SolarOz FAQ Basic

Is solar water heating a viable alternative to gas or electricity?
Solar should be seen as a primary source for water heating. Solar at the moment cannot totally replace the need for gas or electric boost as sometimes there are days when there is little sunlight.

When averaged over a year, a correctly sized solar system can provide 60%-80% of a household’s hot water needs. Providing more than this is unadvisable, as too much heat will be produced in the summer. The hot water system can easily be automated so hot water is guaranteed regardless of sunlight levels.

How much energy will I save using a SolarOz Solar Hot Water System?
The amount of energy you save will vary based on your location, water use demands, what type of system you install and the cost of boost options.

What is my payback period?
The time it takes for the system to pay for itself will vary depending on your location, water use demands and the cost of energy in your area. Given the generous rebates and the fantastic energy savings you can expect to recover your initial investment in 2-5 years. Saving money on your energy bills means you can begin to recover your investment right away.

How do I choose the right SolarOz solar hot water system?

SolarOz produces a variety of different solar hot water systems that cater to variety of needs.
The sizing of your system depends on the following key factors:
  • How many people live in your household
  • The area where you live
  • Your household hot water demands
  • The water quality in your area
Your local SolarOz agent is more than happy to help you through the maze of solar hot water systems. SolarOz agents are not just salesman they are trained professionals and can offer real support to choose the best water heater for your needs.

Can I use a solar collector with my existing hot water system?
Yes our simple conversion valve can be used to allow a solar collector to be connected to your existing tank. With the aid of a system controller & small circulation pump your tank is now solarized.

Can the SolarOz solar collectors heat water to a high enough temperature?
Yes, in good weather a SolarOz collector can even bring water to boiling point. Generally this is not necessary and so the system should be designed to provide a daily temperature rise of around 30-40c in the summer. Sized in this manner will result in savings of 60-80% on hot water heating costs depending upon your location.

Are SolarOz collectors more efficient than flat plate collectors?

When comparing peak efficiency levels it may seem that there is little difference between flat plate and evacuated tubes. In fact, flat plate may actually be higher, but this is during minimal heat loss conditions. When averaged over a year evacuated tube collector have a clear advantage.

The key points are:
  1. Due to the cylindrical shape of the evacuated tube, the solar tubes are able to passively track the sun throughout the day. Flat plate collectors only provide peak energy output at midday when the sun is perpendicular to the collectors surface.

  2. Air is evacuated from the tube to form a vacuum. This greatly reduces conductive and convective heat loss from the interior of the tube. As a result, wind and cold temperatures have less effect on the efficiency of the evacuated tube collector.

  3. SolarOz solar collectors can be used in cold temperatures when flat plate collectors have limited or no heat output.

  4. Evacuated tubes are strong, long lasting, and should one be broken, inexpensive and easy to replace. If a flat plate collector panel is damaged the whole panel must be replaced.

  5. Due to the high efficiency absorption of solar radiation even during overcast conditions, combined with excellent insulation properties. Solar tube collectors can heat water all year round (boost from gas or electricity is still required).

  6. Due to the various advantages of evacuated tube collector over flat plate collectors, a smaller collector can be used to provide the same heating performance.

  7. Flat plate solar collectors can produce similar heat output to evacuated tube collectors, but generally only during hot, sunny conditions. When averaged over an entire year, evacuated tube collector heat output per net m2 of absorber area, is between 25% to 40% greater that a flat plate collector.


Evacuated Tube FAQs

Does my roof need strengthening to accommodate the SolarOz hot water system?
Not for the SolarOz split system. The light weight collector weighing 100 kgs goes on your roof while the tank is placed at ground level. The integrated systems ( tank on roof ) are the lightest in their class so strengthening is not a problem but if in doubt always consult a qualified person.

Are evacuated tubes strong?
Yes, evacuated tubes are very strong. Tube strength is important when considering high wind, hail or cyclone conditions. SolarOz tubes are manufactured using the highest quality materials & every batch is tested for efficiency. If it falls short its out. Our tube glass wall thickness is 2mm not 1.6mm.

What is hydronic heating?
Hydronic heating uses hot water to provide heating for the home. If used wisely, it can be an economical and highly effective form of central heating. In most hydronic systems, the water is heated in a boiler and then pumped through piping to panel radiators in each room. Heat is transferred directly from these to the room air.Underfloor or in-slab systems are more effective as the whole floor is heated maintaining a more constant temperature. SolarOz manufactures combi tanks for solar hot water & hydronics in one unit 500L 316 stainless steel with built in heat exchange coil.


Installation Related FAQs

Can SolarOz Collectors be used to heat a spa or hot-tub?
Yes, SolarOz solar collectors are perfect for heating a spa or hot-tub. In fact, one SolarOz 30 tube collector is normally enough to keep a medium sized spa or hot-tub hot all through the year.

Can SolarOz Collectors be used to heat swimming pools?
Due to the enormous amount of energy required to heat a swimming pool we use a butterfly collector. This type of collector has a central manifold with the tubes positioned horizontally . These collectors can be fitted to new or existing pools. There is no Northerly position for the collector. If the house does not have a North facing roof you have a couple of options. The tubes will operate on a Northerly aspect ie Nth East or Nth West. Another option is an offset frame where the collector stradles the roof to allow the correct position.


Climate & Weather FAQs

Can SolarOz Collectors be used in Cold Climates?
Yes, SolarOz collectors can operate effectively even in freezing conditions. Our systems have been tested to -25c which more than exceeds Australian standards Frost level 1(-5c) Frost level 2 (-15). Many SolarOz collectors are installed in cold regions such as Canada and Northern Europe. The key to performance in cold regions is the insulation properties of the evacuated tubes and quality of the manifold. SolarOz manifold covers are larger and therefore have more insulation.

Can SolarOz collectors withstand hail?
SolarOz evacuated tubes have been independently tested and can withstand impact from a 25mm ice ball at 25m/s / 90km/h. If you are in an area with extreme hail (much larger than 25mm ) the solar collectors can be fitted with hail mesh guard.

The beauty of the SolarOz collector design, is that if a freak storm should cause damage to one or more evacuated tubes, the system will still operate normally (just with reduced output), and the tubes can be easily replaced.

In November of 2008 freak storms hit Brisbane with hail stones up to 60mm in size. Roof tiles were smashed, roofs of cars dented and flat plate solar collectors were destroyed. To our surprise many of the evacuated tubes survived and many systems were still operating providing hot water the following day when the sun came out. The replacement of the tubes only took about 30 minutes and the systems were back to full operation.

Will there be heat output on overcast days?

The SolarOz collector is a SOLAR collector, meaning that is absorbs energy from the sun. In particularly overcast weather the amount of solar radiation reaching the collector is greatly reduced and therefore heat output will be reduced.

Your solar hot water system will have a boost from a traditional energy source to ensure hot water is available regardless of the weather conditions.