Solar Pensacola
Panama City Beach Solar Residential

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a solar water heater?

A solar water heater uses the sun’s energy to pre-heat household water in a roof mounted solar thermal collector before it is stored in a special solar storage tank. Depending on the size of your household, Compass Solar Energy typically uses an 80 gallon storage tank with a 4′ x 10′ solar thermal collector or a 120 gallon tank with two 4′ x 8′ collectors.  Because of the tremendous amount of sun that Northwest Florida receives, a solar water heater could generate up to 95% of your annual water heating needs.

How hot can solar heated domestic water get?

Water heated by the sun can reach temperatures exceeding 212º F, but the normal temperature for household use is only 120º to 130º F.

Will solar heating affect how much water I will have? Will I have to change my bathing and cleaning routine?

Yes and No. You will actually have much more hot water than ever before. If the system is sized well for your family, you will no longer need to wait for the water heater to ‘recharge’ between showers.

Solar water heaters have a backup electric element to make sure you are never without hot water – even in extended periods of bad weather. To maximize your savings, you should attempt to use the most hot water in the late morning and early afternoon when the solar system is operating at its peak. Also, it helps to spread your cleaning load over the week. For example, instead of washing seven laundry loads all at once it would pay to do one a day. This will reduce the amount the backup element will have to come on.

How much does a solar water heater cost?

The cost may vary from $5600 – $7500. It depends on the household size, building code requirements, type of roof, and storage tank placement.

How much can I save with a solar hot water heater?

It depends upon the size of the system and the needs of your family and the way you currently heat your water. The average annual cost for water heating can be 30% of a household’s electric bill, especially in those homes with teenagers or shower hogs!  Compass Solar Energy has found that a family of four typically saves about $60 per month with a solar hot water heater.

Are there any public incentives available to reduce the cost of a solar water heater?

Yes. There is a federal tax credit available to help lower the final cost. It is 30% of the cost and is scheduled to expire in 2016. Gulf Power still has a few $1000 rebates available.  Call Compass Solar at 850-439-0035 for details!

How long does it take for a solar heater to pay for itself?

Solar heating does have a payback, and it can vary from three to eight years. But it may be more useful to think of solar as an investment that yields an annual return, much as a bank savings account provides interest. A solar water heater will generate savings that can equal a bank account generating a twenty percent (20%) annual return, and the savings are not taxed as income, as is the interest you earn at the bank. The truth is, if you want hot water… you will be paying for that heat. You may prefer to pay the utility bill forever, or you may wish instead to go solar, and become your own utility. It is quite similar to the reason you once decided to buy your home and stop renting. Solar is simply the best investment available today because it guarantees a return on money that you will otherwise “burn” and helps you develop equity as you bank your savings.