How Much Does It Cost To Install A Solar Water Heater?


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Solar Water Heater Costs

Indoor Cost Guides      Water Heaters      Solar Water Heater Costs

Alternative energies are becoming far more affordable with each passing year, and as they have become more predictable and applicable, they have appeared in more and more areas of everyday life, including hot water heaters. A solar water heater is no longer all that unusual and there are several systems available. The cost of a solar water heater is going to vary based on the type selected, and other factors.

Solar water heater installation: 100-gallon passive system.

Item Unit Cost Quantity Line Cost
Passive system:The parts will include a tank, plumbing and a collector. The choice of storage also plays a role in the cost of a passive solar water heater, and options include ICS or Integral Collector Storage or Thermosyphon. $1,000-$4,000 each 1 $1,000-$4,000
Labor Cost $70 8-24 $560-$1,680
Total Cost $1,560-$5,680 each 1 $1,560-$5,680


Solar water heater installation: 100-gallon active system.

Item Unit Cost Quantity Line Cost
Active system:This is the style that relies on a heat storage area and solar collectors. Equipped with an internal backup system, they are a bit more costly and include direct. $2,000-$4,000 each 1 $2,000-$4,000
Labor Cost $70 8-24 $560-$1,680
Total Cost $2,560-$5,680 each 1 $2,560-$5,680


Other considerations and costs

  • Passive systems typically have a lot of associated costs because of the risks of running out of domestic hot water supplies. These include a backup heater, switches, and all essential plumbing needed to connect the system to a tank. These prices can easily exceed $1,000 and range as high as $4,000.
  • Spa or pool heating is also an option with a solar water heater and the typical cost for the system ranges from $3,000 to $4,000, and yet this is not all that different from a traditional pool heating system.
  • Another significant factor that impacts the cost of the project is the location of the collector in the home. When fixed to the roof it will be more efficient, but the cost of labor may be extreme due to the slow labor rates and the ladder and roof work required.
  • Tax credits are often applied to such projects, and can be as much as 30% of the total cost, or as much as $2,800. State and local incentives may apply and there is also the savings on energy costs that are enjoyed.
  • It often takes from three to six years for the payback period to begin on this investment.

Check out our guide if you need a loan for your home improvement project.

DIY considerations

  • Plainly put, a solar water heater is not a DIY activity. There is far too much at risk, including a household stuck without hot water for several days. This means it is not a good idea to attempt it as a DIY project, and rather a better idea to hire an expert to design and install the system.


  • Craftsman Estimator Costbook, complete series year 2019.
  • Latest prices found on Home Depot and other vendor Web sites.
  • Literature review of DIY Web sites.
How much does it cost to install a solar water heater in your city?
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Cost by city

  • New York, NY$6,618
  • Bronx, NY$5,438
  • Brooklyn, NY$4,533
  • Philadelphia, PA$5,655
  • Washington, DC$4,907
  • Atlanta, GA$4,439
  • Miami, FL$4,038
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL$4,229
  • Minneapolis, MN$4,962
  • Chicago, IL$5,781
  • Houston, TX$5,963
  • San Antonio, TX$4,003
  • Austin, TX$4,532
  • Denver, CO$3,829
  • Phoenix, AZ$4,040
  • Las Vegas, NV$4,434
  • Los Angeles, CA$4,996
  • San Diego, CA$4,534
  • San Jose, CA$5,476
  • Seattle, WA$4,009

Local costs have been calculated by accounting for labor and material cost differences across different cities. To get accurate cost estimates, indicate yours: