Solar water heating ranks #41 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could eliminate 6.08 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050 at a net cost of US$3 billion, resulting in net savings of $773.7 million.
Solar water heating (SWH) methods date back as far as the 19th century. As methods improved over the years, so did their popularity. At the beginning of the 20th century, a new model of solar water heating took off, a separate storage tank added to the rooftop solar heat collector. The technology became the norm in many parts of America and began to spread internationally.
The popularity of solar water heating has fluctuated depending on energy prices and government policies. But it remains popular in many places around the globe. “In Cyprus and Israel, where the use of SWH has been mandated since the 1980s, 90% of homes have systems,” Drawdown states.
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The energy savings resulting from solar hot water are substantial. Heating water requires large amounts of energy, Drawdown states, with hot water for showers, laundry, and dishwashing consuming one-quarter of the residential energy used worldwide.
But while SWH can boost energy efficiency and limit reliance on fuel for water heating, initial system costs and challenges with installation can create barriers. With suitable incentives, these barriers can be overcome and energy savings can be maximized.