Thursday, 5 November 2009

Hot savings to be had on solar heating

Adelaide Advertiser
Monday 2/11/2009 Page: 58

Installing a solar water heater could cost you as little as $500 and save you hundreds of dollars a year on your water-heating costs. And with old-style electric water heaters being phased out it's a decision many people will have to make soon. The Federal Government is offering a rebate of $1600 for people switching from an electric to a solar water heater. And in South Australia, low income earners may be eligible for a rebate of up to $500 when installing a solar water heater.

Solahart national business manager Stephen Cranch says with electricity prices climbing by more than 20% in some states this year alone, solar is becoming attractive financially. "You can save between 50 and 90% on your energy used to heat your hot water going from electric to solar," he says. "That equates to potential savings of $200 to $700 a year depending on the tariff." Solar water heaters require an electric or gas boosting system for cloudy days. Consumers are also eligible for tradeable renewable energy certificates when they buy a solar water heater.

A Newspoll survey this year found that one in every two households are considering making the switch to solar. The most popular Solahart systems feature panels and a tank fitted on the roof, which ideally should be north-facing. Hills Solar uses new technology in its Esteem heaters which cost more, but could provide greater savings. Hills Solar marketing manager Dominic Beshara says the evacuated tube technology involves less heat loss. "Because of the insulating properties there's less heat loss in winter - and when do you use the most hot water?" he says. National consumer group Choice recommends buyers of solar water heaters get several quotes, with varying prices between suppliers and models.