This wiki article will look into hot water and solar energy systems which make up Santa Cruz county.
The Santa Cruz community over the last 100 years has come to see hot water as a staple of public and private dwellings. Solar energy systems will soon too evolve as an essential component to homes and municipal buildings, having increased is use by 20 percent annually since 1999. These two facets to Santa Cruz life have increasingly become intertwined across the county as solar systems have started to become viable options for heating water.
But first, let us define what both hot water and solar energy systems mean in the context of Santa Cruz.
Water heating is a process that uses an energy source to heat water above its initial temperature. Typical domestic uses of hot water include cooking, cleaning, bathing, and space heating. In industry, hot water and water heated to steam have many uses. To heat the water electricity, natural gas, propane, heating oil, solar or other energy sources are used.
Solar energy is radiant heat and light from the sun that is harnessed and converted into energy. This is done through the use of technologies such as solar heating, solar photovoltaics, and solar thermal electricity. Solar energy works by using photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into direct current electricity.
California is one of the leading states in expanding solar energy and uses the largest amount of renewable energy from solar power. According to the California Solar Energy Association, in 2013 California installed more megawatts of solar energy than it had in the past 30 years. Obtaining around 490 megawatts of concentrated solar power, this drastically aided the amount of solar energy being utilized within the state. This source of energy also includes the use of thermal power plants and solar panels in households.
According to the California Energy Commission CEC, the act of heating water accounts for 31 percent of our household's energy use and 25 percent of the dollars that we spend on energy. Those figures make our water heaters the second greatest energy guzzlers in our homes.
Therefore, the need and desire for clean energy in Santa Cruz has spurred a new investment in solar energy systems heating water across the county.
Solar hot water heaters are composed of a collector, made of solar panels, which sits on your rooftop/sunny location, as well as with a storage tank connected below. To offset cloudy days and nighttime showers, a backup tank is usually implemented. On average, according to Energy Star, solar hot water heaters reduce costs for heating water by $220 per year, cutting water heating bills in half.
Capacity factor (CF) 2012- 2030- 2035
Residential PV 16.4%- 17.1%- 17.9%
Commercial/government PV 17.4% -18.1% -18.9%
Utility PV 24.0% -25.0% -26.1%
The above numbers showcase the current (and projected) use of solar energy in Santa Cruz. Numbers to find solar energy solely used for water heating did not manifest through research, but this data does provide insight into the more general use of solar energy. General findings show that a portion of these percentages are more than likely.
"About the California Solar Initiative (CSI) - Go Solar California." Go Solar California. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014. http://www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/about/csi.php
"Measures in Place." City of Santa Cruz :. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Nov. 2014.http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/departments/public-works/environmental-programs/measures-in-place