SYDNEY SOLAR HOT WATER
Using solar energy to heat water is an effective way to use our abundant sunshine thereby saving energy, money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Water heating is a significant user of energy. In fact, water heating accounts for the second largest segment of household energy use, after space heating and cooling. More than half of all hot water use is in the bathroom, a third in the laundry and the remainder in the kitchen. Heating water for these activities comprises approximately 25 per cent of household energy use in Australia.
Using solar energy to heat water is an effective way to use our abundant sunshine thereby saving energy, money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Solar water heaters only make up around 13 per cent of all hot water systems used in Australia.
Types of solar hot water systems
There are two main types of solar hot water systems:
- roof top system
- split system
Roof Top Solar System
If you have ample free roof space, then you are perfectly placed for solar options. Roof top solar for example, work by mounting the solar panels and storage tank together on the roof. The collectors draw the sun’s energy into fluid in the solar collectors, then the heated fluid circulates the adjacent storage tank.
Split Solar System
If you have limited roof space or you prefer a more streamline look, then a split loline solar water heater may be the best solution. Whilst the solar panels are mounted on the roof, the storage tank is located at ground level.
How does solar hot water work?
A solar water heater uses energy from the sun to heat water for your home. Solar panels on your roof collect energy from the sun’s rays to heat water that flows to a storage tank ready for use. There are many different types and configurations of solar water heaters available.
A solar collector absorbs heat from the sun and uses it to heat up water. There are two main types of solar collectors: flat plate and evacuated tubes.
Flat plates are the most common type of collector and are generally the cheapest option. Flat plate collectors are most efficient when the sun’s rays hit the collector perpendicular to the surface. If you live in a warm, sunny climate, a flat plate collector is likely to be suitable. In cold climates, some flat plate collectors may suffer some heat loss and could possibly be damaged by frost if not adequately protected.
Evacuated tubes consist of a series of glass tubes containing an inner water or heat pipe, which is surrounded by a vacuum. The round surface of evacuated tubes allows the sun’s rays to hit perpendicular to the surface for a larger part of the day, which means that they are highly efficient for more of the day. This also allows them to be installed facing east or west (if north is not possible), with only a small loss of efficiency. They can be better suited to cold climates, as their vacuum minimises heat loss and they are better protected from frost damage. If your collector can’t be installed facing north, installing evacuated tubes or more flat plate collectors may help compensate for the loss of efficiency. If you live in a cold, frost-prone area, you should consider getting a system with frost protection.
A booster is a back-up heater used to heat your water when there is not enough energy available from the sun. The type of booster you choose will be influenced by what energy sources you have available, if you’re retrofitting an existing system and the costs involved. There are three types of booster: electric, gas (storage and instantaneous) and solid fuel.
Electric – An electric boosted system can be expensive to run depending on your electricity tariff, but they are generally cheaper to purchase than gas boosted systems. Electric boosters are generally run as storage boosters.
Gas – A gas boosted system generally releases fewer greenhouse gases and is the most energy efficient option. If you have access to mains gas, it also generally has low running costs. There are two different types of gas boosters – instantaneous and storage. Instantaneous boosters heat water only as needed, while storage boosters heat all the water in the tank when the water temperature drops.
What happens if it’s cloudy?
We often get asked the question “Is solar hot water reliable?”. In the past 20 years, solar hot water has advanced rapidly and the technology surrounding it is now cheaper, more reliable and has a longer life span.
“But what happens if it’s cloudy?” is another common question we are asked. Even when the sky is cloudy, the sun is still letting off solar rays that heat your hot water. If the sky is blue and the sun is shining, you will have more hot water BUT it doesn’t need to be sunny and hot for a solar hot water system to work and generate great, free hot water.
Boosters and back up systems mean if your hot water tank isn’t holding enough hot water for your needs that the booster will heat water for you on the spot. A common and popular type of back-up system is a gas or electric instantaneous hot water system.
Choosing the right solar hot water system
The number of people in your household, the amount of water you use and when you use the water will all influence what size system you should get. It’s important to select the right size system for your household’s needs. If you have a storage tank that is too small, there is the potential to occasionally run out of hot water, or that the booster will need to be used more often.
If your storage tank is too large, energy will be wasted in keeping excess water hot.
Typical hot water usage in Australia is on average approximately 80 litres per person per day. Households with high hot water consumption or that use a lot of hot water at the same time, for example if everyone showers at the same time of day, may want to consider getting a larger system.
It is important to select the type of solar system based on the following:
- family size
- house type
- roof characteristics
- water quality
- available space
- aesthetic preferences.
Factors that can increase your hot water consumption and are not often taken into consideration include:
- spa baths
- taking long showers
- living in a cold climate
The benefits of switching to solar hot water
Did you know that if you switch to solar hot water you’ll free our planet of up to 3 tonnes of carbon every year – that’s the equivalent of taking a small car off the road!
In Australia, dwellings where electric hot water heaters are used are a major contributor to the consumption of electricity and to greenhouse gas emissions except when the electricity is from renewable sources. Contact us for more information about the benefits and costs involved in switching from electric hot water to a more energy efficient and environmentally friendly solar system.
Increase the value of your home
Ask any real estate agent and we’re sure they tell you that adding solar increases the value of your home. The significant savings on household energy bills now and into the future are incentive alone for any potential buyer.
Reduce your energy bills now
Solar is a great way to reduce your energy bills and your reliance on energy companies by harnessing the sun’s free energy. Companies like Rheem and Solahart have been delivering hot water free from the sun to households around the world for over 60 years. The range of solar hot water systems on the market has expanded to include solar power (PV) and battery storage technology.
By replacing your old gas or electric water heater with a solar one can save 50%-90% of your hot water energy use.
Installing a Solahart PV system with a Telsa Powerwall battery stores free power for use at night or when the sun’s not shining. Any surplus power can then be fed back into the grid.
We can provide you with all solar hot water system solutions so you receive unbiased advice on the best system for your needs.
Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs)
If you make the switch from electric or gas to an energy efficient solar hot water system, you may be eligible for the Federal Government’s incentives to hlp you make the transition. These incentives come in the form of Small Scale Technology Certificates (STCs), which can be sold to recoup a portion of the cost of purchasing and installing your new solar system. These STCs can be used to reduce the purchase price of your new system and can often save you thousands of dollars.
Contact us for more information about the Government’s solar hot water incentives and STCs and how you can benefit from them. Call 1800 266 999 today.
Want to know how to take advantage of the Government’s STCs?
Solar hot water is our business! We are licensed solar system installers and repair technicians for all water heater makes and models. Contact our experience team for obligation free advice about the costs of switching to solar hot water and start reducing your energy bills (and your carbon footprint) today.
Need advice choosing the right solar hot water system for your home?
Call one of our experienced technicians today who are happy to advise you on what solar hot water heaters would best suit your household usage requirements. We can also advise whether it may be more economical to switch from electric or gas to an energy efficient, environmentally friendly solar system. All our advice is free and without obligation. Call us today on 1800 266 999.