Solar hot water is a mature and economical technology that contributes towards energy efficiency in BC while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar hot water is a great way to “go green” because it utilizes an abundant renewable energy resource. In BC some seasonal heating loads can be met by solar alone. Solar water heating typically offsets fossil fuel combustion, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. Systems can help reduce peak loads, thereby postponing or preventing the need for additional baseload energy generation and distribution infrastructure, such as new hydroelectric dams, coal-fired power generation stations, and underwater electrical cables.
Over its lifetime, a solar hot water system easily pays for itself and further provides proofing against a trend of rising energy costs. According to the British Columbia Utility Commission, natural gas prices have increased an average of 12% per year since 1998. With gas prices on the rise, using a solar hot water system will save you even more in the future.
Solar water heating systems fit well in the built environment and add little to our ecological footprint. Collectors are usually installed on rooftops, occupying otherwise unused space. Most equipment is made of locally available and recyclable materials: glass, plastic, copper, aluminium, wood, and steel. The full lifecycle impact is small, considering the 20+ years of service that a solar hot water system will give, producing zero-emission energy.
Many people think that BC is not a good place for solar because of the weather, but this is a myth! Since the supply of solar energy comes from light generated by the sun, rather than from direct sunlight, even cloudy days can provide enough energy for up to 60 percent of domestic hot water needs. Solar hot water technology has the potential to be widely used in homes and businesses across BC.