as a 2kW system was before 2011 and is a better system to have because it can account for most if not all of your energy requirements. To know more about what is solar energy read this.
How much does solar power cost?*
Today, the average cost of a 5kW system is around $6500, but it can be more expensive in some areas. For example, in Darwin, a 5kW system costs around $11,000 while in Adelaide, it costs under $6000. In Sydney and Perth, solar power costs just over $5000 and in other states, it costs around $6000.
When you consider buying a 5kW solar system, you also need to think about the payback period. Average payback periods in different cities are around:
- 4.2 years in Adelaide
- 4.7 years in Darwin
- 4.8 years in Sydney and Perth
- 5.4 years in Brisbane
- 6.4 years in Canberra
- 7.4 years in Melbourne
- 8.2 years in Hobart
These figures take into account the cost of electricity in different areas and that is why Darwin, which has the highest costs has a low payback period. The average payback period in Australia is 5.8 years, but even at the highest payback period of 8.2 years in Hobart, solar panels are well worth investing in. It’s also worth noting that electricity prices rise steadily, so the payback period could even be shorter.
Estimates of households in Australia that already have solar power range from 1.5 million to 2.0 million. This number will probably increase in the future as the cost of electricity rises.
Many solar panels have warranty periods of up to 25 years, making them a wise investment considering their payback period of just 5.8 years on average.
How to get the right sized solar system
Solar panel systems are made up of several panels and the size of the system is based on the number of panels and the efficiency of the panels. Estimates vary because solar panels can be installed in areas where the sun rarely shines or in sunny areas. Solar panels can also be installed on roofs that have partial shade during the day, which decreases their efficiency. These are averages and your solar power installer can tell you how efficient your solar power will be in your area.
Solar power is measured in “self-consumption” which is an indication of how much energy you use during the day. These are some estimates of how much energy you will save for different energy consumption levels with a 5kW to 10kW system measured in kilowatt hours (KWh):
- 5-10KWh will save 30 percent
- 11-15KWh will save 48 percent
- 21-25KWh will save 66 oercent
- 31-40KWh will save up to 82 percent
It is possible to get a solar system that is too large for your household, but you don’t want to get a system that is too small for your household. Solar power retailers and installers can help you find the perfect system for your needs and a smaller system for a smaller household will cost less than a larger system.
Find a local Solar Power Installers now
Why investing in a solar system battery is a good idea
The prices above are for solar panels only and a battery will cost more. A battery is a good investment because you are likely to be able to store energy in the battery during the day and have it to use at night. This will decrease your use of electricity from the grid and lower your electricity bills.
Solar batteries are a good choice, but you don’t want to buy a solar battery that is too small or too large for your solar panels. Sizing of batteries is based on average electricity usage and the size of the solar system you have. Batteries don’t just store enough energy to keep your house powered overnight. If you get the right sized battery it can give you “energy autonomy” for three to five days.
image copyright Nationwide Solar Solutions
Solar batteries cost between $2000 and $12,000, with the higher cost being batteries for large systems and a large battery can weigh up to 290kg while a smaller battery may weigh only 25 to 45kg. Even at the higher end of the scale, batteries have a payback period of three to five years and their warranties are far longer than their payback periods. Better batteries have a 10 year warranty and others may have a seven year warranty. Even at seven years, you still save money since the payback period is five years maximum.
It’s probably a good idea to buy lithium batteries because lithium batteries generally have 10 year warranties and are highly effective. They aren’t hard to find because about 80 percent of solar batteries on the market are lithium batteries.
Batteries with inverters and chargers can be more expensive than batteries only. A battery for an 8kW system may cost around $7700 while the same sized battery with an inverter/charger may cost around $11,800. These prices include the battery and installation costs. Most households don’t require an 8kW system, but this is an indication of the price differences. The key thing also to remember is to know how to keep solar panels clean to make them last.
Choosing a solar panel supplier and installer
While state rebates have been phased out, government rebates are still available. “Rebates” take the form of Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) which vary in price depending on market conditions and other factors. In order to qualify for STCs, you must buy solar panels and batteries from a certified retailer who will offer a discount for the price of the STCs. This discount can be from $500 to $1000 depending on the system you buy and can represent a substantial savings.
Finding a certified solar panel supplier is fairly easy because most solar panel suppliers are certified. However, they also sell different products and you want to find good solar panels and batteries with long warranty periods.
It’s always best to get quotes from three solar panel suppliers and compare their services and products. They will give you supply and installation costs as well as the discount for STCs. Compare the prices carefully and choose a high quality system at the right price. Some other things to look for are:
- Solar installers must be licensed
- They should be fully insured
- They should give you itemised quotes
- Their warranty periods should be stated
- Their products must meet Australian Standards