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Solar Water Heating is Energy Security

Energy security is a function of availability, consistent access, and predictable pricing.

The IEA defines energy security as the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price. Energy security has many aspects: long-term energy security mainly deals with timely investments to supply energy in line with economic developments and environmental needs. On the other hand, short-term energy security focuses on the ability of the energy system to react promptly to sudden changes in the supply-demand balance.

Solar Water Heating, in all aspects, across all industries, is energy security. We use the term energy security to refer to a nation’s ability to control its supply of energy. Most countries have to buy at least some of the energy that they require. Where a country relies heavily on external supplies of such energy sources, they have low energy security.

Additionally, if we take the term energy security and apply it to a residential property, commercial property, or industrial property, and install a solar water heating system at this property, we are helping to control energy costs, amid rising and uncertain utility costs.

Energy security is important because it plays a key role in helping to support the economy of a country, or your own personal pocketbook. Where a country, or property, in our case, has a good level of energy security, it is less vulnerable to external issues that may increase the price of energy commodities.

Solar water heating possesses a unique advantage, that directly benefit the consumer, the property manager, etc. These advantages only strengthen the energy security that SunEarth and solar water heating bring to the market.

Solar Water Heating Benefits and Energy Security

1. Renewable

Solar thermal energy is both renewable and sustainable, meaning it will never run out. We can use it for as long as the sun will shine – which is another 5 billion years according to NASA.

Non-renewable energy sources (such as coal, oil, and gas) will one day run out. While we obliviously use up fossil fuels without taking stock of about what future reserves look like, we should take note of the endpoints shown here. These endpoints are dangerously close: Since our society is so dependent on fossil fuels, it therefore is extremely important for us to know when these fuels will run out.

Oil will end by 2052   – 30 years time

Gas will end by 2060  – 38 years time

Coal will last till 2090 – 68 years time

2. Reduces Fossil Fuel Dependency

Similar to our first advantage is the fact that solar thermal can reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. This aspect is key in helping to make non-renewable energy sources last longer for future generations to use.

Reducing our fossil fuel dependency also helps to increase energy security and shield ourselves from fluctuations in the price of a finite commodity. As we use up remaining reserves of fossil fuels, they are likely to become more expensive.

Solar heat also reduces the cost of transporting fuel. Energy security: The fuel prices are prone to rapid changes, which can negatively affect the industry revenues. Solar energy provides sustainable heat, ensuring energy security for industries.

*On a month-to-month basis, prices are expected to have jumped 0.8% from April to May, up sharply from a 0.3% increase from March to April. The acceleration would almost certainly be due to gas prices, which had declined in April but leaped more than 10% in May alone and have since reached an average of nearly $5 a gallon nationwide.

3. Solar Thermal Is Environmentally Friendly

Solar thermal is environmentally friendly. It is used to heat water in a variety of domestic applications, and work as a pre-heat for water in both industrial and commercial applications.

According to research completed by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, solar water heating does not generate greenhouse gases or other toxic pollutants. They also found that during a 20-year period, a single solar water heater has the potential to prevent over 50 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere.

4. Solar Thermal Reduces Heating Bills 

Just like solar power can reduce electric bills, solar thermal energy can reduce your heating bills. This is true in cases where you might use a second energy source for heating your water (such as natural gas.)

In Southern California, where SunEarth manufactures, SoCalGas has been steadily increasing cost of use. The utility says the average customer likely saw rates increase by about $20 from a year ago in December, and $35 from a year ago in January.

*In cases where you use electricity to heat your water, solar thermal reduces electric utility charges.

Effective June 1, 2022, the procurement component of the core sales rate will increase 29.170 ¢/therm to 103.488 ¢/therm. This increase resulted from an overall 24.657 ¢/therm increase in commodity price and an increase of 4.513 ¢/therm in account adjustments. Compared to a year ago, the procurement rate is about 162.3% higher (39.460 ¢/therm) than what it was effective June 2021.  


5. Solar Thermal is highly efficient, and boosts system efficiency when paired

As a stand-alone option, solar water heating systems have higher space-efficiency than solar PV. Solar thermal can have an efficiency level of up to 70% in the collection of heat from the sun, approximately 3 time higher than a solar PV system.

As solar thermal heats water and solar photovoltaics (solar PV) generates electricity, you can benefit from installing both systems. When you combine both technologies, you stand to reduce your energy bills by a significant amount.

6. Requires Little Space

Domestic solar hot water heating tanks require little space and you will often find them installed in garages or outdoor water heat closets.

7. Inexpensive operating costs

Whilst the installation of solar hot water systems can be perceived as expensive, they are inexpensive option to run.

Researchers at the Florida Solar Energy Center have suggested that approximately 2% of the cost of your system should be budgeted for maintenance every year. Most manufacturers and installers suggest having a site inspection by a contractor every two to three years, which can range in price, but overall is a very low out-of-pocket cost. If you use a system that circulates an antifreeze (glycol) fluid, the fluid should be changed out at least once every 5 years.

8. Established Technology

The technology is well established and dates back to 1896 when solar water heating was first invented in the United States. Whilst the first solar thermal collectors were very primitive, the technology has come a long way over the years. This website has a great article on the history of solar thermal technology.

9. Provides a Return on Investment

Solar thermal energy systems provide a return on investment (ROI) over their lifetime.

A new government report says inflation is accelerating at the fastest pace in 40 years. The consumer price index rose 8.6% in May compared to a year ago. Gas prices jumped nearly 50%. Prices for food and energy also increased significantly.

Prior to recent jumps, the ROI for SunEarth equipment could be achieved in as little as 2 years. With inflation and rising gas prices, this ROI would be achieved quicker.

ROI’s vary based on the types of fuel being used to heat the water, the type of government approval for your project, and other factors that we are happy to review with you.

 

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