For the sake of our discussion, we’ll be focusing on solar-heated driveway costs. Until then, let’s better understand what this system is all about.
Solar Heated Driveway Cost
If you’re used to driving in the winter, you’ll be familiar with its challenges. The road tracks will lack traction due to snow, ice, standing water, and slush.
You’ll have to drive slowly and carefully to avoid the risk of vehicle accidents. While doing so will keep you alive, it’ll also delay your movement.
These elements must be dealt with to enjoy smooth and efficient movement. Traditionally, shovels are used to clear up excess snow and ice.
But with technological advancement, a heated driveway system melts snow and ice. This will save you from the backbreaking hassle of shoveling snow off your driveway.
That said, there’re three types of heated driveway systems.
We have radiant, electric, and solar-heated driveways. Each of these systems operates differently, and their installation costs differ accordingly.
What is a Solar-Heated Driveway?
These driveways use solar panels or collectors to power the boiler that heats the water flowing through the tubes in a radiant heat system.
Solar panels convert the sun’s rays into electricity in an electric radiant system.
However, the solar-heated driveway has an obvious challenge. The system finds it hard to generate power on a cloudy or snowy winter day.
That’s because the technology solely relies on solar rays to generate power. Similarly, it generates more power whenever the sun shines brighter.
Most solar-powered driveways today use a battery system. It stores power during the day and heats driveways at night or in cloudy weather.
Meanwhile, installing a solar-powered driveway is relatively expensive. Both the cost of batteries and panels aren’t for people running on a tight budget.
However, the system will save you on electricity costs in the future.
How Much Does it Cost to Install a Solar-Heated Driveway?
Generally, mounting a driveway without a heating system costs around $12–$21 per square foot.
For an asphalt driveway, you’ll spend up to $4,457, and a concrete driveway will cost you $3,650. But to install with heating capabilities, asphalt will cost $8,594 and concrete $7,542.
However, the type of heating technology you want to use will determine how much you’ll spend. You’ll pay between $1,300 and $7,500 to install a radiant heating system.
Then installing a solar driveway will cost you three times this amount.
According to the Solar Power Authority, the major expenses for this type of driveway range from $25,000 to $35,000.
Each solar panel you buy will cost you $7–$9 per watt. You’ll need around 5 kW for a mega system. You use the formula to identify the total wattage of your system.
That way, you’ll know how big a solar power system you need to power your driveway.
Existing Driveway May Save You Cost
You may not need to build a new driveway if you already have an existing one. Just do the necessary tubing under the previous driveway.
You can have experts attach it to a boiler and a pump. But if you prefer an electric system, you must lay the cable under the existing driveway. After that, you connect the system to your electric grid.
We have manufacturers with heating units that use hydroponics and electricity to melt snow. You can get the complete system from them and hire an expert to install it.
However, this model of the heating driveway may cost a handsome amount.
Why You Should Install a Solar-Heated Driveway
We have several reasons you should consider this model of the heated driveway. The fact that you won’t have to shovel your snow is enough reason.
Moreover, comparing how much you’ll pay for snow removal service over several years to a one-time solar-heated driveway installation is worth it. Below are a few advantages.
Eliminates the Stress of Shoveling
As mentioned earlier, shoveling snow is unnecessary once you’ve got a solar-heated driveway.
This will further relieve you of the stress of leaving work to address snow issues. Moreover, you’ll not have to shovel in the dark or after returning home late at night.
For older homeowners or those with mobility issues, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your snow will be taken care of.
Typically, snowy or icy driveways pose a risk to commuters. But with a solar-heated driveway, you can buy some insurance against slip-and-fall injuries.
Moreover, there will be fewer cases of vehicles sliding off icy driveways. Drivers will find it easier to gain traction as they drive.
Furthermore, homeowners will avoid the physical risk of overexertion. These include muscle pains, strains, heart attacks, and lacerations.
Little to No Maintenance Cost
When it comes to solar-heated driveways, you have little to worry about in terms of maintenance. Although it may cost you a lot in installation, the system has a reputation for low-maintenance.
You may choose to inspect the driveway once every six months or yearly. But keep in mind that there may be no need for regular checks.
Enhance the Value of Your Property
Usually, properties with a driveway have a high market value. Adding it up with a solar-supported driveway will make your property a mega asset.
You’ll get potential buyers who will be willing to pay attractive prices. However, how much you’ll take home depends on the property’s location.
Disadvantages of Solar Heated Driveway
A few drawbacks accompany this model of the driveway. Before you install one, you’ll need to consider these factors: Firstly, excess heat can reduce solar panel efficiency.
Because they’re built into the road, air circulation can’t cool the ground panels. So as the temperature exceeds its optimal levels, the panel’s efficiency reduces.
Moreover, shading caused by passing vehicles, vegetation, buildings, and debris can impact the panels.
When there’s less sunlight, the panels can lose energy by 20% or even more. Furthermore, the system cannot handle traffic loads, and the safety noise and concerns can reduce the speed limit.
Snowy or icy driveways can be a hazard, especially for people struggling with mobility.
You’ll need a heated driveway to prevent such an event—a solar-supported one. But to install one around your property, it’ll cost you money.
Right above you is how much you’re likely to spend.