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Solar hot water in Canberra?

By butterflygirl - 7 January 2011 32

We are on the market for a new hot water system as our old electric model is cactus.

I’m wondering if anyone has any comments on their experience with solar hot water in Canberra, brands, efficiency, relability?

I am currently comparing Solahart and Edwards. Edwards has a stainless steel tank and seems to have better quality fittings, but the panels are not as efficient as the Solahart ones. I’m concerned that in winter this will mean more days using the booster. Solahart seems to have great efficiency, and gets more RECs than the Edwards, but the tank is steel and hence has to have a sacrificial anode.

Thanks for any info you can give!

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Solar hot water in Canberra?
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Pitchka 11:29 am 07 Dec 12

We have had one of these since we bult a few years ago..
http://www.edwards.com.au/default.asp?V_DOC_ID=852

Specially desined for frosty climates as the unit is designed to avoid heat loss..

On frosty days followed by cloudy days (little to no sun) we have the booster turn on twice a day, 5-5.30pm just in time for when we get home, and then from 4-4.30am, for the mornings… Needless to say, the booster function in the Edwards system are sensational.. Our quarterly bill over the winter period increases on average by $100 per quarter.

Spring through to almost winter, i only turn the booster on when needed for 30 minutes…

I have only used it 3 or 4 times for 30 minutes in the last 2 months.

dpm 10:06 am 07 Dec 12

mtrax said :

I’m also looking at a Solar Hot water system, and wanted to know if people can recommend some installers , specifically the by Apricus or Hills ie a Evacuated tube with Gas boost.
thanks

Please read this re: Hills solar apparently getting out of solar hot water business:
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2004844

Apparently warranties will be honoured, but they can’t guarantee spare parts won’t run out one day before then… Very sad to see really.
I’m not sure if it’s 100% true (nothing on their web site but I also heard the same from a plumber last week) so you may want to clarify with an installer if getting a quote…. 🙁

mtrax 9:21 am 07 Dec 12

I’m also looking at a Solar Hot water system, and wanted to know if people can recommend some installers , specifically the by Apricus or Hills ie a Evacuated tube with Gas boost.
thanks

2604 10:57 pm 23 Oct 11

matt31221 said :

I have spoken at length with my collegues about modern solar hot water systems, and the consensus is – this is what everyone around ACT should have gotten instead of plain solar panels for power generation.

Yeah, but solar panels with a feed-in tariff allow people to abate carbon for the totally reasonable cost of about $600 per tonne. “Reasonable” because some other mug is paying for it.

matt31221 8:02 pm 23 Oct 11

I have spoken at length with my collegues about modern solar hot water systems, and the consensus is – this is what everyone around ACT should have gotten instead of plain solar panels for power generation.

Electric storage hot water systems consume alot of power and they make up the majority of your electricity bill (unless you have a kilm or you run your oven 24/7 and have heaps of downlights). They really suck the juice all day long. Aparently the new gen solar hot waters are so excellent and efficient they will smash your electricity bill into little pieces. If all of us had one of these systems each then Canberra would indeed be a green city – even with all the aircons.

Deref 1:42 pm 23 Oct 11

Pork Hunt said :

Bloody Cathodics and their sacrificial anodes…

LOL. Good one.

butterfly02 1:38 pm 23 Oct 11

Well, it’s taken most of the year but I am finally reporting back on what we did.
We’ve got a Hills evacuated tube system, which sits on brackets to allow better sun capture during winter.
I think the final cost after RECs etc was about $4500.
Envirofriendly installed the unit, but we have had a few problems. In particular the pumps have been problematic and have required a lot of phone calls and service visits to fix things. Thankfully as it’s still under warrenty this has not cost us anything, but I hope that the current pump they have put on is going to be a good one and will last the distance.
We had to boost for all of winter, possibly partly due to the pump problems.
Since they have fixed it it’s working fine, and no boosting of course with this beautiful weather we’re having.
So in summary, I still don’t know what the best option is, although we are happy with the tubes I think we would also have been happy with the Solahart.
In repsonse to parle, I guess we’re not all doing it just for the money. And yes, it is a long term payback, but as none of us really know what is going to happen with electricity prices it could be shorter than you think.

Deref 9:32 am 20 Sep 11

Deref said :

Give some thought to a reverse cycle system. We replaced our old off-peak electric unit with a Rheem unit about a year and a half ago and it’s been brilliant, including through winter.

I’ll second that. Ours has been in for a couple of years now and it’s been excellent.

sepi 9:26 am 20 Sep 11

Electricity costs are going up, but the sun will always be there.

I’m very happy to have solar. It is also a good way to reduce energy usage, which is good for everyone, not just me.

dungfungus 8:15 am 20 Sep 11

If you ignore the constant bagging that the Canberra Times give them, get a Dux Airoheat heat pump unit with the defrost chip. Siting is crucial – must be on the North side of your house with plenty of air-space. They are incredibly cheap to run, especially in the warmer months but more importantly they don’t need the sun to shine.

parle 11:12 pm 19 Sep 11

2604 said :

It came to about $4200 installed, after all the rebates.

with current off peak electricity prices and my usage it would take me 247 months to get the $4200 back, all it has to do is not require replacement and for me to not move in that 20+ years and month number 248 would be sweet.

Add to that 20 years of dinner party conversation on how my water from a solar hot water service is amazing, as if hot water never existed before then, and this all sounding pretty good.

2604 9:58 pm 19 Sep 11

screaming banshee said :

As a follow up to this, what sort of prices did your systems come to?

We have a Hills evacuated tube system, which we installed about six months ago.

It came to about $4200 installed, after all the rebates.

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