Solar Water Heater vs. Electric Geyser – Which One Should You Choose?

While electric geysers are pretty common in every household, solar water heaters are slowly gaining popularity because of their eco-friendly, energy-saving characteristics. If you are looking for a new water geyser at your home but are confused about which one to choose, you must compare them and find out their differences.

However, both of these water heating home appliances have their own perks. In this article, you will get a comparative idea about solar water heater vs. electric geyser with various advantages and disadvantages to find out the worthiest.

What is a Solar Water Heater?

A solar water heater is a type of water geyser that runs on solar power. It is a more cost-effective appliance but involves heavy installation works. Solar water heaters are gaining immense popularity after the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Govt. of India, started providing subsidies. MNRE specified a benchmark cost for solar water heaters with concentrators, reflectors, and evacuated tube collectors. Under certain conditions, the rate of subsidy is-

  • 30% of the benchmark or actual cost of solar water heater for in all states.
  • 60% of the benchmark or actual cost for states like Meghalaya, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and islands.
Importance of Solar Water Heater

The best solar water heaters depend entirely upon solar energy to generate power, making them practically free to use in the long run. Let’s discuss their pros and cons in detail. 

Solar Water Heater Advantages

  • Zero Electricity Cost: Solar water heaters can reduce your utility bills significantly in the long run as they do not consume electricity. This extreme cost-effectiveness is the primary reason for anyone to opt for a solar water heater over electric geyser. 
  • Durable: Solar water heaters are made with fine engineering in place. Thanks to the advanced technology, they are more durable than most geysers in the market. If put in numbers, you can expect solar water heaters to give you 10-15 years of reliable service without hiccups and without demanding a lot of maintenance costs. 
  • Noiseless: Solar water heaters generate absolutely zero noise while functioning, making them suitable for households with elders. This noiseless operation also saves energy that would’ve been lost, converting most of the solar energy into heat. 
  • Eco-friendly: Solar energy is 100% natural and doesn’t cause any harm to the environment, unlike conventional electricity that involves a lot of carbon emissions while burning coals. Solar water heaters are perfect for those who consider global warming and climate change severe issues and want to lower their overall carbon footprint. 
  • Get Subsidy on Installation: With increasing environmental awareness throughout the globe, governments from various countries are taking initiatives to promote green energy. For example, the Indian government offers subsidy up to 60% of the installation cost with some criteria.

Disadvantages of Solar Geyser

  • Huge Initial Costs: Although solar water heaters have zero to negligible recurring costs, their upfront costs can go out of budget. A 200 LPD water heater itself costs around ₹30000. Even after availing of a subsidy and discount, these heaters are still costlier than electric geysers. Moreover, the installation itself is tedious and requires expert supervision. This further increases the total costs. 
  • Require Wide Space: To function properly, solar panels need to cover as much area as possible in the right direction and angle with the sun. This can be problematic for some users, having limited space on the top.
  • Unreliable Performance in Monsoon: Solar water heaters are useless in cloudy/rainy days. Their heating capacity suffers dramatically in such conditions. So, there may be instances where the water heater cannot help when you need it the most.

Best Uses of Solar Water Heater

  • In Areas That Experience Frequent Power Outages: Solar water heaters suit rural areas perfectly where electricity supply is scarce. Moreover, most governments provide additional incentives on green energy in such cases. 
  • In Households Where Utility Bills are High: As mentioned above, solar water heaters can significantly reduce your monthly utility bills. It’s just the upfront costs you have to be concerned about; the recurring costs of solar water heaters are practically zero. 

What is an electric water geyser?

In comparison to solar water heaters, electric geysers have been around for some time now after almost replacing fuel-based gas geysers. As the name suggests, electric water heaters or geysers use a heating element to convert electrical energy into heat energy. This heat is transferred to the supply water inside the inner tank of electric geysers. The temperature is retained for a longer time with the help of insulation and coating materials.

There are mainly two types of electric geysers-

  • Instant Geyser: As the name suggests, instant electric geysers are instantaneous in heating the water and making it ready for use. This type of water heater is smaller in size and has a capacity usually up to 3 liters. The best instant water heaters are ideal for kitchens and small bathrooms. They are available in the price range from ₹1000 to ₹5000.
  • Storage Geyser: Storage electric geysers have a higher capacity than instant geysers. If you have a medium or large bathroom, a storage water heater of 4-8 liters would be ideal, depending on the family size. Compared to instant geysers, storage geysers are costlier in the price range of ₹4000 to ₹10000.
Why are Electric Water Heaters Worthy

Advantages of electric geysers

  • Affordable: Unlike solar water heaters that can cost you around ₹20000-₹40000, electric geysers are more affordable within a price range of ₹1000-₹10000.
  • Versatile: Electric water heaters suit every location with an electricity connection and water supply since they come in various sizes and functions. They come in handy in cold weather where solar water heaters fail to provide satisfactory results.
  • Convenient and Easy to Use: Just turn on the geyser, wait for five minutes and twist the tap – your electric geyser will supply heated water almost instantaneously. Storage electric heaters take some time to heat water, but that is far lesser than a solar water heater.
  • Easy Temperature Control: Thanks to the heating element and thermostat that these water heaters use, you have complete control over the temperature of the water. Most electric water heaters have a temperature control knob to prevent scalding.
  • Less Prone to Natural Calamities: Since electric water heaters are installed inside the house and not on the rooftop like solar water heater requires, events like rain, cyclone and snowfall do not affect them.

Disadvantages of Electric Geyser

  • Increased Electricity Bills: Electric water heaters, especially the storage variants, can significantly increase your utility bills in the long run. When the geyser is used heavily during the winter season, it can contribute to 25% of the total utility bills in most households.
  • Not Environment-Friendly: Green energy contributes very little to producing electricity; most of it is generated by burning fossil fuels such as coal. Thus, fossil fuels are depleting rapidly. So, if the environment is your concern, electric water heaters may not be the ideal choice for you. However, some electric geysers can run on the power generated by solar panels.

Best Uses of Electric Water Heater

  • Ideal for Winter or Monson: Electric water heaters can be your best friend if you live in a relatively cold area with rare instances of proper sunlight. That’s because, unlike solar water heaters, electric geysers don’t rely on climate conditions. 
  • Instant Operation: Instant electric water heaters supply hot water with a mere twist of the bathroom tap. You can’t find such convenience and instantaneous operation in solar water heaters every time.
solar water heater vs electric geyser comparison and differences

Electric Geyser vs solar water heater Comparison

Point of DifferenceSolar Water HeaterElectric Water Geyser
Size and WeightSolar water heaters require 3 to 5 times the space needed for an electric geyser. For example, a 200 LPD solar water heater weighs around 60 Kg and can occupy up to 3.28 square meters of area.Electric water heaters are much smaller and occupy less space than solar geysers. They’re lightweight and more petite.
Installation FlexibilityInstalling solar water heaters is tedious, expensive, and requires expert assistance at all times.Electric water heaters are comparatively easy to install and provide installation flexibility.
PortabilitySolar water heaters are giant, heavy, and require a civil foundation. Therefore, they not portable.Electric geysers are also hard to move around. However, they are more portable than solar water heaters due to their lightweight and smaller size.
Heating TimeThis type of water heater relies on solar energy and thus takes quite a bit of time to heat water.Tankless electric water heaters can heat the water almost instantaneously. However, it’s not the same with storage electric geysers.
Heating CapacityThese water heaters can hold and heat 100-300 liters of water in around 6-12 hours, depending on the availability and intensity of sunlight.Electric geysers have a heating capacity of 3-50 liters of water in 2-60 minutes. The capacities can vary for different manufacturers.
SafetyAs solar water heaters do not run on electricity, they barely have any risk of short circuits. Most manufacturers cap the maximum heat of water at around 85°C.Electric water heaters can undergo short circuits that can cause harm to the users. However, such instances are rare and can be minimized with voltage stabilizers.
Weather DependencySolar water heaters rely heavily on climatic conditions. They need constant sunlight for at least 5-6 hours to heat a whole load of water in the tank satisfactorily. So, solar water heaters can’t function in cloudy weather.Electric water heaters are entirely independent from weather conditions. No matter what the climate condition is, an electric geyser will function as long as the electricity supply is available.
Electricity ConsumptionSince these water heaters harness solar energy to generate power, their electricity consumption is practically zero.Electricity consumption by electric geysers is generally higher, especially in the case of storage water heaters.
Cleaning and MaintenanceThe solar panels of those geysers catch dust quickly, which can hinder the overall performance of these geysers. So, they need cleaning once or twice every month.Electric geysers need relatively less cleaning and maintenance than solar geysers.
Ease of UseSolar water heaters are based on new technology that most people are unaware of. Sometimes, these reasons make them complicated to use.Electric water heaters are relatively easy to use, requiring a mere press on the switch and twist of the faucet.
Price RangeSolar water heaters are expensive, with a price from ₹17000 to ₹30000 for a capacity of 100-300 LPD.Electric geysers are more affordable than solar water heaters. They come with a price tag starting from as low as ₹1000 and increasing to ₹10000.

Differences between electric and solar water heaters

Electric vs. solar geyser – which has a higher water holding capacity?

The water holding capacity of solar water heaters is much higher than electric geysers. For instance, you can easily avail a 100-300 L solar water heater on the market. In the case of electric geysers, the capacity ranges from 1 liter to 50 liters. For example, Racold Alpha Pro 100 Lpd solar water heater comes with a capacity of 300 liters. On the other hand, AO Smith HSE-VAS-X-025 electric geyser can hold up to 25 liters of water.

Which water heater requires less space?

The size and weight of a water heater are crucial factors in differentiating between an electric geyser and a solar geyser. Solar water heaters can occupy a large area of your roof and are extremely heavy. On the other hand, electric water heaters are compact and lightweight. For example, the Racold Alpha Pro 100 LPD solar water heater weighs about 40 kilograms and has dimensions of 19.65 x 11.75 x 11.5 meters. In contrast, an electric water heater from the same brand (Racold) weighs just about 2.7 kilograms and with a dimension of 0.33 x 0.21 x 0.20 meters.

Solar or electric water heater – which is easier to install?

Installing solar water heaters is tedious, time-consuming, and can’t be done without expert assistance. On the other hand, installing an electric geyser is way easier than solar water heaters. However, expert assistance is required in either case.

Electric or solar water heater – which is more portable?

Solar water heaters are not portable due to their heavyweight and the complications of disassembling the installation. On the other hand, electric water heaters are relatively lightweight and easily reinstalled at any location.

Which geyser heats water faster?

The heating capacity of a water heater depends on how fast the heater can increase the water temperature to the desired level. Under normal circumstances and constant sunlight, a solar water heater can take up to 5-6 hours to heat the water in the 200 L tank. However, electric geysers excel because they take only a few minutes to heat water.

Which water heater is safer to use?

Safe operating condition is essential when it comes to home appliances. Using a solar water heater is safer than electric geysers as they do not have any direct connection to the electricity supply. Furthermore, solar water geysers are mounted on the roof and not in the interior, keeping users away from any harm whatsoever. 

Which water is not weather-dependent?

A geyser should function properly regardless of the weather outside. However, a solar water heater won’t work well unless the sky is free of clouds. That being said, solar geysers rely heavily on climatic conditions. On the other hand, electric water heaters work flawlessly as long as electricity is available. It does not matter whether it’s raining or snowing outside.

Electric or solar water heater – which one consumes more electricity?

The electricity consumption of a home appliance is the power required by the device within a specific time period. Since solar water heaters rely solely on solar energy, their electricity consumption is zero. However, electric water heaters such as the Faber FWG Vulcan are rated 2000 watts of power. If you are unsure about it, use this calculator to compute the power consumption of all home appliances, including water geysers.

Which geyser needs less cleaning and maintenance?

Solar water heaters are exposed to the environment and thus require frequent cleaning. The solar panels attached to these geysers need attention to absorb sunlight effectively. On the other hand, you can expect your electric water heater to need professional service every year.

What type of water heater is easier to use?

In general, both electric and solar water heaters are easy to use. However, instant geysers take the game even further. Just move the faucet, and your instant water heater will provide you with heated water. Overall, electric geysers offer better ease of use than solar water heaters.

Solar water heater vs electric geyser – which is more affordable?

The price range involves the initial investment you need to make while installing a water heater. In that case, Racold Alpha Pro 100 LPD solar water heater will cost you around ₹33000. The price of electric water heaters is comparatively lower, with geysers starting at ₹2700 (Crompton rapid jet geyser).

Overall, which is better – solar or electric geyser?

If you live in a remote area where voltage fluctuations and power cuts are expected, solar water heaters are the best bet for you. It is also a perfect choice for people who prefer using eco-friendly devices. However, electric water heaters should satisfy you better if you don’t want to rely on the weather condition and don’t mind the extra electricity costs. As an alternative to solar and electric water heaters, you can also find gas geysers that run on LPG or PNG. 


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