“We Put ‘Em Up, Old Sol Does the Rest”
The first commercial solar water heater, the Climax, was introduced to California homeowners in the late 1800’s. Patented by Clarence Kemp, the Climax sold for $25 and promised savings of about $9 per year in coal. An ad from the time, featuring a housewife in “Gibson Girl” attire and another family member in the bathtub, states, “We Put ‘Em Up, Old Sol Does the Rest.”
The ad goes on to explain the benefits of solar hot water. “Hot Water…Without Fire, Without Cost, Without Inconvenience. Set on or set into (flush with) your roof will give you the luxury of hot water without the discomfort of maintaining a stove and heating the interior of your house.”
But when cheap natural gas was discovered in southern California, the market for solar water heating systems in the area effectively dried up. In the following years, interest in solar hot water remained limited to warm, sunbelt states because the systems couldn’t withstand freezing temperatures.
Carter Era Boom
Nearly a century later, a combination of generous government incentives and a rise in fuel prices brought about a renewed interest in solar water heating. By the early 1980’s, it seemed as if every new house had a solar water heating system installed. DIY solar water heating plans were popular, as well, with Americans building systems from a wide array of materials.
This boon spawned a plethora of problems, however. While some manufacturers sold and installed high-quality systems still in existence today, other disreputable salesmen and poorly trained installers took advantage of homeowners. These non-professionals put systems on rooftops which failed to generate the expected energy performance or panels that leaked due to improper installations. A lot of these systems, and many of the DIY panels suffered freeze damage making them even less desirable.
By 1986, tax rebates disappeared, oil prices plummeted and most solar manufacturers and contractors went out of business.
All the Convenience of Traditional Hot Water Systems
Following the “solar crash” of 1986, a handful of professional manufacturers continued to develop improved solar water heating technology. Solene solar hot water systems, for example, manufactured and distributed by UMA Solar, are at the forefront of today’s solar water heating industry.
Solene systems feature all the convenience and reliability of traditional hot water systems combined with the substantial savings and environmentally-friendly benefits of solar water heating.
Solene systems are the highest-rated in the industry and can be configured for all climates and weather conditions. With certifications including FSEC, IAPMO, OG-100 and OG-300, Solene systems and collectors qualify for current federal, state and utility company rebates and incentives. These incentives, combined with significant monthly energy savings, make Solene solar water heating systems a great investment. Most Solene systems pay for themselves within 5 years. Because these systems typically last 20 years, homeowners can enjoy an additional 15 years of free hot water.
Today’s eco-conscious consumers can appreciate solar water heating for more than financial rewards, however. By investing in solar energy, consumers reduce their carbon footprint, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and leave a legacy of clean energy for generations to come.