Solar water heaters

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Buy ENERGY STAR® to save you money!

An ENERGY STAR certified solar water heater (solar domestic hot water system, or SDHW system) uses a remarkable 60% less energy, on average, than a standard model. In Canada, a SDHW system can provide up to 60 percent of the hot water for an average home, depending on local climate and typical hot water use. Saving energy saves money and reduces your carbon footprint.

There are different types of solar domestic hot water (SDHW) systems available. In most of Canada, for year-round water heating, it is important to pick a system that can be protected from freezing. SDHW systems come in a variety of designs with different types of collectors and circulation systems.

Key features

  • Longer life expectancy than other models.
  • Generally designed for use with an electric or gas back-up water heater.
  • For year-round use in most of Canada, solar water systems typically use antifreeze in the collectors instead of water. A freeze-protected system will generate hot water even when the mercury dips well below zero.
Solar water heaters

Start your research using the ENERGY STAR Product Finder tool to find and compare certified water heaters (NOTE: you will be redirected to the US ENERGY STAR website. Make sure to click “Solar with Electric Backup” or “Solar with Gas Backup” under “Type” when searching.)

Helpful tips

  • Contact a solar contractor or manufacturer who can assess your site, provide recommendations, install a system, then perform periodic maintenance.
  • Plan ahead for your next water heater replacement, and you will have time to research and select the best technology before it becomes an emergency replacement.
  • Don’t forget about maintenance, both inside and outside. Hire a qualified contractor for annual maintenance inspections, and consult your owner’s manual for information on other regular maintenance you can do on your own.
  • Learn more in our booklet Water Heater Guide.


All ENERGY STAR certified products are tested to meet strict efficiency specifications and are certified by an independent third party. They perform the same as or better than standard products without compromising performance in any way.

The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are trademarks registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and are administered and promoted by Natural Resources Canada.