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Solar Water Heater Renewable Energy Systems

Installed on Nampa Downtown Inn, Nampa, Idaho

The monthly cost of public utilities associated with the operation of the Downtown Inn and the El Rodeo Restaurant are substantial.  These ever escalating cost coupled with the Owner’s goal to create a socially responsible greener business resulted in the Owner entrusting Matrix Renewable Energy to design and install a renewable energy system to reduce the reliance on commercial utilities, and to take advantage of current state and federal incentives.


The evaluation of the best suited renewable energy system for this specific application involved clearly understanding the Owner’s objective, assessment of monthly utility costs, and preparing a cost vs. payback analysis.  Based on these factors it was determined that implementing a system of four (4) - 30 evaluated tube solar collectors and related system components, with potential for future expansion, provided an optimum renewable energy system for the Downtown Inn and the El Rodeo Restaurant.  The operation of these two businesses creates a high demand for hot water. The majority of the domestic hot water consumed by these businesses will be heated by the solar collectors.  The location and orientation of this property lends very well to future renewable energy system expansion including additional solar water collectors and solar photovoltaic panels.    


A duplex (two) pump station with an integral brazed plate heat exchanger conveys non-toxic glycol through the series of four (4) solar collectors.  Heat is transferred from the glycol loop to the domestic loop across the heat exchanger.  From the heat exchanger the solar heated domestic water is pumped and stored in a combination of water tanks with a combined capacity of 600 gallons.  Thermo couples which monitor temperature in the collector heater and in the storage tanks serve to sequence the operation of the pump station and ensure a continued supply of solar heated water.  An integral controller provides real time water temperature data and allows for user interface. 


The very appealing incentives for this type of business application include a federal 30% renewable energy tax credit (dollar for dollar), a State of Idaho 40% tax deduction, and a federal Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS) depreciation deduction.  This allows for a deduction of 100% of the renewable energy system from taxable income over a five year period; resulting in an incentive of approx. 35% of the system cost.  The Idaho Office of Energy Resources provides low interest loans for these types of renewable energy projects.