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Hot Water FAQs

How much does a solar hot water system cost?

The installed cost of a solar thermal system usually runs between $9,000 and $12,000, depending on the size of the system. However, up to 30% of this cost can be recouped through state and federal rebates. See for the most up-to-date rebate information.

How does a solar hot water system work?

Primal Energy Systems installs only closed-loop anti-freeze systems the most advanced and reliable type of solar hot water system. The anti-freeze fluid is heated by the sun in solar thermal collectors and then circulated to the hot water tank where its heat is used to increase the temperature of the household water.

How many solar thermal collectors do I need and how much space do I need?

Usually 2-3 collectors are sufficient for the average home, and a 12' x 8' south-facing roof exposure is all that is needed. Other system components include a hot water tank, a controller, and associated piping. The new water tank can be placed in the same place as the existing water tank and no additional space is needed.

How much money and energy will I save with a solar hot water system?

The energy you save with a solar hot water system depends on the amount of hot water used and the amount of solar energy collected. A typical family spends $300-$600 per year on hot water heating, and a solar hot water system can offset about 75% of that expense.

Will I have hot water in the winter or at night?

In Virginia, 1.15 lbs of carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions are emitted for each kilowatt hour of electricity consumed. Over the life of the system, your system will prevent the emission of 35,000 lbs of CO2 gases for each 1,000 watts of solar panels you install. Solar panels only require about 6,000 lbs to manufacture so they are more than carbon neutral they are carbon negative!

Do I have to worry about leaks?

No! In fact most systems have only two connections one at the solar collectors (on the outside of the house) and one at the hot water tank (where there are already piping connections). The associated piping is usually one continuous run of copper tubing which is at least as strong as the other piping in your home.

Does a solar hot water system require any maintenance?

A solar hot water system is virtually maintenance-free. Temperature and pressure readings should be checked monthly and the anti-freeze fluid should be replaced every 8-10 years.

Will solar collectors affect the integrity of my roof?

No. Primal Energy Systems performs an analysis to ensure the panels can be safely mounted on your roof. Flashing and sealant are used on all roof penetrations to ensure a rain-proof attachment. Systems are designed to handle wind loads up to 90 mph. Primal Energy Systems will advise you on the condition of your roof when we perform your site assessment.

How long does it take to install a solar hot water system?

Most systems can be installed in 2 days. Solar hot water systems can be easily retrofitted to existing structures or installed during new construction. Much of the work can be done even when you are away from home.

Will installing solar hot water system affect the value of my home?

A house with solar panels should sell for more than the same house without solar panels because the green home will have a lower cost of ownership for the new owner. Even if you sell your home, it is highly likely you will recoup the investment cost. If you purchase a Primal Energy Solar Electric System and sell your home at some future date, we will provide a free up-to-date system value that you can add on to the selling price of your home.

Do I need permission from my homeowners association?

We recommend you seek approval from your homeowners association, but by Virginia state law, your homeowners association cannot prohibit you from installing and using solar power except under certain circumstances. See the code of Virginia, Title 67, Chapter 7 for more information.

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