We decided to install a solar hot water system to provide domestic hot water and also heat the house in winter. We already use a combination hot water heater/boiler that provides our domestic hot water and the in-floor radiant heat for the house but it is propane fired.

We are in an excellent area for solar and hope to reduce our propane consumption by at least half. Our house is set up facing south with a huge roof area that is perfect for solar. No tall trees would shade it and we have the in-floor system already so it should be fairly efficient. We can put the extra storage tank in the garage and the pipes can come direct into the equipment room from the solar collectors.

Should be nice when it’s all finished.

Our other option was a geothermal system that uses a heat pump run off electricity and many hundreds of feet of pipe in the ground. However, this is Garvin Mesa, we have rocks, lots of rocks. Digging a 6 foot deep trench over 600 feet long was going to cost an unknown amount of big heavy equipment time. So we decided to go with solar which only needs a single 4 foot by 4 foot deep hole to bury the heat sink pipe to drain off excess heat in summer when you don’t need as much.

Guess what we found when digging, a huge can’t be moved by our backhoe size rock, right in the location the hole was supposed to be. Ken ended up moving the hole a bit and found even more rocks there. But he got it all dug.
The solar collectors arrived today and Ken got the landscape cloth and the first layer of pea gravel into the hole. Tomorrow is installation of the heat sink pipe and more gravel and then fill in the hole. We should be done within a few weeks if the rest of the parts come in on time.

Edited 28 August
I will reject comments that are just links to various solar companies. So don’t even bother to keep adding them.