Replacing your existing hot water system with a solar system is not only a great way to reduce your impact on the environment, but will also cut hundreds of dollars off your energy bills each year.
Electric hot water is the average household’s largest contributor to carbon pollution, and switching to solar hot water will cut yearly carbon dioxide production by 3 tonnes. That’s the equivalent of taking a small car off the road for a year! Solar hot water is a highly efficient, low cost, green technology and as well as saving approximately 30% off your carbon footprint, it is also likely to save you $300–$700 off your energy bills each year.
How a solar hot water system works:
Solar hot water systems heat water as it circulates through collector panels located on the roof. In some newer models, a special fluid is heated, rather than water and then transfers the heat to water in the tank. The tank is well insulated to keep the water hot through the night.
In winter, if there is insufficient sun, a gas or electric booster heats the water tank. You can manage the booster’s energy use by installing a manual switch or putting in a timer to allow you to heat the water in winter just before you use it. Remember to turn off the booster in the warmer months to save energy!
How much does it cost?
The full cost of solar hot water systems are approximately $4000 for a family sized system. However, The Federal Government offer incentives under the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Scheme to households that install solar hot water and solar power systems which may bring the cost down. For more details visit: http://ret.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/About-the-Schemes/Small-scale-Renewable-Energy-Scheme–SRES-/about-sres
For most people they will have recovered the cost of their system within 8-10 years through the money they save on their energy bills.
Finding a supplier:
There are a great number of good local suppliers in Perth. Just search “Hot Water Systems” in the Yellow Pages.
Some useful tips when installing a solar hot water system:
- Locate the unit near your kitchen and bathroom to get hot water quickly
- Ensure the solar connected is facing North for the best performance
- Shade one of the panels with shade cloth in mid-summer to avoid water boiling – improving safety and longer unit life