Solar water heaters
Solar water heaters work, even in the cloudy Pacific Northwest. While Clark County does not get as much sunlight as Hawaii, it does get enough to heat more than half your hot water annually.
From May to September, a solar water heater can produce almost all the hot water for a typical family. During the rest of the year, a solar water heater can preheat incoming water, reducing the energy needed to finish the job.
Solar water heaters are really quite simple, consisting of a collector, a storage tank and a circulation system. Water or a heat-transferring fluid runs through a solar collector where it is heated by the sun and then flows back into an insulated tank.
Because temperatures drop below freezing here during winter, an antifreeze solution often replaces water in the collection system. The antifreeze then transfers heat to household water via a heat exchanger in the water heater.
Not all homes can take advantage of solar water heating. Since the strongest year-round sunlight is from the south, the collector must face the southern sky and be placed in a relatively shade-free area.
If your home is on the north side of a hill, or tall trees or buildings obscure the southern sky, a solar water heater will not work for you.