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How much will you save?
Although solar water heating systems may cost more than conventional water heaters, they will most likely save you money in the long run. The amount of money you save will depend on different factors, and include:
- The amount of hot water you use
- Your system's performance
- Your geographic location and solar resource
- Available financing and incentives
- The cost of conventional fuels (natural gas, oil, and electricity)
- The cost of the fuel you use for your backup water heating system, if you have one.
On average, if you install a solar water heater, your water heating bills should drop 50%–80%. Also, because the sun is free, you're protected from future fuel shortages and price hikes.
If you're building a new home or refinancing, the economics are even more attractive. Including the price of a solar water heater in a new 30-year mortgage usually amounts to between $13 and $20 per month. The federal income tax deduction for mortgage interest attributable to the solar system reduces that by about $3–$5 per month. So if your fuel savings are more than $15 per month, the solar investment is profitable immediately. On a monthly basis, you're saving more than you're paying.