This technical report was written by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). It examines the technology and economics that determine whether the cost of energy saved by a residential solar thermal hot water heating system will equal the cost of purchasing electricity or natural gas generated heat from the grid. This is known as the break-even cost.
Break-even costs vary from region to region. The key factors in determine the point of break-even price include the average amount of hot water used by a household, local government incentives, fuel prices and the type of system used. The study found that for a solar thermal water heating system costing $7,000 to install, only 16% of residential consumers in the United States (excluding Alaska & Hawaii) are in a zone that could be considered the break-even price point.
Author: Hannah Cassard, Paul Denholm, and Sean Ong
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