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Portagee

Solar power

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Every time I scald my feet with the garden hose, I wonder why we're heating water with electricity.

 

Can someone share their source of a good Solar Hot Water installer? I can't seem to make the ROI make sense for PV Cells.

 

Tks

Rob

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Rob, we used Swissol from Belen, but there are other options. Solar water heaters are becoming more common. An electrical supply store in Grecia had a couple of options to offer the last time I looked.

 

While our system consists of two panels on the roof and a storage tank in the bodega, if I had it to do again I'd install two single-panel systems, one above the kitchen and one at the back of the house over the bathrooms and laundry. The cost would have been about the same but the "flush out" time to get hot water to the kitchen would have been greatly reduced. The single "everything on the roof" systems include a (typically) 53 gallon storage tank right up there on the roof, so no floor space is required.

 

Do take another look at the payback time for photovoltaic. My calculations resulted in a payback of five to six years at today's ICE rates. If history is any indication, today's rates won't be tomorrow's rates, and the trend is ever upward.

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We are extremely pleased with our thermosiphon solar hot water system from Enertiva http://www.enertiva.com . We previously used on-demand tankless water heating units but the poor quality of electricity in our area kept burning them out. Our payback for the solar system was 2 years. Best investment we ever made. The main 'problem' we have is we have to check the water temp before showering - oftentimes it will almost reach boiling point and we won't be able to get the shower to a cool enough temperature - so we have to let the hot water run a while to bring the water temp in the tank down. And it does have a back-up electrical system - which we rarely need to use but has come in handy when we haven't had any sun for a couple of weeks.

 

 

Every time I scald my feet with the garden hose, I wonder why we're heating water with electricity.

 

Can someone share their source of a good Solar Hot Water installer? I can't seem to make the ROI make sense for PV Cells.

 

Tks

Rob

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Temperature balancing valving is built into most modern shower controllers; however, if it's an older home, that valve may be missing.

 

An alternative, which we use, is a temperature moderating valve on the output line from the solar storage tank to the house. Those adjustable valves mix cold water with the hot water coming from the storage tank. We had such a valve on our systems in Michigan and North Carolina and have one here.

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Inside Costa Rica reports this morning that Costa Rica's electricity utilities are all getting rate increases in January. Here's a link:

 

http://insidecostarica.com/2013/12/10/electric-rates-will-increase-january/

 

Every time this happens, and it's fairly frequent, photovoltaic electricity generation and solar water heating become more and more financially attractive. Rates go up while system costs trend downward.

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