3 Reasons To Install A Solar Hot Water Instead Of Solar PV


Can’t decide between a solar PV or solar hot water system? Your property, electricity bill and roof size might be the deciding factor!

Solar hot water systems and solar PV systems both provide energy and cost-efficient ways to reduce a household’s electricity bills. In recent years solar hot water systems have taken a back seat in the market as solar PV systems have become an increasingly popular and common addition to residential homes in Australia.

solar hot water system

The reason for this is, while a solar hot water system will assist in reducing your water heating charges, a solar PV system can reduce your entire electricity bill.  

So in what scenarios would you choose a solar hot water system over a solar PV system?

Electricity bill charges are primarily water heating

If you’ve been looking over your electricity bill and noticed that water heating is the primary culprit, then a solar hot water system may be for you.

According to a report commissioned by the Australian Government, water heating makes up approximately 23% of the average electricity bill.

CEC Electricity Researh

However, while a solar hot water system may be a good option in this scenario, a solar PV system can assist in reducing not only your water heating charges but also;

    • Heating and cooling, e.g. aircon
    • Refrigerators and freezers
    • Lighting
    • Cooking
    • Standby power
    • Other (laundry, entertaining, small appliances etc.)

Roof space is minimal

In some cases, your roof may not be suitable to install a solar PV system due to insufficient space. Even a small 2kW solar PV system has up to 8 solar panels, with each panel being approximately 1×1.7 metres in size.

solar house with swimming pool

These days 5kW+ systems are emerging in popularity, which would require enough roof space to accommodate for 20+ solar panels.

A solar hot water system, however only requires 1-2 panels and therefore does not require a vast amount of space. So if a shortage of roof space is an issue, then a solar hot water system may be the solution.

If you’re unsure what system your roof has the capacity for, a solar installer will be able to evaluate your property during the quoting process and provide you with the best option.

Budget is a priority

A solar hot water system is typically cheaper upfront than a solar PV system. So if budget is a concern and finance isn’t an option, then you may want to opt for a solar hot water system over a cheap solar PV system. However, these days solar PV systems have become more affordable to the average Australian household due to system prices decreasing as well as Government assistance and Green loan finance being available.

Solar providers will generally be able to quote for solar hot water and solar PV, so its best to discuss your budget with the provider so they can recommend the most suitable and budget-friendly system for you.

Speak to local solar providers about the best solar system options for you by requesting 3 FREE Solar Quotes


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Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.

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