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Solar Thermal: Questions About Cost

It surprises us that many people are still not familiar with solar thermal technology and often compare it to traditional solar photo-voltaic.

This is especially interesting because solar thermal is actually the older of the two solar technologies!

To help dispel some of the common misconceptions about solar we’ve put together this quick graphic so you can see the differences at a glance.

idaho solarNow, this isn’t to belittle solar PV! We have worked with it as an accompanying technology in the past with great success, and we believe it is through comprehensive use of multiple methods that you get the most benefit.

The biggest differences between the solar thermal we offer and solar PV is that solar thermal heats the water/liquid directly whereas PV creates electricity which then heats your water. Either one works, but when it comes to water heating solar thermal simply can not be beat!

Price too high? Not enough ROI?
These are all things we hear when people want to down talk solar and fact is when it comes to solar THERMAL these things are even less of a concern! Fact is, solar thermal from Renewable Energy NW has one of the fastest paybacks of any alternative energy; best of all you will see immediate return in the form of lower energy bills even before the system is paid off!

Are there up front costs? Yes! But that’s true of ANY investment.
After you’ve already enjoyed years of low energy costs and have your system paid off you can still see more returns should you decide to sell your home – as much as $20,000 in some cases! Ready to start saving? Let’s talk!

It’s Never Too Late For Solar Thermal!

You’ve already noticed the temperatures dropping and the days getting shorter; according to the old farmer we’re in for another hard Winter in the Northwest. So you may be thinking it’s too late in the year to start that solar thermal project you started checking out in Spring – but it’s not! In fact, we likely have a couple of months of easy installation before the elements become a factor for our team and we can even still handle new jobs into the icy season.

What if you’re not building new? No problem!
While it’s definitely easy to install our solar thermal in new construction we can retro-fit existing homes without any issue. Roof space isn’t a problem either as we are able in some situations to mount our evacuated tube vertically to save room or to capture optimal UV.

But what about snow? And less sunshine? Winter is coming!
We’re happy to say that even during the “snowpocalypse” of 2016-2017 we only had a few service calls for clearing snow, and no real outages. While it is true that your solar thermal tubes will be receiving less direct sunlight during Winter since our systems are so highly efficient you’ll have no trouble having plenty of hot water for your home. You see our systems work on radiant ultraviolet energy; this is available even on cloudy days so you will have no troubles during the cold months.

Breathe easy – Renewable Energy NW has you all taken care of! We’ve been the Northwest’s source for affordable solar thermal and whole home holistic energy solutions for almost a decade and have over 1,000 panel installs under our belt. We love helping homeowners save on the energy costs and business owners too! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you have questions, we’re glad to talk or provide a free estimate for your specific energy needs!

Solar Thermal Efficiency

We love sharing our solar thermal solutions with people and have been fortunate to be part of several home shows this year where we’ve been able to show off our amazing technology! Most people are familiar with traditional Solar Photo Voltaic (PV) systems that have been used for years to generate electric power from the sun but very few know about the true solar thermal technology that we provide.

solar thermal idaho
While regular solar PV can be used to create power very well it falls short when it comes to providing hot water when compared to solar thermal. You see solar PV takes the electrical power it gathers from the direct sunlight and then heats your homes water much in the normal way it always has; this provides an efficiency rate of only about 14%. Alternately, true solar thermal systems use radiant ultra violet energy from the sun to heat water itself providing efficiency upwards of 94% – even on cloudy days.

Both systems have similar tax incentives and are a wonderful alternative to energy from the grid. They even work very well together, along with other solar products like solar lighting, solar attic fans, and other HVAC innovations. And it’s not just for new homes, we love providing whole home holistic solar solutions for existing homes as well! When we update your HVAC with an energy efficient system and add our additional solar HVAC options it’s possible to remove 50% of the total energy from your home.

But, we live in IDAHO! What about Winter time?
Our system uses evacuated glass tubes that contain a vacuum – one of the best natural insulators. We have been in business almost 8 years now and up until this last winter – one of the coldest and snowiest on record in 30 years! – we have never had to sweep off snow; the system is set up so inside the house everything has 100% back up just in case. Our radiant solar snow melting walkways are also a great addition to help keep the flurries at bay.

Hot Or Cool Use Solar To Power Your Pool!

You already know that heating your homes water make up a larger percentage of your monthly energy costs; this is even more true if you own a pool – but it doesn’t have to be!  The whole family loves getting together around the pool when the weather is nice, so just imagine how much they will love it when they can swim comfortably any time of year.

Solar Thermal and the combined renewable technologies of our green energy partners provide clean, efficient, and reliable systems to help you cut your energy costs. In the case of pools, the pool filtration and pump system circulates water from the pool through the solar collector. Temperature sensors detect any change in water temperature and relays the information to a control valve, which then diverts or channels the pool water to the collectors, depending on the desired temperature.

This isn’t just for the kiddie ponds either – this technology is especially helpful in reducing costs on larger pools where manual adjustment of temperatures can be inefficient – so hotels, resorts, and apartments are prime applications for this solution.

Best of all? Solar technology does more than just regulate your pool temperature – it’s a whole home energy solution! Beyond just regulating pool temperature, or creating snow-free walkways, solar thermal can provide hot water for your entire house at a fraction of the cost of traditional water heating for years to come.

Contact us today for your FREE solar site estimate!

Renewable Energy In The News!

It’s no secret, we love what we do and the people we serve, and while we don’t do it for the praise we’ve got to say it feels especially great when we get a little extra recognition for all of our hard work. We had the chance to speak with the kind folks at the Better Business Bureau Snake River Region about our services – you can read the full article here.

Over the 7 plus years we’ve been working in Idaho we’ve install over 1,000 solar thermal tubes all across the state from single family homes to huge multi-acreage farms and even radiant heated snow melting walkways – it’s been an exciting trip so far!

“It’s extremely important that we deliver satisfaction and affordable renewable energy solutions.”
Carl Simpson

You may be surprised to learn that many of our customers don’t always start out knowing a lot about solar power, much less the solar thermal systems we specialize in; most times it starts out with curiosity and a question: “what is that? how does it work?”. In very basic terms, the tubes sit on top of a roof, on an exterior wall, or even on the ground, and absorb energy from the sun. The unit itself has two glass tubes with a vacuum in between; the ultra violet rays go inside the tube, and (the inside) can be 400 degrees in an hour even at negative 30 degrees, while the outside remains completely cool to the touch. This solar heated water is stored in your hot water heater and is ready to use throughout your home at any time – whether it’s for washing dishes or soaking in the hot tub – just like your normal hot water would be.

“But my home is already built!”
Don’t panic! While we love installing solar thermal in new construction we’re more than experienced in retrofitting older homes and businesses with solar almost as easily. Beyond environmental considerations, one of the reasons people are most interested in going green with solar is of course the savings on energy costs. You’ll be glad to know that our solar thermal systems generally run around 94% efficient and even our most basic setup can usually cut your heating costs by 1/4th or more especially when installed along with other green solutions like solar attic fans and solar pv.

If you’re considering a switch to solar we’d love to talk to you! Go ahead and do a little homework, shop around, and give us a call when you’d like to talk or if you just have questions – one of the things we love about our business is the fact that we get to talk with so many different people while we spread the good news about renewable energy in Idaho! Get your FREE solar site estimate call 208-577-6537 today!

idaho solar power


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