Solar Thermal is coming back in a big way. Many people remember the old days of the 70’s during the energy crisis when lots of people installed solar hot water systems. This was a great idea; the only drawback was that everyone was designing their own systems and there was no continuity. Of course there has also been an incredible amount of technological advancements in the last forty years.
Solar thermal has many advantages over PV solar. It is more efficient, it is less expensive to install and whereas with PV solar you need lots of panels, with Thermal you typically only need 1 to 4. Solar thermal can also be used for more than just hot water. It can be used as part of a hydronic system. Another great use is with an air handler in place of a furnace. An air handler can use all the existing ducting from the furnace. It uses hot water to heat the air going by it instead of a flame. The great thing about this is it doesn’t dry out the heat. Many of us turn the heat off when we go to bed because otherwise we wake up feeling like we have a cold with a scratchy throat. This is because furnaces burn all the moisture out of the air.
The tax advantages are becoming irresistible. The Federal Government had a 30% capped write off that is now uncapped. As of the first of the year the State has an initiative that rebates up to $ 1,500.00.
San Francisco is supposed to start attaching loans for solar thermal work to the property tax, much like Berkeley; in this way the cost of solar thermal work is passed on to the next buyer of the property.
Check this recent article on solar hot water in the Wall Street Journal
Also feel free to call us with any questions concerning Solar Thermal. We would be happy to provide a very informative article on Photo Voltaic vs. Solar Thermal.