Texas utility promotes solar water heaters

The north Texas utility Oncor Electric Delivery is expected to announce today a $2 million incentive program for solar water heaters for residences using electricity to heat water.

Oncor said it expects to help underwrite the cost of 1,100 solar water heaters over the next four years. It is one of 12 programs that the company expects to offer in 2009, including a solar photovoltaic initiative, introduced last month, designed to encourage the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency. According to Oncor, solar water heaters can reduce the electricity used to heat water by 40 to 85 percent.

Mike Bell, owner of The Energy Shop in Carrollton, said a typical solar hot-water system he would install for a family of four, using an 82-gallon tank and two roof-mounted solar collectors, would cost about $7,900 and provide about 80 percent of a home’s needs. Oncor spokeswoman Carol Peters said incentive payments range from $600 to $1,500, depending on the size and performance of newly installed systems. In addition, a new federal tax credit amounts to 30 percent of the cost of eligible systems.

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