The single largest cost in a solar hot water heating system is the storage tank. For example the Rheem 81VR-80TC-1 "Solaraide" 80 gallon storage tank has a 6 year warranty and costs about $850. The solar panels, pumps,. installation will cost another grand or more, but will last much longer. Replacing the tank every 6 to 10 years is a signficant cost, but one also needs to look at how much money it saves. For one family of 5, the gas bill went down by about $20 a month after the solar hot water heater was installed. That is $240 a year, or $1440 over the warrenty of the tank or $2400 over the actual life of the tank for a savings of about $500 to $1500.
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