Absolutely. Our system is a hybrid, just like a gas/electric car. Most of the time your water is heated by solar energy, but on cloudy days, a backup heat element in the water tank (which works EXACTLY the same as the heating element in your old tank) kicks in and provides the heating. You will enjoy hot baths and showers the same as you always have (probably even more knowing that it was heated with free, clean solar energy)!
You will need a new tank to act as storage for the water heated by the sun, although this may not mean getting rid of your current one. The new tank comes with a built-in backup heating element that heats the water on less-than-sunny days and works EXACTLY like the heating element in your current tank. Depending on your water usage and the age of your existing tank (water heaters have a typical life span between 12-15 years), the new tank may replace your existing one and be sufficient for your needs. Our Installer Partner will be able to recommend the best configuration for your home.
One of our installer partners can conduct a site visit to take a look. Ideally, your roof has a south-facing exposure with about 10’x 10’ of free space with little daytime shading. Homes with greater than 3 stories between the roof and utility room (or wherever the water tank is) might not be appropriate for our system. Contact us to learn more.
A complete Sunnovations solar-powered hot water system comes with solar collector panels (typically two 4’x8’ units that go on your roof), a water storage tank, and the Sunnovations passive pump system. See a diagram of the system.
We’ve thoroughly tested our system for two years under a wide range of climate conditions. We provide a warranty for all of our parts in addition to the warranties on other system components. But don’t take our word for it; hear from some of our customers. We participated in the prestigious Solar Decathlon, providing the highly-praised solar hot water system for the Penn State University entry.
Not unless you live in arctic climates. The non-toxic, glycol-based heat transfer fluid can withstand temperatures down to -22F and even below that temperature will not freeze until it reaches truly arctic conditions.