Every day that your home or business keeps using that old electric storage hot water system, is another day that you don’t benefit from the lower running costs, improved property value, and lower CO2 emissions, provided by a well designed and installed solar hot water system.
For that reason, choosing to install a solar hot water system is one of the best financial decisions you can make when it comes to upgrading your home or business, and reducing your energy use and cost.
In this article I discuss the different types of solar hot water systems (SHWSs) available, including flat plates, evacuated tubes and heat pumps, and the considerations you need to take into account in choosing the best one for you.
Solar Hot Water Systems have been pioneered in Australia. Over four decades we have produced many of the best domestic solar hot water systems available in the world. The list of quality brands available in Australia is an impressive one, and includes Solahart, Hills Solar, Beasley, Dux, Rheem, Siddons Solarstream,Quantum, Endless Solar, Sanden, Stiebel Eltron, Conergy, Edwards and more… At Enviro Friendly, we’ve worked very hard to provide our customers with the very best range of solar hot water systems.
Two Different Categories of Solar Hot Water
There are two fundamentally different technologies available to deliver you cheap solar hot water.
On-The-Roof Solar Hot Water Systems
These systems have collectors on the roof to collect the radiant heat of the sun.
The earliest versions include the traditional flat-plate collectors together with a tank, both mounted on the roof. These have been around for 50 years, and were pioneered by companies like Solahart.
Later, split systems were developed, with the collectors on the roof, but the tank mounted on the ground.
Less weight on the roof was an attraction to many, and not having the tank dominate the roofline was a winner for others.
In the 1980’s, a new collector system was developed in Australia. the more advanced evacuated tubes. The geometry of the tubes means that they are passively tracking the sun all day, leading to an increase in efficiency.
Lower weight and less problems with frost are two of the other advantages of evacuated tubes.
While we’ve found evacuated tube systems sold in Australia back to the mid-1980’s, it is probably Apricus that can take the credit for the popularisation of evacuated tubes. Today, there are numerous companies marketing evacuated tube systems, with Apricus the leader.
The Installation Of An Apricus Solar Hot Water System.
Heat Pump Solar Hot Water Systems
The second solar hot water technology is the heat pump. They have been on the Australian market for over 25 years- a well-kept secret from most Australians! The German Stiebel Eltron is shown at left.
A heat pump solar hot water system is very clever. Just like a reverse-cycle air conditioner heating a room in winter, they use a little bit of electricity to collect a lot of heat that the sun has put into the atmosphere.
They produce similar savings to most on-the-roof systems, but are cheaper to instal because nothing has to be installed on the roof. The connections are the same as an old-style electric storage hot water system.
Of course, they are recognised by all Australian Governments for solar hot water rebates.
There is a wide range of domestic and commercial heat pump solar hot water systems available on the Australian market today, and models like the quiet, energy efficient Rapid from Hydrotherm provide the hot water systems Brisbane homes are looking for.
NSW Government-backed advice on Solar Hot Water. (Note: Doesn’t cover Heat Pumps)
Which Solar Hot Water Technology Is Best?
Both systems reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, whether it be gas, or any fossil fuel used to produce electricity. If we look at whole-of-life cost- the cost of buying, running and maintaining the system- we believe that the evacuated tube solar hot water system is a clear winner. If keeping down the initial cost is important, heat pumps are the answer. Any time a roof-mounted system isn’t suitable, the heat pump is the answer!
How Much Will I Save With A Solar Hot Water System?
How long is a piece of string? It’s hard to say, because every household is different. A different number of people, different shower lengths, hot vs. cold wash, standard vs. low-flow showerheads. All these factors can make a big difference in how much you’ll save. It’s probably fair to say that the average family of four switching from an old electric to a new solar hot water system will save around $700 a year. Of course, whatever saving they make is dramatically rising each year as energy prices head north! Oh, we forgot to mention… you’ll also save around 3-4 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year going into the atmosphere!
Would You Like 13% + Tax-Free Return On Your Investment In The First Year?
Replacing your old Electric HWS with an Evacuated Tube solar hot water system (SHW) from Enviro Friendly really is one of the best investments you can make.
Below is an example of a SHW’s return on investment in the order of 13%+ (tax-free)which is a great return on investment in anyone’s books, given the current climate.
We have not plucked figures out of thin air, nor made statements about the %age savings off your current bills. The information we have used is factual, based on published data ,and we’ve broken the basis for the figures down into their constituent parts so they are clear and transparent.
If you have an old electric hot water system on a standard mains electricity tariff, now is the time to replace it, and see a high return on your investment.
The figures below are based on the following assumptions,
- A 22 tube 250L Glass lined (triple layered) Hills Solar evacuated tube system based on RRP
- Connected to Always Home@ActewAGL plan with a tariff rate of 16.65 cents.
- Standard installation charges
- Average (kw) production of the system based on Hills Solar modelling software.
- Eligible for Federal SHW rebate of $1000
- STC rebate costed at $25 (value at the time of publication)
Your individual circumstances may change your outlay and return on investment, but we are very happy to discuss your situation, and provide you with the same calculations to show your own individual ROI, based on your own requirements.
The cost of a quality evacuated tube system will depend on a number of factors including,
- The number of people in the home
- The type of booster selected, ie. Gas or Electric
- The amount of installation work required to install the unit.
The system used to calculate the first year’s 13%+ return on investment is a Hills Solar HS.GL.265.E.22. The system consists of a 250L Glass lined tank suitable for up to 5 people matched with 22 triple layered tubes.
With standard installation costs for replacing an electric boosted system into the same location on a single story roof the cost of the system is $3870.00 (after rebates see below)
Currently when replacing an electric HWS there are 2 rebates normally open to you.
- The $1000 Federal Government Solar Hot Water Rebate, available to eligible home owners who have not claimed the federal insulation rebate, for replacing an existing electric HWS.
2 STC’s. Each SHWS is assigned a certain number of STC’s which have no set value in price. Currently, as of the 15th August 2011, each point is worth $25.
The Return on Investment:
Your current electric hot water system costs 16.65 cent per kw to run. If you replace it with the 22 tube Hills system, the saving you make are the average amount of kw’s the 22 tubes can produce per annum that replace the mains power normally consumed by the old HWS.
System cost $3870.00
Average saving pa $517 (in the first year)
Percentage return in the1st year 13.35%
The ROI is based on Hills Solar modelling software where the average amount of (kw’s) per month is calculated for a 22 tube system installed in the ACT. See the below table for average monthly (kw) production. The graph above shows cumulative savings based on average 10% price increase pa over 10 years.
Why Act Now?
We all know the cost of energy is going to increase, in fact the CEO of Origin Energy was quoted last year stating, “We think that, by 2020, the cost of electricity will be threefold what it is today” (The Australian 14/04/10)
During 2012 stage 2 of the Phase Out Electric hot water systems comes into effect, we are not sure exactly when this is going to happen but when it does it means no more electric HWS’s can be purchased to replace an existing HWS. Only Solar hot water systems, Heat pumps or high efficiency gas systems will be able to be purchased. It is expected that when this occurs the current $1000 federal SHW rebate will no longer be available. This rebate could be cut sooner based on previous government rebates cut with little or no notice to the market.
As the cost of energy rises the return on your investment increases, the ACT’s energy prices have gone up on average 6.5% over the past 2 years, the addition of extra cost burdens on energy prices such as the proposed carbon tax will see energy prices rise even faster. The longer the Old electric HWS stays installed the more it’s going to cost you in running and replacement costs.
|ACT Production and Savings|
|Month||Collector output per month (kW)||Savings per month|
How do you ensure you get the BEST solar hot water deal?
Get multiple, obligation-free quotes.
It’s time to get FREE Quotes to replace your old hot water heater, with a new, money-saving solar hot water system.
Let’s face it, your old system is eating up money like it’s going out of style. It’s been estimated that the average family of four will save $500-700 a year by switching from an old electric HWS, to a new solar system. And that saving will keep increasing every year, as energy prices continue their upward spiral.
If you’re on a tight budget, you simply can’t afford to keep paying an increasing proportion of your income on hot water bills. It’s time to act.
If you’re in the fortunate position of being able to invest funds for your finncial future, you’ll be amazed at the wonderful tax-free return that installing a solar hot water system will provide. It probabaly blows any other investment you can make out of the water- securely.
Now you can take the first step to BIG hot water savings. Here’s how…
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