Evacuated Tubes - 03/04/2007
Evacuated tube collectors are 70% more efficient than the flat panel collectors that are supplied by companies like SolarHart. I have installed a evacuated tube system myself but I have never had a SolarHart system or the like so I cannot personally compare. Anyhow I have found that the evacuated tube collectors heat up on cloudy days as it uses the UV part of the light spectrum. Below is a picture of my evacuated tube collector (24 tubes) as supplied by Pekinglook at Ebay.
Evacuated tube collectors are used all over in China and some European countries.
If you want cheap solar hot water you can buy a evacuated tube heat collector for aprox. $1000.00 from Pekinglook at Ebay and have it installed by a plumber for around $900 retrofitted into your existing electric hot water heater. Also included in Pekinglook's package is a Wilo water pump 46 watts, retrofit kit, electronic temperature controls and wiring diagrams, gloves, a jobsheet and free freight to the Sydney area. This system is one of the best China has to offer.
You can also buy the system from Justdunn at Ebay for aprox. $1800 which includes the heat collector (30 tubes), a 300 litre assistance tank approved to Australian Standards and an electric booster element and free freight in NSW plus free phone technical support for DIY's. The collector and vented (low pressure) assistance tank is mounted on a frame which can be mounted on a strong roof. Being low pressure means that a pump will be needed for an additional $120 to bring the pressure up. It includes a pressure/flow switch to turn on automatically when a tap is opened. This system is probably the more efficient of the two I have mentioned as there is less heat loss.
The water pump I installed is powered by solar PV panels so the hot water system is 100% powered by the sun.
My system at home includes a Rinnai instantaneous natural gas hot water unit rather than using an electric booster element as natural gas (town gas) is a lot cheaper to run.
Natural gas also contributes a lot less towards carbon dioxide emmissions as compared to electricity (burning of coal). Town gas is supplied to most houses in suburbian areas. You have to contact a company called AGL to find out if a town gas pipe runs down your street. The initial costs of installing town gas to your house can be expensive but the savings you make in the long run easily make up for the initial high costs. The big savings are made when winter comes with room heating on natural gas. It totally amazes me how many people are unaware of town gas running down their street. I can only assume that it is a state secret!!!
Dont get caught up with LPG gas as it is much more expensive than town gas and it is only supplied in tanks which usually takes up room on your driveway.
I cut my electric power bill by half just by converting from electric storage hot water to instantaneus natural gas hot water. A lot of energy is wasted in a water storage tank even when it is well insulated.
Also note that an orange cap tempering valve has to be added to bring the solar hot water 100 degrees celcius down to 50 degrees celcius. The installing can be done by the owner but it is recommended that all plumbing and electrical work be done by qualified trades people.
If you want to save the environment and your handy then do yourself a favour and install one.
The picture below is the system as supplied by Pekinglook at Ebay.
The picture below is the unit supplied by Justdunn at Ebay
NSW: Sydney Water offers a $150 to $500 rebate for installing and connecting rainwater tanks. There's $500 for connecting the tank to your toilet, another $500 for a laundry hook-up, and $150 for installing a water-efficient washing machine. See the website: sydneywater.com.au
From January 2008, the NSW government is offering a $1200 rebate for switching from electric to solar hot water, and $300 for switching to gas.
By trading greenhouse gas savings via the NSW Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (GGAS), some companies can offer free or cut-rate installation of compact fluorescent lightbulbs, water-efficient showerheads and home energy audits. Contact Neco, Totally Green Plumbing or EnviroSaver for details.
The above rebate information was sourced from the website : choice.com.au
There are rebates available for solar photovoltaic systems - federal initiative.
There are a number of solar city projects which may be active in your area. Search you local council website to find out and you may be able to register your interest.