solar hot water - worth the cost in W. Washington?
Has anyone from Western Washington put in a solar (thermal) system for heating hot water? Was it cost-effective?
I've done some research on this but still have questions about our specific situation.
We had planned on having a propane-fired hot water heater for the home we are building, but our builder suggested we consider a solar system with an electric water heater as a backup instead. It would cost an additional $4,700.
We have 3 kids, ages 2, 5 and 8. The home is on 4 acres. We are a family that likes to get dirty, however I am pretty careful about keeping showers short, running the dishwasher only when full, and washing with cold water when I can.
The home is two-story and the roof has a nice, unobstructed southern exposure, which is where we would site the solar panels. The home is already roofed with a lifetime roof.
My husband, who is a CPA and former loan officer, said by the time we pay interest on the $4,700 and the system depreciates, it doesn't make sense to do this, especially since we have a lot of cloudy weather in winter. He wonders if this is a fad.
We will be using propane for cooking and to fire our backup furnace, but our primary heat will come from a wood stove.
Thank you in advance for any feedback!