Solar water heating is easy to retrofit to almost any existing water heater using a heat exchanger. Solar heat exchangers attach to the hot water tank and allow the hot water heater to draw power from a solar panel instead of the household electric current. Hot water heaters that have built in solar panels are more expensive than regular hot water heaters. Retrofitting your existing hot water tank to accept solar power may save you a bit of money. Another source of savings result from not having to replace your existing water heater... and because solar panels generally outlive water heaters, it's easy to move the solar panel to a new water heater when the time comes.
You can also use a solar wand heat exchanger to heat water with solar power using your existing water heater. The solar wand rests inside the water tank and water moves through the wand and is heated and heats the water before it is released. The wand is connected directly to a solar panel which heats it so it can heat the water that passes through.
A solar panel system used for solar water heating is not as expensive as a whole house system and can still save you a considerable amount on your energy bill. These systems are reasonably easy to install, and, if you have the inclination, you can even build your own solar panel. Kits are available to convert your water heater to solar power or you can have it professionally done. The advantages of using solar power outweigh the disadvantages, which is why using solar water heating is an attractive option. Solar power is cost-effective over time and does not harm the environment. However, one drawback is that it takes an upfront investment which would eventually be recouped over time.