Budget is tight, replacing the panels is costly, let's cap them off and forget about it.
Well, in the long run that may be a terrible decision. Let's look at the numbers.
Most water boilers have a 2.5KwH heating element. At today's rate that amounts to roughly NIS 1.375 an hour. For larger families that run the boiler for two hours a day, seven days a week, the cost per year is over a thousand shekels!
Within two-three years this family would be seeing a full return on their investment. How many investments see that type of return?