You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2008.

This is the question that I have asked myself for sometime now. As I see it I have two options. First some household background information. There is myself and my wife. I have two young children. Now whatever I do I cannot let the wife shower in the cold. Next, the system must be sized for when the kids get older. With that, the system should have a design life of at least 15 years, more is better.

Option 1: Drainback Solar Hot Water System.

The basic components for a Solar Hot Water System are:

1) Storage Tank
2) Heat Exchanger
3) Controller
4) Solar Hot Water Panels

Solar Components can be found here.

Option 2: Hot Water Heat Pump.

The basic components for a Hot Water Heat Pump are:

1) Storage tank
2) Hot Water Heat Pump

Hot water heat pumps made by AirGenerate

Option 1 cost and considerations:

Cost for system components – $4400 for everthing
Installation – Free if DIY – estimate $800 for someone else.
Total with installation $5200. Less the tax credit of $1650
Grand total of $3550.
Now for the unknown. Annual operating cost. $25?
Assuming the tanks last 15 years. (maybe?) the total project cost would be. $3925

Considerations – Panels are usually mounted on the house and subject to storm damage.

Option 2 costs and considerations.

Cost for 80 gallon tank and hot water heat pump – $1500
Installation – Free if DIY – estimate $300 for someone else.
Total with installation $1800. Less the tax credit of $300
Grand total of $1500.
Annual operating cost. $200
Assuming the tanks last 15 years. (maybe?) the total project cost would be. $4500

Considerations – Noise from the unit while in operation.

The Solar system saves you $575 over the 15 year life. From my calculations, solar hot water may make sense for me.

For the ACEEE analysis of water heating look here.

All of you know that the government has “Bailed Out” the financial system. But, did you know that some very crafty lawmakers placed the energy tax credits into the the bail out bill. That’s right! And… they will expire at the end of 2016! What does this mean for most Americans?

First: This is a tax credit. When you file your personal income tax return, this will reduce the tax you pay. i.e. this comes off the bottom line, not the top.The best part of this is, if the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year. So you may not have to pay taxes for a few years if you get a good sized system.

Second: What amount is the credit? 30% of the total costs associated with the installation. And there is no limit like the original incentive! Roll out the solar panels please.

Thirdly: Solar hot water still has a $2000 limit. This should be fine because the total cost of the system would have to be over $6666. Most systems do not go over that amount anyway.

What does this mean for us? Start planning and researching, alternative energy is not as far out of reach as you think? This is only one slice of the money pie. You may live in a state that has incentives too. Check out this site to learn more.

Indiana is not known as a hot bed of alternative energy. As a mater of fact, Indiana get over 95% of its electricity from coal power plants. This has not deterred a small company in the heart of the Midwest. Enter Morton Energy, LLC. For the past few years they have been quietly installing solar panels and windmills across Indiana. This past week they commissioned a Skystream 3.7. The unit is the first wind turbine to be net-metered with Vectren in SW Indiana and should supply approximately 50% of a typical home’s energy needs. Located near the famous “Log Inn” Restaurant, this is sure to be a conversation piece over dinner.

Here is a link to the Evanville Courier Press news article.