Cut Home Emissions by Half with an Affordable Heat Pump Water Heater
Nonprofit solar installer SunWork is expanding its services to include installation of ultra-high-efficiency electric heat pump water heaters to replace fossil-fuel-burning natural gas water heaters in Bay Area homes. SunWork’s new heat pump water heater installation program leverages SunWork’s volunteer model and newly available rebates to make installing a heat pump water heater as affordable as the traditional gas water heater being replaced.
Heat pump water heaters use heat pump technology to efficiently heat water. They have a much lower carbon footprint than gas water heaters including once popular tankless water heaters. According to Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), “gas water heaters are typically a home’s single biggest source of emissions that are damaging to air quality and the environment.” SVCE found that in the Bay Area, greenhouse gas emissions from gas water heaters average 49% of total household emissions. So replacing a gas water heater with a heat pump water heater can reduce a Bay Area homeowner’s carbon footprint by about half (depending on how much hot water the household typically uses).
What makes a heat pump water heater so efficient?
Heat pump water heaters work like a refrigerator in reverse by taking heat out of the air, raising its temperature, and then applying the heat to the water in the tank. Unlike conventional water heaters that apply an energy source like gas or electricity to heat water directly, a heat pump water heater collects and concentrates existing heat from the surrounding environment. This makes heat pump water heaters up to four times more efficient compared to traditional water heaters.
By replacing a natural gas water heater with a heat pump water heater, you eliminate a major source of carbon emissions and dangerous exhaust fumes in the home. In addition, since a heat pump water heater runs on electricity, it pairs well with a solar PV system. For homeowners who already have a solar system installed, a new heat pump water heater can potentially be powered by surplus electricity already being generated. Homeowners planning to go solar should plan to include just one or two additional solar panels to provide enough electricity for their heat pump water heater. SunWork can help new customers plan for these electrification improvements.
SunWork nonprofit model plus new rebates keep costs affordable
SunWork keeps installation costs affordable for homeowners using its proven nonprofit model. SunWork’s professional project team gets help from trained volunteers who want to learn more about clean technology and serve their communities by helping others to minimize their carbon footprint. SunWork is currently installing the Rheem ProTerra Hybrid Series 65-gallon or 80-gallon water heater, 30-Amp, 240-Volt version only. There are multiple rebates available and SunWork manages and collects the applicable rebates for customers. In most of the San Francisco Bay Area, the SunWork installed cost including materials, installation, and building permits can be as low as $2,900 after rebates if you are a customer of both PG&E and one of the Community Choice Energy (CCE) programs. This low starting cost rivals the cost of installing a traditional gas water heater in the Bay Area. By keeping out-of-pocket costs as low as costs for installing a new fossil-fuel-based water heater, SunWork helps people more easily make the shift to heat pump technology.
Who is eligible for a heat pump water heater from SunWork?
The new SunWork heat pump water heater program is open to customers in the Bay Area who currently heat their water with a gas water heater which is located in their garage (and with an electric service panel located in the garage as well). SunWork is providing a full heat pump water heater installation service, including the electrical work, plumbing connections, and permitting. SunWork will not require a specific electricity bill maximum or any income-related qualification criteria for this new program.
How to get more information
Learn more about SunWork’s Heat Pump Water Heater Installations in the program overview.
To find out if you qualify and to receive an estimate, please fill out the form here.
If you have questions, send an email to HPWH@sunwork.org.
Net Energy Metering is Changing
The net energy metering program in California will likely change to a new program at the end of 2021. People considering solar systems for their homes will likely benefit by installing solar in 2021 with the current version of net energy metering (NEM 2.0)
Solar Power World Editors Volunteer on SunWork East Bay Project
Solar Power World interviewed SunWork in October for a podcast. They were so interested in the SunWork model that all three editors, Kathie Zipp, Kelly Pickerel and Kelsey Misbrener traveled to the Bay Area from Ohio to volunteer on a 5.2 kW solar system for an East Bay home owner in December.
Solar Tariff Explained
On February 7, 2018, a 30% tariff took effect on imported solar panels to the US from all countries. The stated reason for the tariff was to address the harm to American panel manufacturers caused by imports of cheap panels. Many solar advocates and organizations say this will not bring back manufacturing, will slow US solar growth, and will cost solar jobs overall.
Net Metering – How Utilities Pay You For Your Solar Energy
Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid” according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Net Metering is short for Net Energy Metering (NEM). NEM basics: During the day, your solar system generates energy. When you’re away, most of your solar energy
Electrification of Home Heating/Cooling
Heating and cooling your house is one of those things you don’t think much about until the temperature starts to dip in the winter months or peak in the summer months.