Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Solar Domestic Hot Water Technologies Assessment(ST10219-1)

Bright Power, Inc.


Solar thermal technologies commonly convert the sun's radiation into useful heat. In building applications, this heat is commonly used to produce domestic hot water. New York State's climate is not commonly thought to be very suitable for solar thermal applications. However, recent statistics (2004 EIA market data) show that New York State was ranked sixth in the nation as a destination to which solar thermal collectors are shipped. This level of activity is likely explained by the fact that New York State has high energy prices that favor renewable technologies. In light of these facts, NYSERDA initiated an effort to assess the merits of, and to identify, the most promising applications for residential solar domestic hot water systems. NYSERDA selected Bright Power, Inc. through a competitive solicitation to conduct this assessment.

Map Error

Project Description

Under the project, Bright Power, Inc. conducted an assessment to identify the most promising applications and locations for solar domestic hot water (SDHW) technologies in New York State. Construction cost were estimated for the most promising SDHW systems. The energy performance and savings for the SDHW systems versus a conventional water heating system were estimated using computer simulations. Possible market, institutional, and infrastructure barriers that could limit widespread replication of the SDHW systems were identified. Strategies for overcoming such barriers for the SDHW systems were proposed.


This assessment’s results could guide homeowners, system designers, and policy makers in the viability of different solar water heating system designs throughout New York.

Project Results

A solar domestic hot water system is capable of providing over half of the energy needed to heat water for a typical New York State family, and nearly three quarters in the most favorable locations (New York City and Long Island). After applying relevant federal and State tax credits, the range of installed costs for systems was approximately $4,600 to $7,700. There is significant variability in system performance within a technology type. Payback time ranged by approximately 20 years between the best-in-class and worst-in-class performers for both flat plate and evacuated tube technologies. Consumers utilizing electricity or propane for water heating, who have a tolerance for long term investments, may find some systems to be attractive investments. Flat-plate collector systems installed in New York City, with electric resistance backup heating, are expected to have simple paybacks, after tax credits, ranging from 8 to 21 years and net present values from $700 to $7,500 over the course of system lives. The payback of systems with natural gas back-up heating in New York City ranged from 22 years to 39 years.


Bright Power, Inc.
11 Hanover Sq Fl 15th
New York, NY 10005

Principle Investigator

Andrew McNamara

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Building Systems
Solar Thermal (heating & cooling)

NYSERDA Contact Information

Robert Carver


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10219-1

Last Updated: 2/10/2014