Switching from electric to solar hot water was one of the easiest and most effective ways we cut our energy bills and reduced our households greenhouse gas emissions. Electric hot water systems are the most common way household water is heated in Australia. Depending on the household, they can be responsible for anywhere between 25% to 60% of the households energy bill, and contribute a substantial amount of greenhouse gases.
We found a 300L Solarhart hot water system was best suited to our current and future needs. It’s a flat panel type, and the panel and tank sit on our north facing roof, to catch plenty of sun. It can be electric boosted, but we’ve set it up so the booster only comes on when we manually flick the switch – so it will only be boosted when we need it, which should be pretty rarely.
There’s federal and state rebates available for switching to solar from electric hot water at the moment – see http://www.environment.gov.au/settlements/renewable/solarhotwater and http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/rebates for the details. After rebates, our system cost us around $1,800. You can also get rebates for switching from electric to a heat pump system (which is a good option in shady areas and works like a refrigerator in reverse) and some rebates for switching from electric to gas.