8 Best Solar Water Heating Systems

If you’re looking for a cost-effective and eco-friendly way of heating water — whether in your home or on the go — then you should consider a solar water heating system. Although the technology varies depending on the manufacturer, all systems use the sun’s energy to efficiently heat water.

Compared to traditional water heating systems, solar water heaters are much more cost-effective. They work in any climate and the resource that they use is free.

Because they don’t rely on gas, solar water heaters are less expensive to use than other options. Solar water heating systems can also be a more cost-effective alternative to electric water heaters.

Of course, they’re not going to be the best option for everyone. If you’re concerned about the aesthetics of your roof and don’t want panels or pipes ruining your style, for example. Solar water heaters also don’t heat up water as quickly as gas-powered options.

There are a variety of alternatives on the market, including easy renewable energy solutions made by Alternative Sustainability. Interested? You can get a free consultation with Alternative Sustainability.

Solar Water Heater for Your Home

If you’re considering a solar water heater, you’ll find that there are a plethora of options on the market. Here are some of the best solar water heating systems we could find.

Duda Solar 200L Active Split System

  • Features: Innovative storage system is ideal for cold climates, reliable
  • Pricing: Starts at $3,660 for a 200-liter tank

The 200L Active Split System by Duda is a solar heating product that allows users to heat water in an area that receives a great deal of sunlight. From there, it stores the heated water in a tank for dispersal. For homeowners in colder climates, this system is useful because it keeps water heated even if the outside air temperature is less-than-ideal.

This specific model has a 200-liter capacity, as well as an 8-liter expansion tank to prevent system failures. Duda is also known for making reliable and well-built solar heating systems.

Alternate Energy Technologies (Direct and Indirect Systems)

  • Features: Wide range of storage tank options, both direct and indirect heating systems available.
  • Pricing: Call for a quote

Alternate Energy Technologies is a company producing a range of solar heating solutions. These products use direct and indirect solar heating, along with options for both home and residential use.

The company has a variety of residential systems available for interested homeowners, including various options with differing storage tank configurations.

Rheem SolPak Featuring a Gas Assist Heat Exchange Tank

  • Features: Back-up gas power for high-demand situations
  • Pricing: Will need to contact sales for more details

While solar water heaters can be an effective solution, it may be nerve-racking to rely on only the sun for your water heating purposes. If you’re concerned about that, consider the Rheem SolPak, which is a hybrid water heating system that harnesses both gas and solar.

The SolPak is a drop-in replacement for gas water heating systems that uses a solar water heater for the majority of its heating tasks. It stores heated water in a 75-gallon tank. The key standout feature is that gas-powered heating can kick in during high-demand situations or days when the sun doesn’t shine.

Sunbank 40 Gallon Solar Water Heater

  • Features: Very easy to use with little maintenance required
  • Pricing: $2,499.00

If you want a simple and easy-to-use option for solar water heating, look no further than the Sunbank 40-gallon solar water heater. It’s a cost-effective option that features no moving parts or extraneous components — meaning it’s built to last.

The system, produced by Sunbank, includes a 40-gallon or 80-gallon tank, as well as the necessary components for installation. It’s based on passive heating technology, meaning that setting it up and using it is a breeze.

Sportneer Solar Shower Bag

  • Features: Small and portable design, ideal for campers and van-lifers
  • Pricing: $17.99

Want to heat your water on the go? Take a look at the Sportneer Solar Shower Bag. It’s a solar water heating solution that’s made to be portable, which makes it ideal for people on the road — including campers, adventurers, and van-lifers.

The system features an integrated solar panel and a 5-gallon capacity PVC bag for storage. It weighs just 1.2 pounds but can heat water in direct sunlight in as little as three hours and disperse it with a shower nozzle. The only downside is that its capacity will only allow for a few short showers.

SunQuest 3-2X20 Solar Swimming Pool Heater

  • Features: Reliable, cost-effective option for heating a swimming pool
  • Pricing: Starts at $797

Solar water heating isn’t just for the water in your house — you can heat up your pool using the sun’s rays, too. One of the best, most effective options for heating up your pool water is the SunQuest 3-2X20 Solar Swimming Pool Heater.

The system is a cost-effective way of raising a swimming pool’s temperature by at least 10 degrees. The kit comes with two panels that homeowners can place near their pool, although additional piping — sold separately — is necessary to finish installing the system.

Clean Republic Heat Streamer

  • Features: Lightweight solar heating system, cost-effective, ideal for off-grid heating
  • Pricing: Starts at $149

Those who only need to heat small batches of water at a time should consider a smaller and cheaper option like the Clean Republic Heat Streamer.  Clean Republic is a well-respected brand that, although not widely known, makes high-quality solar heating gear.

The Heat Streamer is no exception. This system can heat up to five gallons of water at a time using an integrated passive solar heating system. It’s ideal for off-grid purposes, including boiling water, showering, or other outdoorsy tasks.

Northern Lights Group SWH-1 Solar Hot Water Heating Package

  • Features: All-in-one package makes for easy installation and one-time purchase

Homeowners who are looking for an all-in-one solar heating kit that they can get with a single purchase should consider the SWH-1 Solar Hot Water Heating Package. This is a comprehensive kit made by a quality brand that includes everything you need to set up a solar heating solution.

The system includes other products made by brands like SolarStor and SunRain. You’ll find that it has a number of options that make setting up a solar heating system easy, from a vacuum tube collector to a 50-gallon tank, as well as a backup heating element and a pump station.

Alternatives to Solar Water Heaters

There are a number of alternatives to solar water heating systems out there, including your traditional gas-powered water heaters. However, if you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative, there are other options.

Some of the best solar water heater alternatives include heat pump water heater units and indirect water heaters that rely on a boiler to provide heating.

Water heaters are only one part of being more sustainable in your home, however. If you’re looking for other areas to become more sustainable, look at your heating system.

If you want to make your heating and cooling more efficient, consider the Low Carbon PTAC from Alternative Sustainability. It’s an option that uses highly efficient electric heating coils — reducing gas usage up to 70% and offering better sound and thermal insulation than other models.

It’s an affordable way of making your home more electric and eco-friendly and works great alongside a solar water heater alternative and other electric appliances.

How Do Solar Power Hot Water Heaters Work?

Solar water heating systems rely on a similar principle to solar power. Basically, they convert sunshine into usable energy. But while solar panels convert the sun’s rays into usable electricity, solar water heaters use the sun’s energy as a heating source.

Most solar water heaters have two main components: a storage tank for holding water, and some type of solar collection system. The latter category can include solar tubes or solar panels.

There are also two distinct types of water heating systems: active and passive. Active water heaters have more advanced controls and circulating pumps, while passive water heating systems do not.

Active solar water heating systems are more efficient but not as cost-effective. Passive heating systems may take longer to heat up your water, but are generally more reliable since they don’t have moving components.

The Benefits of Solar Water Heating Systems

As mentioned earlier, there are many benefits to adopting a solar water heating system.

For one, they’re cost-effective when compared to gas. That’s simply because solar water heaters use a free fuel — sunshine. Even the most affordable gas-powered water heaters use a finite resource that you have to pay for.

Because they use the sun’s energy, solar water heating systems are also much more eco-friendly.

Additionally, solar water heaters are also ideal for off-grid and camping purposes. After all, you’re not going to be able to lug your home water heater around and install it in your tent.

How to Choose a Solar Water Heating System

Choosing the right solar water heater for your own situation comes down to a number of factors, including the climate you live in, whether you need the system to be portable, and your water usage.

If you live in a cold climate with less sunlight, you’ll want to consider an option geared toward that. That could include a hybrid solar/gas heating solution or an active solar water heater with an indirect circulation system.

Consider specialized use cases, too. A solar water heater for a pool isn’t going to do much to heat the water in your home. If you’re on the go or camping out, then you’ll need a portable option.

Finally, consider storage capacity. Solar water heating systems come in a variety of storage capacities. You’ll need to monitor or estimate your own water usage to find the capacity that’s right for you.

Pros and Cons of Solar Water Heating Systems

As mentioned earlier, solar water heaters aren’t going to be the best for everyone. Let’s go over some of the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective solution leverages a free resource
  • Much more eco-friendly, since it only uses sunlight
  • Variety of options to suit your specific needs
  • Generally low-maintenance and reliable

Cons:

  • Reliant on the sun, so not good for frequently rainy climates
  • Can be slow to heat up water
  • Could require additional piping
  • Panels and pipes may be ugly on your roof
  • Solar water heaters only heat water, so you’ll need additional panels if you want to use the sun for electricity
  • Additional installation could be required

If you’re considering solar water heating systems, there’s a good chance that you want to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. If you are, Alternative Sustainability has a variety of options for clean energy.

That includes the aforementioned Low Carbon PTAC for more efficient heating and cooling. You can also consider the ECap Rack, which is a wind turbine system that uses the air from a standard HVAC to produce much more electricity than solar panels.

Interested? Get a free consultation with Alternative Sustainability.