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  • The Advantages and the Disadvantages of Using Solar Water Heaters

    The solar water heating industry in Australia was developed following the research and development project on solar water heaters carried out by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the federal government agency for scientific research, in the 1950s. The Australian Department of the Environment released a report in 2010 which revealed that installing a climate friendly hot water system can save a family $300-$700 a year from electricity bills.

    According to the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE), water heating is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from an average home and the second largest segment of household energy use. Only four percent of the energy used for water heating comes from solar. Here, we will be discussing the advantages as well as the disadvantages of using solar energy to heat water.

    Renewable Energy Source

    The use of solar hot water systems with other types of water heaters may greatly reduce your heating costs. You could save up to 90 percent of your water-heating bill if you live in an extremely sunny place.

    Carbon Footprint

    Aside from cost reductions, solar hot water systems can decrease your home’s carbon footprint. According to the Clean Energy Council, installing a solar water heating system will lower the average household’s carbon emissions by 2.4 to 3 tonnes.

    Incentives

    In 2009, the Australian government launched the solar hot water rebate program which offers a rebate for the installation of solar hot water systems. The rebate can be collected once the necessary requirements are met by the household. The amount of the rebate will be dependent on the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) the solar water heater is entitled to. Accordingly, you must determine the eligible RECs in a solar water heating system to know whether you qualify for the incentive.

    Reliability

    Reliability is one of the major issues associated with the use of solar water heaters. They are essentially useless during nighttime hours or inclement weather. For this reason, solar water heating systems are installed as a supplement to a traditional system and not as a replacement.

    Regional Effectiveness

    The effectiveness of a solar heating system greatly depends on the place where you are living. Solar energy is most intense in warm areas of the country. The payback period may be longer if your are living in an area with poor solar coverage.

    Despite its disadvantages, the use of solar water heating systems is still recommended. The Australian government expects that switching to solar hot water will be a very attractive prospect for many households.