Home Green Products Guide Can electric water heater be powered by solar panels or solar power water heaters would be better option?

Can electric water heater be powered by solar panels or solar power water heaters would be better option?

I understand that solar panels produce DC power, then via an inverter produces AC. I want to preheat water via an electric heater before it goes to gas fired unit in our house. Will it harm or even work to supply less than full AC amperage to the electric heater? Can electric water heater be powered by solar panels or solar power water heaters would be better option? I would really appreciate your useful information related to this. Thanks in advance.