Solar Water Heaters Cheer Homeowners

For the utility behind the project, it’s all about gathering data. For 60 households in South Carolina, word that they’ll be getting a solar thermal water heating system was a dose of happy holiday news, especially welcome as the economy only slowly recovers from the 2008 crash.

“I was very thrilled when I found out we had been selected,” Clover resident Ken Newell said in a press release put out by Southern Energy Management, the company that installed the solar water heaters for Central Electric Power Cooperative, which will monitor the effectiveness of residential solar thermal water heating using a grant from the South Carolina Energy Office. “In a tough economy, especially for people in the architecture and construction industry like I am, anything that can save money is a real godsend.  I’m going to be very interested to see my power bill.”

solar thermal water  heating system, VELUX

image via VELUX

The water heaters are made by VELUX, whose U.S. headquarters are in Greenwood, S.C. “Given that the average household spends 20-25 percent of their home energy costs on heating water, these systems will have a tangible positive impact on families,” said Paul Johnson, southeast district sales manager for VELUX.

More than 25 of the systems will be monitored for a year to track how much solar hot water is produced and how much electricity is saved as a result. CEPC hopes to use the information to extend the technology to customers on a larger scale.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.