It may seem hard to believe, but you can effectively heat water with solar energy even where the weather is sunny only half the time, and winters are cold.

Dan Bassak's goal was to use no oil to heat water during the summer, while reducing consumption dramatically throughout the rest of the year. Their system uses the make-and-hoard method: make as much hot water as possible on sunny days, and store it in well-insulated tanks for later use. The system is projected to pay for itself in six to seven years.

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