The answer to this depends on how you currently heat your water.
How do you heat your water now? Electric or Gas:
Upgrading from Electric Storage water heating:
If you currently have an electric storage hot water system, your household energy consumption will probably break down like this:
You can see that around 25% of your electricity bill is used to heat your water! Solar will save you most of that electricity - and typically shave $500-$700 per year off your bill.
The other good news is that if you currently use electric storage heating then you should qualify for the max government rebates.
Payback will be 4-5 years which is an ROI of about 20%. Pretty good these days, I reckon.
Upgrading from Gas Water Heating
Whilst upgrading to solar hot water from an existing electric system is pretty much a no-brainer for those looking to reduce their bills - the decision to go solar if your current water heating is gas requires a little more consideration.
The main reasons being:
1) You can't claim a Federal Government rebate unless you have an existing electric system.
2) Gas is more efficient than electricity when it comes to heating water directly.
This means that it is usually more expensive to install solar hot water if replacing a gas system, and the dollar savings are a little lower, making for a longer payback period.
For a typical household heating their water with instant gas - here is the maths:
Gas bill to heat water: $150 per quarter
Gas savings by going solar: $100 per quarter
Cost of installed solar hot water system: $4,000
Simple payback: 10 years
So, if you are currently heating your water with gas - you have to decide if you are happy with a longer payback time for the joys of showering with solar heated water. The bast way to do the math is to look at your current gas bills and compare a 60-80% reduction in those with a quote for a good quality, fully installed solar hot water system.
If you currently have an electric storage water heater, Solar Hot Water is probably one of the best investments you can make in your home's energy efficiency. Get 3 free quotes for solar hot water now.