On Thursday, January 21, California legislators approved a 350 million dollar program to subsidize solar hot water heating systems for residential and commercial use.
Michael R Peevey, president of the utilities commission stated, "Today’s decision will increase consumer confidence and understanding solar water heating technology and its benefits". Arizona, Florida and Hawaii are also showing movement with offering solar hot water incentive programs.
These state incentive programs could boost the solar hot water market. The solar hot water market experienced marked growth in the 1970s when federal subsidies were offered after the oil embargoes of that time. With the fall of oil prices and an end to subsidies, the demand for solar hot water heaters greatly declined and many installers went out of business.
Solar hot water systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems, active systems which have circulating pumps and passive which do not. Solar hot water heating is intended to complement a home’s electric or gas hot water heating systems. When the sun is not out, the non-solar system in place takes over to provide uninterrupted hot water.