Solar Water Heating Value
CALSEIA’s new analysis quantifies the value of solar water heating – calls for immediate implementation of the State’s Solar Water Heating Efficiency Act. In 2007, Assembly Member Huffman authored AB 1470 to enact the Solar Water Heating Efficiency Act – signed into law in October 2007.
This report is the first of its kind in valuing the attributes of solar water heating. This report calls attention to the fact that Solar Water Heating, for every forty cents invested provides up to $3.45 in benefits in California. Major findings are:
• Natural Gas Use Reduction. Californian use 5 billion therms of natural gas for water heating – 38% of all of the residential natural gas consumed each year in California (a ‘therm’ is roughly equivalent to 29 kilowatt-hours). When AB 1470 is implemented California will save 26 million therms of natural gas every year with merely 200,000 solar water heaters – roughly equivalent to 1 megawatt of electricity. If the use of Solar Water Heating is expanded to 1.75 million installations, California will save 1.2 billion therms per year. This higher volume was included in one of the proposed AB 32 measures. AB 1470 is a critical building block to the larger goal.
• Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction. When AB 1470 is implemented, California will reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by 0.14 million metric tons. Solar water heating also provides reductions of 600 pounds per day each of lung-damaging PM2.5 and NOx emissions, as well as other unhealthy emissions. Solar water heating is part of the solution to addressing Climate Change and help reducing public health costs from harmful emissions.
• Job Creation. 200,000 Solar Water Heater installations will require up to 32 hours of labor per installation. The statewide median annual wages for (i) a solar installation manager ($50,000-$72,800/year), (ii) an experienced solar thermal installer ($52,000/year), (iii) an entry level solar thermal installer ($31,200/year), (iv) solar designer or engineer ($50,00-$83,200/year), and (v) a solar representative or estimator ($40,000-$62,400). Solar water heating creates good paying jobs that will be spread throughout communities in California.
• Lagging the rest of the World. In a survey of 48 countries, the United States is last in its use of solar thermal solar thermal (including Austria, Germany, China, Taiwan, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, and Switzerland).
Environment California, sponsors of AB 1470, summarized the benefits of solar water heating to California:
“In addition to building for more solar electric power systems in California, there is an equally urgent need to develop the other most promising solar technology: solar hot water technologies. ”
Solar thermal technologies can bring many benefits to California. Simple solar hot water systems available today can cut natural gas usage up to 50% per home or business. When combined with energy efficiency measures and solar electric systems, California can build “zero energy buildings” where the home or business displaces all their energy needs with solar technologies.
Solar thermal technologies have tremendous potential to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce air pollution. According to a study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, equipping 75% of U.S. buildings and homes with solar thermal technologies by 2015 would cut more than 300 million tons of CO2 pollution each year and at some of the lowest costs. To put this number in context, it is roughly twice the annual global warming pollution reductions to be achieved by California’s landmark global warming bill of 2006 (AB 32). “
ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY. A typical solar water heating system consists of a 40 square foot panel mounted on the roof, a storage tank for the solar-heated water, a low-speed pump, and a controller to activate energy collection. Some systems are configured in a manner that places the storage tank above the solar panel, which eliminates the need for a pump. The solar panels and systems are rated for performance and durability by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation, and independent testing organization. Solar Water Heating Systems qualify for Energy Star Ratings.
TAX CREDITS. Solar Water Heating systems are eligible for both commercial and residential solar tax credits. The IRS tax credit is 30% of the cost of the system. The maximum credit for residential systems is $2,000.
LOCAL REBATES IN CALIFORNIA. The Center for Sustainable Energy adminsters a program that provides a rebate up to $1500 (www.sdenergy.org). This rebate is available in San Diego and in Santa Clara. In Sacramento, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (www.smud.org) provide a $1500 rebate. All programs have particpation requirements for performance and reliability.
to download the complete report, click on this link: CALSEIA Solar Water Heating Value