A guide to the solar hot water system

Solar hot water system in high demand.

Did you know that the water heater consumes most of the energy usage in most households in Australia? As a result, there is a steady increase in solar water heating system instalments. From 2009-2011, the federal government provided a $1600 rebate for the instalments of the solar water heating systems, resulting in more than 100,000 systems being installed during that period. In 2020, there are 11,787 solar hot water systems installed in Queensland alone.

If you are trying to make the most out of your solar energy, investing in a solar water system may be the way to go.

What is a solar hot water system?

Solar hot water systems utilise collectors on the roof to capture heat. It is effective in saving money and energy for consumers while reducing carbon emissions.

Solar hot water systems with a ‘booster’ use either natural gas or electricity from the grid as a backup to ensure a reliable supply of hot water. Booster systems are much more cost-efficient to run than a standard gas or electric system.

Heat pumps use a small amount of electricity to run a pump, which circulates a refrigerant around the system. This refrigerant picks up heat from the air and transfers it to the stored water. Therefore, Heat pumps are significantly more efficient than conventional electric water heaters.

Electrical water heating is the largest single source of greenhouse gases from the average Australian home, producing almost a quarter of household emissions.

Solar water heating systems reduce the average household’s carbon emissions by 2.4 to 3 tonnes. It can also save you hundreds of dollars every year compared to an electric hot water system.

What do you need to consider before getting a solar water system?

Before you start researching what types of Solar hot water systems to purchase, there are a few factors that you need to consider, including:

Current types of water heater

Storage tank system

​​This is the most common and efficient way of water heating in Australia and is usually powered by electricity instead of gas. Without solar PV or solar hot water panels, all of the energy used to heat your water comes from the grid. Your tank-based hot water system is paired with a normal solar system by timer or circuit. In that case, this is likely to do most of your water heating, with your tank getting topped up by the electricity grid only when sunlight falls short.

Solar thermal hot water systems

It’s a hot water solar panel installation, using copper tubes panels to heat the water, it’s suitable for gas tanks This system is excellent for turning the sun’s warmth to heat water for your showers. But not cost-friendly due to heavy panel weights and additional plumbing jobs required and Ampulse energy is not taking further jobs of solar thermal hot water systems.

Tankless / Continuous flow / Instantaneous water heating

If your water heating system is tankless, you have limited options to utilise solar energy. As the water heating happens instantaneously, you can try to use hot water during daylight hours. However, this is not a very practical method because most households are not at home during midday to do housework or take hot showers.

Size of your solar system and do you have any surplus energy ?

Here’s what you need to consider:

  • The wattage of your water tank element as compared to the peak output of your solar system.
    For example, if you’ve got a 3kW solar system on your roof but have a 6kW element in your hot water tank, the solar system can never fully ‘cover’ the element’s energy draw.
  • The portion of your solar energy that is used for non-hot water-related loads.
    If you own a smaller solar system (1.5kW – 3kW), it’s possible that you’re using most the energy it produces for activities other than water heating such as laundry, dishwasher & air-conditioning, which means less energy for water heating.

In general, a 4kW or 5kW solar system will be adequate for both hot water and other energy consumptions in Australian households. However, this may vary depending on the exact situation, so please talk to our team to find out more.

brisbane hot water solar

How do you schedule the heating of your water? And in what ways?

There are four main methods to manage your water heating system on an ongoing basis: 

  • Using a timer
    This option involves installing a physical timer, either manually or remotely controlled, onto your switchboard. The timer will allow you to set the period or periods during the day that your hot water element switches on.
  • Using a green circuit
    A green circuit is a ‘smart programmed timer’ that is triggered to automatically switch on a load, such as a hot water system. As soon as it senses when a solar PV system hits a pre-determined level of power output and will continue to run that load for as long as it has been programmed to do so.
  • Using a solar diverter
    A solar diverter is a device that senses when you have solar energy surplus and shunts it into your water heating element instead of sending it into the grid. Often the device is sold as stand-alone units, but increasingly they are also being built into solar inverters at the factory.
  • Leaving it always turned on
    This option involves turning on your hot water element and letting it run all the time, topping up the heat whenever required.

Over 10 years of solar installation experience with 5 stars reviewed, AMPULSE

offers a free consultation with no deposit no interest finance option with the customer to determine the electrical requirements.

How much can you save from a solar hot water system?

As there is a reduction of the solar tariff across Australia, many Queensland households adopt ways to use solar electricity rather than feeding it back to the grid for 8c per kWh.

It’s estimated that you can save up to $400 per year using a solar hot water system. However, the final savings can vary depending on your solar system, hot water usage and hot water system.

Can I apply for government rebates on solar hot water systems?

All in all, you can likely get more out of using your solar electricity to run your hot water system rather than buying a battery or sending the electricity back at a low rate. Our solar installers have over 10 years of experience and they can add a hot water timer to your solar system for free (for solar installing customers) and will travel to you throughout all Brisbane suburbs, extending further to Ipswich, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Toowoomba and Greater Queensland. If you would like to find out more, call us at 0450576905 or email us at [email protected].

Enquire Today

We are ★★★★★ Solar installer

Solar Installers Toowoomba

Excellent workmanship! Punctual and very hard working. They worked straight through from 9am to 3pm not stopping for a break. Nico was so knowledgeable and explained all the workings so well. So lovely to have such great service and hard workers. Pleasure doing business with them. Felt in very capable and skilled hands. All 3 did an excellent job.
I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone!
The best. Thanks!

Diana Gunwald

We highly recommend Nico and his team at Ampulse. Nico was very professional, informative, prompt and accommodating from our first contact to the completion of the installation. Nico’s quote was better than the previous quote we had, and because of the more efficient panel arrangement, gave us better output and required no additional outlay for tree trimming or relocation of our TV antenna.
Nico is a fully qualified Master Electrician with 32 years experience and an “Accredited Installer for the Clean Energy Council” so we did not need to arrange an electrician to complete the installation.

Phil & Wendy Simmons

We recently had installed a solar system by Joni and his team and from the first meeting to the job’s completion we were totally impressed with their professionalism, attention to detail, neatness in finishing and keeping us informed throughout the project. If you may be considering a solar system we can highly recommend Ampulse Energy as the number 1 people to be contacting.

Frank Nicholson


 0450 576 905



Monday to Saturday: 7am – 5pm


0450 576 905



Monday to Saturday: 7am – 5pm