Utility Solar Water

Department

Utility Solar Water

In 1992, the U. S. Department of Energy along with the Edison Electric Institute, American Public Power Association, and their utility and industry members established “Utility Solar Water” or USH2O. USH2O will serve as a forum for interested parties to develop and expand utility programs for residential and commercial solar water heating.

Many state and federal government officials have ac­knowledged the importance of solar hot water systems in many of their programs. These systems (shown in the image to the left) are examples of installations resulting from a demand-side management program at Sacramento Municipal Utility District, CA.

The federal government builds, owns and operates more buildings than any other sector of the economy. Managers of these buildings are learning from the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) how solar and energy efficiency can be combined to reduce the energy load of their facilities and save millions of taxpayers’ dollars.

The federal government also subsidizes the monthly utility bills for millions of low- income families. The State of Florida and the U. S. Department of Energy have established a pilot program to demonstrate that SHW on low-income housing can also save millions of dollars in federal subsidies.

The Housing and Urban Development agency has undertaken a project to establish criteria and mechanisms that would allow mortgage lenders to give homeowners an advantage for solar and energy efficiency measures when purchasing a new or used home.

Solar water heating systems are already eligible for the energy efficient mortgage programs which allow homeowners to have higher debt-to-income ratios, thus allowing them to qualify more easily for financing. In fact, when SHW is incorporated into a mortgage, the monthly finance charges attributed to the new system fall below the monthly energy costs and give homeowners money in their pocket every month.

In 1993, the National Association of Home Builder’s Research Center included SHW, as well as other solar options, in the Resource Conservation House, a single-family residence built to demonstrate to builders the characteristics and advantages of the many new products on the market that are conserving our nation’s energy resources.

The question many people ask is “How can the U. S. save money, help our environment, and create jobs?

The answer has been up there all the time… Solar Energy!

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