Eugene firm building solar hot water systems

Eugene firm building solar hot water systems

EUGENE, Ore. - To the naked eye, this just looks like a bunch of tubes connected to a metal frame.

But the tubes have a big job to do.

"The solar independently heats these tubes; the heat rises up just naturally, and heats the water," said Peter Greenberg, creator of the Sunflame solar water heater. "There's no moving parts, no water is moving."

The water comes up to the tank and gets preheated by the sun. When you turn on your facet, the preheated water goes into your water heater to reduce the amount of work it needs to do to heat water.

Greenberg, a former firefighter, started in the solar business in the 1980s.

He worked on this design for the past four years.

Even on a cloudy day, the Sunflame heated water to 75 degrees.

A Sunflame will cost about $5,000 to put on your roof or next to your home.

Will it save you money?

Hot water heating is about 25 to 30 percent of someone's bill, and this is saving about half of that," Greenberg said. "So at 10 cents a kilowatt hour, you're saving about 200 dollars a year."