Solar Powered Water Heaters Leave More Cash in Your Pockets
CENTRALIA - Taking a hot shower or pouring hot water to wash dishes are simple things we take for granted. For Centralia resident Steve Shifley, finding a "greener" way to enjoy his simple pleasures was no further than his own backyard. Shifley installed a solar water heater in July.
"We were looking to go more green, go more solar with our house," Shifley said.
He paid about 500 dollars a year to run his propane water heater before he installed the solar unit. Next year, Shifley expects to spend between 50 and 100 dollars. That expense is for cloudy days when the solar panels cannot get enough sunlight.
Show Me Solar founder Jeff Owens says it's important to use renewable resources.
"There is a shortage of conventional fossil fuels and we know eventually that conventional fossil fuels are gonna run out," Owens said.
Owen's organization travels around the United States giving tours of solar powered homes.
The solar panels capture the energy from the sun and send it to solar storage tanks. The tanks can heat up to more than 150 degrees. The hot water mixes with cool water to equalize the temperature.
Solar powered water heaters cost between 7,000 and 10,000 dollars, so they can take some time to pay off. Shifley estimates it will take him 12 years to pay off his installation. The average customer gets 400 dollars in annual savings.
The Columbia Water and Light Department also gives you a cash rebate of up to 800 dollars for switching to a solar powered unit. Installing a solar water heater also qualifies you for a 30 percent federal tax credit.
"You sure feel good when you're taking that shower for as long as you want and it's not costing you any money at all to do it," Shifley said.
This helps leave you with more "green" in your pocket and less cash in the tank.