Frequently Asked Questions
Solar and Hot Water General FAQs
What is the difference between a solar hot water system and a solar power system?
With solar hot water, heat is captured directly from the sun through collectors installed on the roof and is transferred to the fluid circulating inside. Water is then stored in an insulated tank for future use.
Solar power (PV) converts light from the sun into electricity. The amount generated depends on the number of panels and size of the inverter. Any excess power can be sold back into the grid, while additional electricity can be bought from the grid when the sun is not shining.
Should I get both?
Solar water heating is normally the first step. Getting your hot water free from the sun will dramatically reduce your energy needs. Once you have reduced your energy usage, the next step is to install solar power. The less energy you need, the less power you will need to produce from your solar panels.
Solar Hot Water Heating FAQs
What are the environmental benefits of a Solahart water heater?
Water heating accounts for around 25% of the average household’s energy usage. Getting your hot water free from the sun not only saves energy, but it also saves the greenhouse gas emissions that would have been produced in the generation of that energy. By replacing an electric storage water heater with a Solahart, you could reduce carbon emissions by up to 1.6 to 2.7 tonnes per year*, the equivalent of taking a small car off the road. In fact, solar is so good for the environment, the Australian Government Renewable Energy Target scheme provides a mechanism that offers generous incentives to help you make the switch.
The incentives come in the form of Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) that can be traded and sold on the open market or can be used as an upfront rebate to reduce the purchase price of your new system which could save you thousands of dollars.
How much will a Solahart water heater save me?
This will vary depending on which part of Australia you live in, your current hot water system and hot water consumption, the model of Solahart you install, the orientation and inclination of the system’s collectors and of course your fuel tariff. Maximum financial savings off your hot water bill are achievable when replacing an electric water heater on continuous tariff.
What if I don’t have the money now?
Solahart Wollongong has a range of payment plans and interest-free options available and in some cases without the need for a deposit to approved customers.
Is there an alternative to putting the tank on the roof?
Solahart Wollongong’s range of Streamline Split System solar water heaters allows you to enjoy all the benefits of Solahart’s advanced solar technology – without the tank on the roof. The Solahart Streamline system locates the low profile collectors on your roof, with the tank installed at ground level. Alternatively you can choose a Solahart Heat Pump which uses heat pump technology to extract heat from the surrounding air, without solar collectors at all.
How long does it take to pay for itself?
Financial payback will vary depending on your circumstances, but with the available incentives plus the ongoing energy savings you can begin to recoup your additional investment straight away when you remain connected to the same fuel tariff. After you recover your initial investment, the savings are yours to spend on yourself and your family, year after year.
What Government rebates are available?
Whilst not a rebate as such, the financial benefit of Small-scale Technology Certificates (STC’s) effectively reduces the price of your solar water heater or PV system.
What are STC's (Small-scale Technology Certificates)?
Solar water heaters, heat pumps and solar power systems are great for the environment, and the Australian Government Renewable Energy Target scheme provides a mechanism that offers generous incentives to help you make the switch. The incentives come in the form of Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs) that can be traded and sold on the open market or can be used as an upfront rebate to reduce the purchase price of your new system which could save you thousands of dollars.
Each STC represents the equivalent of one megawatt-hour of electricity generation from an accredited renewable energy source. For solar water heaters, each STC represents the displacement by solar energy of one-megawatt hour of electricity generation from a non-renewable energy source.
The installation of a solar water heater or PV system in your property may be eligible for the creation of STCs. The financial benefit from assigning your right to create STCs for your solar or heat pump water heater installation can be used to reduce the purchase price of your new Solahart.
STCs are available in every state of Australia. However, the number of certificates that can be created per system is based on its geographical location (zone) and varies with the type, size and model of the system installed^. The value of an STC is not fixed and varies depending on market factors.
Does a Solahart take long to install?
If your current hot water system breaks down Solahart Wollongong can have you back in hot water quickly; in most instances, with a temporary system while you wait for your installation, to take away the inconvenience of cold showers.
Why do solar water heaters have boosters?
All solar water heaters include electric or gas boosters to ensure you have hot water even during the colder, darker days of winter and on those rainy days we have from time to time. By selecting the right Solahart model for your area and your family’s hot water usage patterns, you can ensure you minimise the need to use the booster.
Which Solahart is right for us?
The best Solahart unit for your needs will depend on the following key factors:
- The amount of available sun
- Is the area prone to frost?
- The water chemistry in your area
- How many people in the home and their typical hot water usage
To choose the best water heater for your family, call your local Solahart expert who will help you select the right unit for your current and future circumstances.
Solar Power FAQs
How does a solar power system work?
Solar power systems use photo-voltaic (PV) cells to produce electricity. When sunlight hits a solar power system, direct current (DC) electricity is produced. This is converted into 240V alternating current (AC) using an inverter. This electricity can be used immediately within the home or fed into the National Electricity Grid (grid).
What is the National Electricity Grid?
The National Electricity Grid is the network of wires that delivers electricity from generators to homes and businesses around Australia. When you install a solar power system you become a generator of clean renewable energy.
What is an inverter?
An inverter is an electronic device that converts the DC power generated by the modules into AC power at the correct voltage for supply to the grid. It also provides equipment protection and safety features.
What are the benefits of using a solar power system?
Electricity generated by a solar power system is used to offset the power that would normally be purchased from your electricity supplier – thereby, reducing your power bills and saving money. This solar-generated energy also avoids the harmful pollution caused by generating electricity from the burning of fossil fuels.
How much can I save on my bills?
The savings on offer are very attractive and will go on for years. The amount you save will depend on your household’s current electricity usage, the size of the solar system being installed, orientation and inclination of the modules and the feed-in tariff offered by your electricity supplier. Your local Solahart consultant will assess these factors and give you an estimate of your savings.
Will I still need mains electricity?
Yes, because the inverter will only produce power when it is connected to the grid supply.
Will my solar power system store energy for later use?
A grid-connected solar power system does not store energy. When you generate more power than you need, you supply the extra power into the grid. At times when you need more energy than you are producing, you draw the extra you need from the grid. A number of energy storage solutions are available. Contact Solahart Wollongong for more details.
How much roof space will I need?
Our smallest system requires a roof area of around 11 square metres. This will generate around 30% of the average family’s energy needs each year. Solahart offers a range of system sizes. The more powerful the system, the more solar modules and roof space are needed.
Is the position on the roof important?
Solar power systems work best on an unshaded north-facing roof. It is also possible to install a solar power system facing other directions; however, this will reduce the performance of the system.
Can I increase the size of my system in the future?
This depends on your roof space and the size of the inverter. If you have sufficient roof space and additional capacity in the inverter you could increase the size of your system. If room permits, you could add a second system to your roof.
What happens at night or on cloudy days?
Solar power systems only produce electricity when they are exposed to sunlight. At night you will not generate electricity from your solar panels – instead, you will use electricity from the electricity grid or your energy storage device.
The performance of the solar power system is also affected by clouds. When there is not enough light to produce electricity, you will also use electricity from the grid, as you do now.
What happens during a blackout?
In the event of a blackout, your solar power system will stop producing electricity. This safety measure is mandatory and has been put in place to protect anyone working on the blacked-out grid system. As soon as the grid is back online, your solar system will restart automatically.
What sort of maintenance is required?
Solahart panels are manufactured to high quality standards and will require minimal maintenance for many years, other than keeping the surface of the panels clean.
How reliable are the solar power panels?
Solar panels are one of the most reliable energy conversion systems.
What is the payback period of a solar power system?
Payback periods may vary depending on the applicable feed-in tariff, householder electricity usage profile and size and cost of the PV system installed. Your Solahart dealer will be able to provide an estimate of payback period for your system.
What warranty does Solahart offer?
Solahart offers a product warranty that is over and above the manufacturer’s performance warranty. Because each product has a different warranty period, please check our product pages or refer to the Owner’s Guide and Installation Instructions of your product.
Government Incentives FAQs?
What are Small-Scale Technology Certificates (STCs)?
STCs are part of the government’s commitment to renewable energy. STCs are created when you install and commission qualifying solar hot water, solar/wind power systems or residential solar power systems.
Each STC represents 1 MWh (Megawatt hour) of energy produced. The number of STCs you are eligible for varies depending on the size of the system you install and your location.
STCs have a market value (which may vary over time) and are tradable; they can be sold, or used to get a discount or cash. Solahart offers an up front discount on the price of a solar power system in return for the STCs.
Why do STCs vary across the country?
The number of STCs created for a system will depend on the amount of renewable energy the system generates. In areas with higher solar radiation there is greater opportunity to generate electrical power and so the number of STCs is greater.
Are there any other financial incentives?
The electricity providers may offer feed-in tariffs for the electricity your solar power system generates and feeds back into the grid.
What is a feed-in tariff?
A feed-in tariff is the rate paid by the electrical utility for each kilowatt-hour of electricity your solar power system feeds into the grid.