We understand if you are starting to dread the bills each month.
The hot water system can be responsible for these huge bills that you are receiving, and you may have considered some alternatives in the past. One such alternative is solar energy which is apt for Australians since we receive plenty of sunlight.
But the question remains - is it worth taking the time and effort to make the switch to solar energy? We think - yes, indeed. If you carefully select the right option, a solar hot water system can be rewarding in the long run.
If you want to understand how you can benefit from solar hot water systems, here are a few details-
Buying a new solar model can be expensive initially, but considering that your bills will decrease by 50%, it will make up for the high cost. Since the solar alternatives are cheaper to run, it ends up lighter on the pocket. Not to forget the environmental benefits that come with avoiding non-renewable resources.
Thus, if you keep the replacement time higher, the solar model will give you much more energy at a lower price.
Using electric hot water systems on a regular basis can make up a huge chunk of your electricity bill. If you replace this with a solar hot water system, the new system cost will pay itself back in about five years or so. This is a relatively short period considering the solar model will last you much more than five years.
While switching from electric models to solar ones will benefit you immensely, the same amount of savings may not be apparent when switching from gas models. The payback time will be much longer because, as it so happens, gas is an adequate fuel to use in the hot water system.
Smaller homes that do not use the hot water function around the clock can find gas models cost-effective in general. The other thing is that changing a gas hot water system to a solar one will take more time and effort to accomplish. This is because the gas connections are completely different, and you will have to install new electric lines and circuits.
Savings will reflect in bills, so you can compare the new solar-powered bill with the old gas bill to determine how much energy was saved. A reduction of bills by 50-60% is the average, but that depends on the household hot water usage too.
If the major contributor to your bills is a ducted gas heating mechanism, then installing a solar water system will not make any difference.
If you are looking to switch to solar power because the existing gas lines or electric system is dysfunctioning, you may be in for some disappointment. Replacing it with solar power is not recommended for instant solutions because one cannot install them instantly.
The solar panels need ample sunlight, and you need to plan a section on the roof to install them for optimizing sunrays. Usually, north-facing solar panels capture the most sunlight and deliver more energy. Challenges may arise if you don’t have the ideal roof for panels or if the roof is not accessible enough.
If such issues arise, the supplier could increase installation rates. Also, certain councils may require prior permissions before installing solar panels, so check these details before buying the panels.
The total cost of getting a new solar hot water and heating system will depend on the brand, installation cost, purchase price, rebates, and other factors. The final cost can also change with the price of STCs (small-scale technology certificates).
To give you a general idea, expect a complete cost of $4,000 to $8,000 for brand new solar power systems with installation. If the system has a roof-mounted tank, the prices are a bit lower than their split counterparts.
Similarly, electric-powered solar models tend to be cheaper than the ones that run on gas. If you are interested in heat pump hot water systems, you can get a new one for $3,000 to $4,000.
Usually, there should not be an issue in using solar or hot water systems for years after purchasing. Apart from a regular inspection every four or five years, you will not have to spend anything else on maintenance.
If the roof is difficult to reach, the maintenance cost may run slightly higher since cleaning the panels and connections could take quite some time. Just like any other hot water system, the solar connections may need replacement in parts like pressure valves.
Servicing for one time may cost anywhere from $300 to $500 depending on the labour charges and the replacement parts.
You can receive financial incentives for installing solar panels, and this “solar rebate” is applicable to all of Australia. You can find out how many STCs the solar panels can qualify for (depending on the place of residence and how efficient the system is).
If your state offers energy-saving incentive schemes, you can get plenty of benefits from them. To find out more about the rebates and incentives that are on offer for your state, check the federal government energy website and search by state.
Alternatively, you could go to the local council and directly ask them if there are any energy-saving incentives in your area.
All in all, getting solar hot water systems can provide plenty of cost-saving and environmental benefits if you get the panel selection right. So, if you have decided to install solar panels on the roof, talk to the suppliers regarding your options.
Depending on the number of people in the house and the current gas connection, you should be able to explain to the supplier all your needs. For clarity before installation, ask the supplier if installation cost is included in the quote, if government rebates are applicable, and how many STCs the system qualifies for.