Solar Hot Water Systems
In Australia, water heating takes up approximately 25 per cent of household energy use. This figure is only surpassed by space heating and cooling (if one ignores the family vehicle(s)).
Australia's supply of sunshine is often described as abundant, and it is both ecological and economical to convert that unrelenting energy and store it as hot water.
A solar hot water system can provide 100% of your hot water needs on most days of the year. For periods of bad weather all solar water heaters have a backup system in place, either in the form of electric or gas boosters heating up the storage tank, or as continuous flow heaters that only start on demand.
There are many different types and brands of Solar Hot Water systems available in Australia; Rainbow Power Company only sells Rinnai SunMaster close coupled roof mount and the highly efficient Apricus evacuated tube hot water systems.
Rinnai - Close Coupled
Close coupled hot water systems have both the flat plate solar collector panel(s) and the water storage tank mounted on the roof as one unit. Apart from the savings in pipes, space and installation time, a close coupled system also does not require a pump to circulate water to the roof. Lastly, they need next to no maintenance.
Apricus - Evacuated Tubes
Evacuated tube hot water systems consist of solar collectors and manifold, ground mount tank and circulation pump. The low weight collectors and separate tank allow installation on pretty much any roof. Evacuated tubes feature excellent cold weather performance, and the tubes come with a staggering 15 year warranty.
Any solar hot water system will probably halve your running costs for water heating. If you minimise the use of the booster you can easily reduce your water heating bills by 80%. Factors that influence booster usage include:
- cold weather performance
- appropriate system size matching your needs
- water usage during bad weather
- pipe length and insulation
- tank position and insulation
Of course, you can operate the booster setting manually, and make conscious decisions when to turn it on. This will bring down your running costs to next to nothing.