Frequently Asked Questions
At Solahart, Australia’s favourite manufacturer of solar water heaters with over 1 million systems sold worldwide since 1953, and now also supplying solar power systems we want to free you from the fear of rising energy costs.
We often get asked about going solar, so here are the answers to some of the more frequently asked questions to help you evaluate which Solahart solar water heater and solar power system is right for you.
Q. Does a Solahart take long to install?
A. If your current hot water system breaks down Solahart can have you back in hot water within 24 hours, in most instances, with a temporary system while you wait for your installation, to take away the inconvenience of cold showers.
Q. What are the environmental benefits of a Solahart water heater?
A. 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, 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 can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 1.9 to 3.6 tonnes a year*, the equivalent of taking a small car off the road. In fact solar water heaters are so good for the environment that STC’s (Small-scale Technology Certificates – formerly Renewable Energy Certificates) and some government incentives exist to make it easier to get into solar hot water.
Q. How much will a Solahart water heater save me?
A. 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.
Q. What if I don’t have the money now?
A. Solahart has a range of payment plans and interest free options available and in some cases without the need for a deposit to approved customers. Click here for more details.
Q. Is there an alternative to putting the tank on the roof?
A. Solahart’s revolutionary 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.
Q. What are STC’s (Small-scale Technology Certificates – formerly Renewable Energy Certificates)?
A. 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 STC’s. The financial benefit from assigning your right to create STC’s for your solar or heat pump water heater installation can be used to reduce the purchase price of your new Solahart.
The number of STC’s which may be created varies with the size/model of solar water heater or PV system and the region (or zone) in which the unit is installed. The value of an STC is not fixed and varies depending on market factors.
Q. How long does it take to pay for itself?
A. 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.
Q. Why do solar water heaters have boosters?
A. 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.
Q. Which Solahart is right for us?
A. 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, contact us today and we will help you pick the right unit for your current and future circumstances.
Q. What Government rebates are available?
A. Whilst not a rebate as such, STC’s effectively reduce the price of your solar water heater or PV system. Please contact us for more information.
Q. What is the difference between a solar hot water system and a solar power system?
A. A solar hot water system uses the visible and infrared radiation from the sun to directly heat water. A solar power system uses the visible radiation from the sun, and converts it into electricity for use in the home or to be fed into the electricity grid.
Q. How does a solar power system work?
A. Solar power system use the photovoltaic (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).
Q. What is an inverter?
A. 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.
Q. What are the benefits of using a solar power system?
A. Electricity generated by a solar power system is used to offset or replace the power that would normally be purchased from your electricity supplier – thereby reducing your power bills and saving mone. This solar generated energy also avoids the harmful pollution caused by generating electricity from the burninig of fossil fuels.
Q. Will my solar power system store energy for later use?
A. A grid connected solar power system does not store energy. When you generate more power that 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. Whereas a solar water heater stores it’s energy for later use in a storage tank.
Q. Will I still need mains electricity?
A. Yes, because the inverter will only produce power when it is connected to the grid supply.
Q. What are Gross and Net feed-in tariffs?
A. 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.
- The feed-in tariff schemes are set by the state governments and vary between the states (either Gross or Net).
- A gross feed-in tariff pays for all of the electricity generated by the solar power system. The owner then buys back the electricity that is needed.
- A net feed-in tariff pays the owner only for surplus electricity produced by the solar power system.
Q. What happens at night or on cloudy days?
A. Solar power systems only produce electricity when they are exposed to sunlight. They do not produce electricity at night. At night you will not generate electricity from your solar modules – you will use electricity from the electricity grid. The performance of the solar power system is affected by cloud. When there is not enough light to produce electricity, you will use electricity from the grid, as you do now.
Q. What happens during a blackout?
A. 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.
Q. How reliable are solar power modules?
A. Solar modules are one of the most reliable energy conversion systems.
Q. What is the payback period of a solar power system?
A. 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.
Q. What maintenance is required on a solar power system?
A. Solahart modules are manufactured to high quality standards and will require minimal maintenance for many years, other than keeping the surface of the modules clean.
Q. How much roof space will I need for a solar power system?
A. 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. Our system sizes go up to approximately 5kW. The more powerful the system, the more solar modules and roof space are needed.
Q. Is the position on the roof important?
A. Solar power systems work best on an unshaded north-facing roof. It is also possible to install a solar power system on an east or west facing roof, however this will reduce the performance of the system.