With fewer than 30 percent of Hawaii resident homes using solar-water heating systems, it's the right time for a new green solution
SunEnergy Hawaii has introduced to the market an innovative product that reduces annual water heating costs by 50 to 65 percent. Developed by Harpiris Energy, SunCache is the nation’s lowest-cost solar water heating unit.
“In the past couple years, we have seen a significant growth in consumer interest for solar-water heating systems; however, with the economy, we’re finding people are delaying such large purchases,” says Bernard Kea, president of SunEnergy Hawaii. “The good news about our product is that it is about half the cost of a traditional system, yet it still provides the savings benefits on their electricity bills.”
Before incentives, the cost of a single residential SunCache unit is $2,750. Installation costs start at $450 up to $750 depending on installation complexity; although, homeowners can also easily install the unit. Unlike conventional solar water heating systems, the passive system does not require pumps, sensors or controllers, which means maintenance costs, are negligible and the system has less chance to malfunction.
The technology is simple. Compatible with all conventional water heaters, SunCache pre-heats cold water before it enters the backup water heater. When a hot-water tap is turned on, cold water from the supply line flows through copper heat exchanger embedded in the panel, extracting heat from the stored water. With SunCache, there are no additional equipment pieces, and the only maintenance required is to top off the water once every five years.
By extensively using plastic material we were able to reduce copper and aluminum content and keep system prices low,” says Eric Lee, president of Harpiris Energy and senior engineer in creating SunCache. “We have had a lot of success with the product in California and we’re really excited about the benefits it will bring to Hawaii.” SunCache utilizes technology that is the result of a nine-year, $2-million R&D program supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
For more information on SunEnergy Hawaii or SunCache, please call (808) 277-9057.