Solar Water Heating - The Facts - Technology - SUNTRUST

By: Oz Hejia Solar  05-Apr-2012
Keywords: Heating, Water Heating

How does solar water heating work?


energy of the sun is harnessed in a special solar collector/panel usually mounted on the roof of your house. Water is pumped from your hot water cylinder to the collector where it is heated by the transferred energy and then returned to the cylinder. The storage tank is usually fitted with an electric, gas or solid fuel booster that heats the water when sunlight is insufficient. Some solar water heaters also have frost protection to prevent damage in frost prone areas.

Solar hot water supply located in climate zones 4,5,6,7 and 8 is required to comply with Section 8 of AS/NZS 3500.4 2003 Heated Water Services (including amendments:1, 2 and 3.) For further information please refer to the Building Code of Australia (BCA) Volume Two, Part 3.12.5.

What is evacuated tube technology and how does it compare with flatplate systems?

Evacuated tube collectors consist of rows of transparent twin glass tubes. When each twin tube is manufactured, air is evacuated from the space between the two tubes, forming a vacuum. The absence of air eliminates convective or conductive heat loss, which means greater efficiency at achieving higher temperatures in both direct and diffused solar radiation. Evacuated tube systems are more efficient than flat-plate systems, particularly in the cooler months and on cloudy days. This is due partly to the vacuum insulation (which minimizes heat loss) and partly to the fact that the curved surface of the tubes allows the sun’s rays to strike perpendicular to the water for a greater part of the day. Evacuated tube systems weigh much less than flat-plate systems and cost significantly less. Individual tubes can be replaced in the event of damage, making long term maintenance potentially less costly. Evacuated tube collectors are typically more efficient at producing higher temperatures than flat-plate collectors, and will not freeze in frosty conditions. Evacuated tube collectors produce extremely high temperatures, which makes them more appropriate for commercial and industrial applications.

How much money will I save?

In summer, it may be possible to heat all the water you need with solar energy. In winter, or on cold cloudy days, solar water heating will meet part of your hot water needs - you'll also need some supplementary heating from your booster system.The exact amount you save from solar water heating will depend on a wide range of factors including how much hot water you use, the solar water heating system you install, and the quality of the installation.Generally recovering the costs of a solar water heating installation may take anywhere from 4 and 7 years. Once it has paid for itself, it's like having a pay rise!

It's been estimated that, for an average household, an effective system will:

  • provide up to 90 % of annual hot water needs
  • cut about 2200kWh from annual electricity use
  • provide savings of at least $450-$900 a year (depending on the cost of your electricity or gas supply).

Are the products under warranty?

Yes we offer a comprehensive warranty of up to 10 Year ( Conditions apply) 

Is solar water heating only for new houses, or can existing houses be converted?

Solar water heating is an

solution for both new and existing homes. Often homeowners will take the opportunity when renovating to also install a new solar system which is integrated with household electricity and gas supplies.

How much does it cost? New build homes vs existing home conversions?

Because each installation is different, the costs of solar water heating can vary widely. We assume that a cylinder is already in place or budgeted for in a new house build. The cost to install a solar system typically ranges from $3,000 to $6,000 however

to us about your particular circumstances so we can provide a firm quote.

Can I use a solar collector with my existing hot water system?

In most cases yes. We would naturally need to understand your specific requirements before confirming this.

Is this the only form of water heating I will need?

There can be times when there isn't enough solar energy to heat the water and this is when 'booster heating' is used to heat up the water in the cylinder to the right or optimum temperature. This secondary booster heating may be via a wetback,

, and sometimes gas.

Does solar energy help reduce negative impacts on the environment?

If you install solar water heating, you'll be helping to reduce Australia’s dependence on non-renewable energy sources.

Water heating accounts for 25 per cent of the energy used in an average and is responsible for 23 per cent of the total greenhouse gas emissions from home energy use. Reducing your hot water use and using renewable energy sources to heat water are great ways to reduce your environmental impact.

By installing the most appropriate and efficient water heater for your household size and water use patterns you can save money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions without compromising your lifestyle. An efficient hot water system can also add value to your home and help you to meet local council or state/territory


The information in this article was current at 27 Mar 2012

Keywords: Heating, Water Heating

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