Solar thermal water heating systems, on the other hand, use sunlight to directly heat water. Solar thermal panels incorporate copper tubes for collecting water and heating it using sunlight before sending it back to a storage tank.
Solar thermal can be more space efficient than solar PV, and it’s highly efficient, able to turn as much as 90% of radiation into heat in contrast to the 15% or 20% associated with solar PV systems. While solar thermal could be the cheaper option of the two, you can’t use it to power anything else in your house. Additionally, with solar PV you can sell excess electricity back to the grid through the feed-in-tariff system.
How do solar hot water systems work?
With a solar hot water system, the cold water flows from your tank to the solar collector, which is usually situated on the roof. In split systems, cold water gets pumped up to the collector. In thermosiphon systems, the tank is located on the roof. The cold water runs into the collector as it’s heavier than hot water. When the cold water travels through the solar collector, the heat of the sun as conducted by special materials heats up the water before it’s returned to the water and ready to use when you turn on the tap.
Solar water heating vs gas vs electric
Gas, electric, and solar are the main options for hot water systems in Australia. Solar water heaters are the most efficient option, better than gas or electric heaters for energy efficiency and running costs.
Ultimately, how much money you’ll save with solar and gas depends on what type of system you currently use. It also varies depending on how much hot water you use and the specifications of your new system. Things like the location and orientation of your house and the amount of sunlight can also impact how much you save.
How much do solar hot water systems cost?
While solar water heating systems will cost you more to buy and install, their payback period can be as little as seven years. Depending on the size of your system and other factors, a solar hot water system might cost you around $3,000 to $7,000 fully installed. Note you might be able to claim a rebate or be eligible for other incentives depending on your state or territory, in addition to the federal government-regulated Small-Scale Technology Certificates.
What size system do you need?
A four-square-metre solar collector (two panels) and a 300 to 360 litre tank might be sufficient for the average four-person household. However, if you’re in a region with less sunlight or if your property isn’t optimally oriented for sunlight, you might opt for a larger tank to cover you for cloudy days.
When it comes to solar water heaters, you have a lot of options, and it’s important to take into account your household size, climate, house type and orientation, roof design, and available space. Within solar hot water systems you can consider a range of additional features like natural gas, LPG, or electricity boosted for backup and extra peace of mind. Solar will typically be a more cost-effective option than gas or electric, but if solar is not an option, gas hot water systems can be the next best choice.
Want to know more about solar energy?
Solar panel have become popular in Australia as they offer potential cost savings as well as an eco-friendly approach to energy generation. From how they work to panel size, installation and positioning, there’s a lot to wrap your head around. We've put together some information on everything you need to know about solar energy before choosing a solar photovoltaic (PV) system for your home.
For more info contact Ariston solar water heater or call +971 4 252 2966