Solar hot water FAQ (frequently asked questions)

If you have a question about solar hot water not covered below, please feel free to contact our friendly team – they’ll be glad to assist you! Don’t forget to check out our great range of solar hot water systems and solar hot water rebate information – you can even get free, no-obligation solar quotes online! Now, our solar hot water FAQ.
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What is the advantage of using solar hot water systems?

Solar thermal energy has use widely in Australia for heating water for domestic use. This is an excellent and economic solution. By using the sun’s heat for generating our hot water, we reduce the amount of fossil fuels needing burning (and the associated greenhouse gas emissions generated) to supply electricity to do the same thing.

How does a solar hot water roof mounted system work?

Solar collector(s) are located on the roof structure, facing in a northerly direction. The sun heats the water in the collector, which then goes into a tank. While in the case of flat plate systems the tank may also be on the roof; with evacuated tube collectors, the tank is usually stored at ground level.

The hot water rises naturally in the tank – this process is called thermo-siphoning. This water is then made available to the house, either through a gravity feed or a pump.

The colder water at the bottom of the storage tank then travels into the collector and starts to heat up. This process is a continuous cycle and can save the average household up to 75% of their hot water energy requirements and related greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more about how solar hot water works.

How does a solar hot water split system work?

A split system consists of north facing roof mounted collector(s) and a separate tank on
the ground, usually located close to one of the major hot water consumption areas such as the bathroom. The sun heats the water in the collector and once the water reaches a desired temperature, a sensor device activates a  circulation pump that starts to pump the hot water into the storage tank on the ground. The pump also pumps the cold water from the bottom of the storage tank into the collector(s). Learn more about how solar hot water works.

How do the roof mounted and split systems compare?

The energy benefits of the two systems are about the same. While the heat loss is less in the split system as the tank is not as exposed to the elements as the roof mounted tank, some additional energy is necessary to operate the low wattage pump in the split system. The decision of which system to use comes back to structural design of the roof, personal taste and ease of access for servicing. Energy Matters offers a wide range of roof mounted and split systems.

Which is better – flat plate or evacuated tube collectors?

While flat plate has been the most popular form of collector in solar hot water systems in years gone by, the relatively recent introduction of evacuated tube collectors has seen a
shift to this form. This specially given its vastly improved performance and durability in all sorts of conditions. You can see a comparison and efficiency data in our article on flat plate vs. evacuated tube collectors.

How does a heat pump work?

A  heat pump is a little different to a traditional solar hot water system. Heat pumps use heat energy from the air around us to heat water.

The basic principle of a heat pump is a reverse refrigerator. It uses a working fluid that vaporises as it extracts heat from the air. The working fluid then transfers this heat to the water in the tank via a coil in the tank. As the working fluid is pumped around the coil, it releases heat to warm the water. The release of heat turns the vaporised fluid back to liquid and the cycle begins again.

While a fridge uses the cold air and discards warm air, the heat pump uses the warm air and discards the cold air. Compared to hot water created through fossil fuel, the heat pump only requires 30% of the energy for the electricity to run the pump. Therefore, around 70% of the energy required to create the hot water comes for free from the heat in our environment.

Learn more about heat pump systems.

How do our solar hot water systems compare to competitors?

Before we can sell solar hot water systems in Australia, or achieve any of the state or federal government rebates, our product must comply with stringent Australian Standards for hot water and solar hot water. We only stock products that comply with all these standards. Given our considerable network, we can offer some of the best
prices in Australia. So, get a free, no-obligation solar hot water  solar quote, view our range of
solar hot water systems
and more information on our components.

What are RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates)?

RECs are certificates that are awarded with qualifying solar hot water systems. They are a
federal government initiative designed to encourage the uptake of products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable energy certificates are traded on the market by energy companies that buy them from renewable energy producers. That is, households and companies who own the systems. As part of the process, customers who purchase solar hot water systems can sell their RECs to their supplier/installer (usually in the form of a point of sale discount). Alternatively customers can sell them independently to a buyer of their choice.

You can earn various amounts of RECs depending on the type of system you are replacing with a Energy Matters system. We can discount the total cost of the system you purchase from us by the value of the RECs you assign to us. Learn more about RECs and rebates on solar hot water systems

How long does it take to install a Energy Matters system?

Installation can complete within 2 to 3 hours depending on the type of system you are
installing. For instance, if you’re replacing an existing solar system it will be 2 hours. However, if you’re replacing an existing electric or gas hot water system then it will be closer to 3 hours.

Who can install the system?

Our solar hot water systems can be fitted by an authorised and accredited Energy
Matters installer
. You can install the unit yourself, but the services of an authorised installer must be used if you wish to claim government rebates and if you wish to gain the maximum efficiency from the system.

The collectors will need to face the equator. This means if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, such as Australia, then your unit will have orientation in a north, north westerly or north easterly position. The installer will call to discuss the installation with you prior to any work on your home.

How many people can a solar hot water system supply?

Typically a single 300L system will adequately service a home of between 4 to 6 people comfortably. Bigger systems are available for very large households. Multiple system installation is even possible. All systems come with an electric booster as standard or optional gas booster. That ensures hot water 24 hours a day, regardless of weather conditions.

How much money can I save?

There rebates and incentives available to substantially reduce the up up front. However, most importantly, by switching to solar hot water, a family of 4 can save up to $920 a year on water heating bills!

What can affect the costs of installing a solar hot water system?

A base installation rate includes the solar hot water system installation on a pitched metal roof facing north with appropriate surface area available. Additional costs will apply for a flat or tiled roof, any equipment upgrades and extended warranties.

What happens if the system suffers damage in a storm or by accident?

If your collector or tank unit suffers damage in a storm or by accident then your household
insurance should cover it. You’ll need to confirm with your insurance company. Only the parts of the system that sustain damage will need replacement. However, rest assured that the solar hot water system components we sell have design and manufacture to withstand Australia’s harsh conditions year after year.

What electricity or gas tariff should my system connect to?

This will depend greatly on your usage patterns. Please contact our team for further information.

Are state government rebates available?

Most state programs have phased out, but incentives in the form of RECs still remain that substantially reduce the cost of a system. Learn more about rebates for solar hot water systems.

Our professional solar installers in Melbourne will assess and determine your energy needs. We customise solar panel system in Melbourne to fit the roof size of your property, ensuring you receive the most suitable solar panel system for your Melbourne home, meeting to property’s energy requirements.