With energy bills spiralling out of control, it makes sense to consider a new energy saving solar hot water system.
According to the Brisbane City Council,
The benefits of installing a solar hot water system include:
– a decrease in household energy consumption of up to 30% and a reduction of energy costs
– minimising harmful greenhouse gas emissions and reducing your carbon footprint
– provision of up to 90% of hot water supply
Federal Government Solar Hot Water incentives are making solar hot water systems more affordable for Brisbane customers, saving purchasers on average around $900.
But which system should you choose?
There Are TWO Kinds of Solar Hot Water System
There are two fundamentally different technologies available to deliver you cheap solar hot water: Roof-mounted systems; and heat pumps.
Roof-mounted system include flat-plate systems, and evacuated tubes.
The first is called ‘close-coupled’, because the collectors and the tank are joined together in one unit on the roof. This was the original configuration for solar hot water systems, and were designed that way so that, because the hot water natuarlly rose from the collectors to the tank (the thermosyphon effect), it wsn’t necessary to include a pump. One consequence of this design, is that the large tank is well and truly visible, and that a large extra weight load is place on the roof. A 300 litre tank may weigh over 50 kg, and will contain 300kg of water. This lead to the development of the split system.
Split system solar hot water systems separate the production of the hot water from it’s storage. Slimline collectors mounted on the roof greatly reduce the weight of the system on the roof, and are aesthetically pleasing to much of the market.
The collectors heat the water. which is then transferred to a storage tank which is located on the ground. Split systems are growing in popularity, not only in Brisbane, but all around the country.
The second type of roof-mounted solar hot water system uses evacuated tubes as the collectors.
Evacuated tube systems, becoming popular on the market later than flat plates, are almost exclusively split systems.
Many people prefer the aesthetics of the evacuated tubes, but most choose them because of a number of advantages compared with flat plates. Top brands include Apricus and Solargain.
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Heat Pump Solar Hot Water Ideal For Brisbane Climate
The second solar hot water technology we selected was the heat pump. They have been on the Australian market for over 20 years – a well-kept secret from most Australians!
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 roof-mountedsystems, but are cheaper to install, as the connections are the same as an old-style electric storage hot water system. Of course, they are also eligible for relevant solar hot water incentice (STC’s).
Heat pumps are ideally suited to the Brisbane market, where comparatively high air temperatures mean even less energy is used to heat the water.
There is a wide range of domestic and commercial heat pump solar hot water systems available on the Queensland market today, and models like the long established Quantum provide the solar hot water systems Brisbane homes are looking for.
Both Types Of Solar Hot Water System Suit Brisbane
Both systems reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, whether we are using gas, or coal-fired electricity. If we look at whole-of-life cost, ie the cost of buying, running and maintaining the system, we believe that the evacuated tube solar hot water system is a clear winner. If roof space or shading is an issue, then heat pumps are the answer. Any time a roof-mounted collector 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 gas boosted solar hot water system will save $ 700 a year or more, rising with each price increase for electricity.
Oh, we forgot to mention… you’ll also save around 3-4 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year going into the atmosphere! It’s nice to know that the more money you save, the better off the environment is. That’s a real win-win situation.
If you’re in SE Queensland, there are also some great options in Ipswich.
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