Throughout Australia, the Gold Coast is known as a premier holiday destination, with fantastic beaches, surfing, theme parks, shopping, and nightlife.
It also happens to be a great place to save energy and money with solar hot water.
Along with the rest of Queensland, Gold Coast enjoys a fantastic climate, averaging 126 sunny days, and another 134 partly sunny days throughout the year, for 260 total days with sun.
That means solar hot water systems can be highly efficient money-savers. And with water heating accounting for a staggering 25% of household energy use, this should be music to your ears.
So what are the best solar hot water systems for Gold Coast?
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Which Type of Solar Hot Water System is Best for Gold Coast?
Put simply, solar hot water systems make use of the sun’s rays to heat household water, using collector units that are normally on the roof.
In practice, there are a few different types of systems that make use of this principle, each with advantages and disadvantages. Many of the factors determining the best system for you are site specific, and can involve things like:
- North-facing rooftops
- Clear solar exposure (nothing blocking or shading)
- The structure of your roof, and how much additional weight it can bear
- Existing utility in your home (gas or electric)
- Space within your garden or home for a water tank
The most surefire way to get a definitive answer for your home, is to get a quote from a professional plumber (see the form above), but at a glance, here are some of the bigger distinctions:
Evacuated Tube vs. Flat Plate Collector Systems
Within solar hot water systems, you will frequently read and hear people make reference to both “evacuated tube” and “flat plate” systems. They’re easy to tell apart, because evacuated tube systems look just like their name sounds–like a series of tubes. Flat plate systems look just like solar PV panels, only slightly thicker (because a tubes of water are snaking through them).
For many homes, a flat plate installation suits perfectly. One limitation of flat plate collectors however, is that they don’t track the sun. In the morning and late afternoon, the sun is striking the panels at a shallow angle, producing less heat. Only around midday can flat plate collectors work at maximum efficiency.
The geometry of the evacuated tubes however, means that the tubes are ‘tracking’ the sun throughout the day. Result? Better efficiency, and more hot water.
The advantages of evacuated tubes don’t stop at the increased efficiency. Because the heat is transferred to water by a manifold at the top of the collector, there actually isn’t any water IN the tubes themselves, and the overall weight is reduced. Oh, and because there’s no water in the tubes, there’s no water to freeze either.
Today, evacuated tubes are arguably the most efficient solar hot water system you can install in your home. Both systems have pros and cons, but in short, evacuated tube systems are more expensive to purchase and install, but more efficient and less expensive to operate over the long term.
Close Coupled “Rooftop” systems vs. Split Systems
Another important decision to make is whether you want to have both your collector and your tank up on the roof, or opt for a “split system”, with only the solar collectors on the roof, and the storage tank on the ground.
Most commonly, rooftop systems combine the tank and the panels on the roof. These are called close-coupled systems, for pretty obvious reasons.
The next development in flat plate systems was to separate the storage tank on the collectors. Seeing as each litre of water weights a kilo, a close-coupled system on your roof could easily approach 500 kg, and many roofs just aren’t happy to carry that.
There’s also an aesthetic piece. Some people just prefer a solution that’s less conspicuous on the roof. Split systems are the answer to both of these issues. The collectors go on the roof, and the tank goes on the ground.
Heat Pump Hot Water Systems
Though not a “solar hot water” system in the strictest sense, hot water heat pumps are another brilliant technology that makes use of similar principles to achieve greater efficiencies and lower energy requirements than traditional storage systems.
Heat pumps work similar to a refrigerator or air conditioner, drawing heat out of one space, and discharging it into another. Through a series of compressors, evaporators and heat exchangers, the thermal properties of the ambient air are compounded to achieve greater temperatures and heat the water. Because of this, heat pumps can work around the clock, without sunlight or a collector on your roof.
What Hot Water Rebates Are Available to Me in Queensland?
Throughout Australia, there are a number of hot water rebates that heat pumps and solar hot water systems can qualify for. These are usually dependent upon: geography, purchase date, and the amount of electricity that is displaced by them over the course of their lifetimes (usually up to 10 years).
While there aren’t state-specific rebates available in Queensland, qualifying energy-saving appliances (like high-efficiency hot water heaters) are eligible for Federal STCs.
1. Federal STC Rebates (Small Technology Certificates)
These are federal rebates available all over the country, though the exact number of credits and correlating rebate amount is dependent upon the brand and model of hot water heater you choose, your post code, and installation date. To get the exact amount, use the official government calculator here.
Many times these can even be handled upfront for a discount through your retailer or installer (check with them when you get your quote).
Frequently Asked Questions
What if there isn’t enough sunlight to heat my hot water?
Don’t worry, during days or times when sunshine isn’t quite adequate to cover all of your hot water needs, backup boosters powered by gas or electricity can make up the difference.
Which solar hot water brands are available in Queensland?
Virtually all the major brands of solar hot water systems are available in Gold Coast and through a majority of Queensland, including Solahart, Neopower, Rheem, Rinnai, Apricus, and Dux, to name a few.
What if I’m not in Gold Coast?
No worries! We can help you get free quotes on installing a new solar hot water system throughout the country in major metro areas (Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Ipswich, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Sunshine Coast) regional, and rural areas. Simply fill out the form near the top of this page, and indicate your state and post code.