Perth is commonly known as ‘the most isolated capital city in the world’, being surrounded by the Indian Ocean on one side, and the outback on the other. Perhaps slightly less well-known however, is that it’s also the sunniest.
Which makes it a great place to save energy and money with solar hot water.
Along with many places in Western Australia, Perth has a very warm, sunny climate. Annually, it averages 144 sunny days, and another 121 partly sunny days, for 265 total days with sun.
That means solar hot water systems can be highly efficient money-savers in Perth. 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 Perth?
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Western Australia has a deep-seeded love affair with solar hot water. In 1901 in Perth, two entrepreneurs formed S W Hart and Co Plumbers and Ironworks, to manufacture tanks, troughs and sinks. Over 50 years later, in 1953, Hart’s introduced the first solar hot water systems marketed in Australia. They were called Solahart, and were produced in Perth.
Just 10 years later, in 1963, Alan Collier Edwards produced the first Edwards solar hot water system in Western Australia. While the Edwards brand was absorbed by Rheem in 2013, it was an international organisation and a leader in producing solar hot water systems for several decades.
Which Type of Solar Hot Water System is Best for Western Australia?
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).
Both have pros and cons, but in short, evacuated tube systems are more expensive to purchase and install, but 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.
Keeping your storage tank on the ground is less visually obtrusive to most people, and also relieves your rooftop of several hundred kilograms of additional weight.
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.
What Hot Water Rebates Are Available to Me in Western Australia?
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 Western Australia, qualifying energy-saving appliances (like high-efficiency hot water heaters) are eligible for Federal STCs.
1. Federal STC Rebates (Small Technology Certificates)
Under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme eligible solar water heaters and heat pumps are entitled to a number of small-scale technology certificates (STCs). This is based on the estimated amount of electricity in megawatt hours (MWh) the system displaces over the course of its lifetime.
The number of STCs a particular solar hot water model is entitled to will depend on its installation date and geographic location identified through its post code. You can check the number of STC’s that can be created by checking eligible systems on the STC Calculator.
Many times these credits 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 Western Australia?
What if I’m not in Perth?
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, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Melbourne, Sydney) regional, and rural areas. Simply fill out the form near the top of this page, and indicate your state and post code.