For your home

Solar Hot Water Systems

Unlike solar power systems which work on light, solar hot water systems work on heat. This means that in the depths of winter, you may need to rely on your electric or gas booster to heat the water to your desired temperature. You’ll find the rest of the year, your solar hot water system will run straight from the sun.
On cloudy days, your hot water system may need a brief boost. The booster will come on when the temperature of water in the storage tank falls below the thermostat setting and then turns off automatically when the water reaches the required temperature.

The type of solar hot water system you buy depends on whether or not you live in a frost-prone area, what your budget is and how long a warranty you want. For those on a budget, not in a frost-prone area and who are happy with the standard warranty, we’d suggest a flat plate system. For people who live in a frost-prone area, we’d only recommend an evacuated tube system.

Flat panel solar hot water collectors

Flat panel solar hot water collectors are ideal for those on a budget and in areas that are not affected by frost. These systems work on copper pipes running through a glass-covered collector, sometimes connected to a water storage tank on the roof, though usually, the storage tank is on the ground.

The sun heats the copper pipes and the resulting hot water is fed back to the storage tank. The sun generally provides sufficient heat to give you plenty of hot water for most of the year, but when there are a number of cold days (typically through winter), your system will need a helping hand. This is where your electric or gas booster comes in. This heats the water when there’s not quite enough heat in the sun to do the job.

The brands that we’re comfortable recommending are EnviroSun (previously known as Conergy) and Rinnai.

Evacuated tube solar hot water collector system

This type of solar hot water system offers higher efficiency and is better suited to frost-prone areas, as they don’t crack when the temperature drops below freezing, whereas many flat plate systems are prone to cracking in extreme cold. Evacuated tube systems can extract the heat out of the air on a humid day and don’t need direct sunlight. They perform better than flat panel systems when the sun is not directly on the collectors. They’re also more durable and cheaper to repair.

Evacuated tube solar hot water systems consist of two glass tubes that are fused at the top and bottom. The space between the two tubes is evacuated to form a vacuum. A copper pipe running through the centre of the tube meets a common manifold that is then connected to a slow flow circulation pump that pumps water to a storage tank below. This heats the water during the day. Because the tank is so well insulated, the water stays hot for a number of days.
If there isn’t sufficient heat from the sun, your electric or gas booster will get your water to temperature.

The best brands on the market are Apricus, SolarArk and Rinnai. Apricus and SolarArk are the most efficient and come with the longest warranties.

Heat pump hot water systems

A heat pump water heater works on a heat transfer principle. The air around us contains a certain amount of heat, even in winter. The unit extracts heat from the air and uses a heat exchanger to warm the water as it flows through the heat pump and returns the warmed water to your tank.

Heat pumps use fewer resources to generate heat and are a more energy-efficient way of heating water. In fact, they use roughly 75% less power to heat your water than a conventional electric hot water system. They’re particularly useful if you have limited roof space for collectors/panels, have poor orientation or shading or if you have lots of surplus solar energy. Though they’re generally not recommended if you live right by the coast, as they suck in the ambient air and if this is laden with salt, the unit will corrode prematurely.

If you install a heat pump with an inbuilt controller (eg. Reclaim), the unit can be programmed to run only when there’s surplus solar energy. When the sun disappears behind a cloud, it ramps down; when the sun reappears, it kicks in again. If there hasn’t been enough sun for the appliance to achieve the desired result by the end of the day (eg. reaching 60°C), the unit will be briefly powered by the grid.

Reputable heat pump brands include Sanden, Reclaim and Stiebel Eltron.

Our Solar Hot Water Systems

EnviroSun – flate plate solar hot water system

Product Features:

  • Australian-owned; have been operating for over 20 years.
  • Offer both split systems (collectors on the roof; tank on the ground) and roof-mounted (all components on the roof).
  • Super efficient collectors and high grade vitreous enamel or highest grade stainless steel tank.

Product Warranty:
10 year warranty on collectors (guaranteed not to crack due to frost)

7 year warranty on 444 (higher grade) stainless steel tank (more robust; has lower nickel content)

5 years on parts and labour; 5 years on parts only (no labour)

Electrics (thermostat/elements): 1 year

Roofline systems: warranties: 5 years parts and labour on tanks and collectors; 12 months on electrics

Product Characteristics
  • One of the highest efficiency flat-plate solar hot water systems on the Australian market.
  • The collectors are made of marine-grade aluminium.
    designed to last a minimum of 15 years
  • Comes with water and pressure release valve when tank reaches 99°C.

Apricus evacuated tube solar hot water system

Product Features:

  • Australian-owned and operated.
  • Come in both stainless steel or vitreous enamel tank.
  • Perfect for frost-prone areas, as well as clients who want the ultimate in efficiency.

Product Warranty:
15 year warranty of roof components

Tank: 10 years for vitreous enamel/glass lined tank; 15 years for stainless*

Electrics (thermostat/elements)/ labour: 1 year

Product Characteristics
  • Apricus is known as the workhorse of solar hot water systems.
  • It’s efficient, reliable and able to be installed in all climates, including frost-prone regions.
  • The pump that gets installed with every Apricus system is made by Grunfos, which is also made in Australia.

Who should I use to install my solar hot water system?

We’ve been using the same solar hot water and heat pump installation team for the last 9 years. Clients tell us they’re extremely satisfied with their workmanship standards and after-sales service

Benefits of solar hot water and heat pump systems

  • Free energy from the sun.
  • Reduce water heating costs by 50-75%.
  • Reliable/dependable hot water 24/7.
  • Government rebates available.
  • Lower your household’s carbon footprint.
  • Increase your property value.
  • Environmentally positive.

We make installing solar hot water easy

The Energy Experts take the hard work out of installing a solar hot water system. Get in touch for more information or a free quote.