The Difference Between Solar Hot Water & Solar Power

The Difference Between Solar Hot Water & Solar Power

The Difference Between Solar Hot Water & Solar Power

The Difference Between Solar Hot Water & Solar Power

There are two types of “solar” systems on the market today, one is a solar power system which generates power the other is a solar hot water system which generates hot water.

While they both share the same concept of collecting energy from the sun, the two technologies are quite different.  A solar hot-water system works by collecting the sun’s heat and transferring it into water or fluid, which is then used for your hot-water requirements. Solar power systems use solar photovoltaic panels which turn energy from sunlight into electricity, which can supply power to all of your electrical household appliances.

How the different systems compare:

Residential Solar Hot Water System Residential Solar Power System
Investment There is a low initial investment $3,500–$8,000.  The main factors of the price is if you need to install a new hot water cylinder and what size system you choose to install.

There is a higher initial investment of $7,000–$25,000, the more you pay the larger system you will get and with a larger system you may be able to eliminate your power bill.

Subsidies Government incentives have now ended as of 29/06/12. No government incentives are available.
Energy Loss & Storage The solar hot water generated is stored in your hot water cylinder.  If you do not use the hot water within a certain amount of time then there will be energy loss. There is little energy loss as excess power is exported to the grid for credits or cash.  If you wish to store solar power you need to install an off-grid system.
Installation Retrofitting a solar hot water compared to installing a system in a new house is a relatively similar cost. Installing a solar power system on a new home can be easier for the installers if you consider the needs for a solar power system when designing a new home.  It is up to the installers if they charge differently for a new home vs. an existing home.
Who Benefits The system benefits people more who use more of their hot water at during the day or at night shortly after the hot water is created. The system benefits people more who use more power during the day.

Both types of systems installed on your roof will provide different benefits, so by having both you can better protect yourself against todays high price of power and the rising energy costs that are expected to happen in the future.

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