Solar geysers - are they a scam?

Splinter

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
27,560
As usual, when Eskom crumbles a bit more, and we get some consistent load-shedding, folks scramble for alternative solutions.

And then sellers of such items resort to price-gouging.

I have seen solar geysers mentioned as a MASSIVE (hehe) electricity saving device; on a number of threads. So, when talking to the chap I'm looking at for installing an inverter system, I asked what his thoughts were about a solar geyser as well.

As posted on the load-shedding solutions thread, he called them a big scam. So, in essence, this is what he said:

You are constantly using power to run a small pump that pushes water from geyser to panel. At night, the element has to work harder to maintain warm water. And because it's outside, it is exposed to the weather and element has to work harder to maintain warm water. In essence the element has a much harder life as it is constantly switching on and off.

And then in winter you are going to have cloudy days etc. So a normal geyser is just as electricity efficient overall as a solar geyser.

Except a solar geyser costs a lot more.


So, any thoughts from others here? Especially those who have installed solar geysers.
 

ToxicBunny

Oi! Leave me out of this...
Joined
Apr 8, 2006
Messages
95,457
Change the guy who is installing your inverter... He's an idiot and will screw the system up.
I have a solar geyser system at home... It has no pump so that part of his description is bollocks. The element in a geyser is designed to turn on and off constantly anyway so that is the 2nd bit of bollocks.. And yes you have cloudy days, but that doesn't mean the water in the panel doesn't get a bit warmed up and then the element in the geyser will heat it up the rest of the way so you will still use less electricity.
 

Pilgrim

Wugger
Joined
Jul 5, 2006
Messages
3,094
We had a very old solar geyser on the house, during summer it was switched off on our distribution board and we always* had hot water. Only switched it on towards winter each year.

*Unless someone used a lot of hot water at night, then it would be luke-warm in the morning. By afternoon the water was hot again.
 

wombling

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2012
Messages
545
Solar geysers are really good. Particularly for SA where there are so many sunny days. Sure they cost some money but they pay themselves off pretty quickly. Usually in less than a year if you have a family of 3 or more people.
 

MEIOT

Expert Member
Joined
Feb 27, 2018
Messages
2,853
Have my solar geyser turned completely off at the DB for 6 months of the year or thereabouts.
Winter/colder months I run the geyser twice a day, 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening for daily showers.

It's certainly not a scam.
 

Marsie27

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
755
We put in our solar geyser 10 years ago. We had records of our electricity use for the previous 5 years. Over that period our average use was 15.634 units/kWh per day. In the 10 years since we've had the geyser our average use per day has been 10.423kWh. Without being pedantic about how many visitors have stayed with us etc, home occupancy hasn't varied during the 2 periods viz. 2 adults. And it's great to have hot water for bathing during loadshedding. We run off solar pretty much throughout summer, and a lot of the time during winter too.
 

Grubscrew

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2008
Messages
2,569
Using some quick and rough calcs from above.

5 units a day x 5 years x 365 days x R2, 00
Equals to about a saving of about R18000

Tough call to make. I recently had qoutes for complete solar geyser installations from R16k to R38k.
 

Steamy Tom

Executive Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
7,218
Using some quick and rough calcs from above.

5 units a day x 5 years x 365 days x R2, 00
Equals to about a saving of about R18000

Tough call to make. I recently had qoutes for complete solar geyser installations from R16k to R38k.

Some people save even more, and you are basically showing that it will pay for itself in less than 5 years and go on to last longer.
 

isie

Honorary Master
Joined
Jan 16, 2010
Messages
12,437
As usual, when Eskom crumbles a bit more, and we get some consistent load-shedding, folks scramble for alternative solutions.

And then sellers of such items resort to price-gouging.

I have seen solar geysers mentioned as a MASSIVE (hehe) electricity saving device; on a number of threads. So, when talking to the chap I'm looking at for installing an inverter system, I asked what his thoughts were about a solar geyser as well.

As posted on the load-shedding solutions thread, he called them a big scam. So, in essence, this is what he said:
Get a new guy! he clearly doesn't know anything about Solar geysers, and the stuff he says is BS, I hope he isnt Bsing you on the inverter.

its not an extreme saving but it does save quite a lot , so no its not a scam
You are constantly using power to run a small pump that pushes water from geyser to panel. At night, the element has to work harder to maintain warm water.
no you are not constantly running a pump
first of all there are many types of solar geysers, pump is one type and it only pumps when the solar collector is a few degrees hotter then the water, not all the time like he claims. also you get thermosiphon geysers that work without any pump, and the element at night works less since water is warm already thats the point, unless some one showered then yes it will need to warm the water from cold, but how would that be different from a regular geyser, it cant warm the water with sun at night (neither can regular), but the benefit is it can warm the water with the sun in the day (regular cant do that now can it)
And because it's outside, it is exposed to the weather and element has to work harder to maintain warm water. In essence the element has a much harder life as it is constantly switching on and off.
your geyser is either inside or outside anyway, its a sealed unit, it wont work harder to keep water warm, it will work actually less since the water was warm in the first place also most solar geyser comes with a controller so you only set the times you want the element to kick in and then to it only kicks in if water is not the desired temp
And then in winter you are going to have cloudy days etc. So a normal geyser is just as electricity efficient overall as a solar geyser.
A solar geyser is a regular geyser with an added solar collector, it will use either the same amount of electricity as a normal geyser or less if there is enough radiant heat in winter or on a cloudy day
Except a solar geyser costs a lot more.
yes it costs more but you earn that back , seriously
So, any thoughts from others here? Especially those who have installed solar geysers.
I have said my thoughts :)
one more most people who have solar geysers and have issues just have no idea how to use them, or probably got a crappy installer who didn't set it up correctly,
 
Last edited:

Splinter

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
27,560
Change the guy who is installing your inverter... He's an idiot and will screw the system up.
I have a solar geyser system at home... It has no pump so that part of his description is bollocks. The element in a geyser is designed to turn on and off constantly anyway so that is the 2nd bit of bollocks.. And yes you have cloudy days, but that doesn't mean the water in the panel doesn't get a bit warmed up and then the element in the geyser will heat it up the rest of the way so you will still use less electricity.

If it has no pump, how does water get from the geyser to the panel? Or maybe the other way around?

And as you say, there is still an element in the geyser that warms it up.

So, @ToxicBunny , while I generally agree with your posts, you have given no evidence as to what was said was wrong.

And as for him being an "idiot"; keep in mind if he wanted to just make money he could just have quoted me.
 

Splinter

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
27,560
We had a very old solar geyser on the house, during summer it was switched off on our distribution board and we always* had hot water. Only switched it on towards winter each year.

*Unless someone used a lot of hot water at night, then it would be luke-warm in the morning. By afternoon the water was hot again.

I bath in the morning. Unless you bath or shower in the afternoon it seems like you get luke-warm water.
 

Splinter

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
27,560
A solar geyser is a regular geyser with an added solar collector, it will use either the same amount of electricity as a normal geyser or less if there is enough radiant heat in winter or on a cloudy day

yes it costs more but you earn that back , seriously

So, as maybe I didn't explain properly before, and as the dude said, the term "solar" is disingenuous. It's a geyser that still runs on electricity, but has periodic warmth added to it with water being heated via a panel exposed to the sun.

It is not like solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity.

And it costs a shyte load more. And I am not convinced you get your money back.
 

Paul_S

Expert Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2006
Messages
4,903
I have an IoTaWatt energy monitoring system in place so I can monitor individual circuits including the backup element on my geyser.
I paid R27000 for my 300 litre solar geyser two years ago and I noticed an immediate saving. My total electricity bill is around R700 per month for a family of four include my wife's business which has staff compliment of seven people during the day.

Here is my solar geyser electricity usage (backup element):
June 2019 33.05 kWh
July 2019 73.47 kWh
Aug 2019 53.77 kWh
Sep 2019 22.15 kWh
Oct 2019 13.76 kWh
Nov 2019 18.88 kWh
Dec 2019 44.44 kWh
Jan 2020 29.22 kWh

So I'm averaging 36.09 kWh/month over 8 months including winter which equates to R57.74/month at R1.60/kWh.
I estimate my break even point is around 4 to 5 years since I only paid R20K out of my pocket and insurance covered the rest (insurance claim when electric geyser packed up).
Yes, solar geysers are worth the investment and if electricity tariffs keep increasing the break even point is even sooner.
 

Splinter

Honorary Master
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
Messages
27,560
I have an IoTaWatt energy monitoring system in place so I can monitor individual circuits including the backup element on my geyser.
I paid R27000 for my 300 litre solar geyser two years ago and I noticed an immediate saving. My total electricity bill is around R700 per month for a family of four include my wife's business which has staff compliment of seven people during the day.

Here is my solar geyser electricity usage (backup element):
June 2019 33.05 kWh
July 2019 73.47 kWh
Aug 2019 53.77 kWh
Sep 2019 22.15 kWh
Oct 2019 13.76 kWh
Nov 2019 18.88 kWh
Dec 2019 44.44 kWh
Jan 2020 29.22 kWh

So I'm averaging 36.09 kWh/month over 8 months including winter which equates to R57.74/month at R1.60/kWh.
I estimate my break even point is around 4 to 5 years since I only paid R20K out of my pocket and insurance covered the rest (insurance claim when electric geyser packed up).

How is this showing any savings? Where are the figures before you installed your R27000 solar geyser two years ago?
 

spiff

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
5,395
As usual, when Eskom crumbles a bit more, and we get some consistent load-shedding, folks scramble for alternative solutions.

And then sellers of such items resort to price-gouging.

I have seen solar geysers mentioned as a MASSIVE (hehe) electricity saving device; on a number of threads. So, when talking to the chap I'm looking at for installing an inverter system, I asked what his thoughts were about a solar geyser as well.

As posted on the load-shedding solutions thread, he called them a big scam. So, in essence, this is what he said:

You are constantly using power to run a small pump that pushes water from geyser to panel. At night, the element has to work harder to maintain warm water. And because it's outside, it is exposed to the weather and element has to work harder to maintain warm water. In essence the element has a much harder life as it is constantly switching on and off.

And then in winter you are going to have cloudy days etc. So a normal geyser is just as electricity efficient overall as a solar geyser.

Except a solar geyser costs a lot more.


So, any thoughts from others here? Especially those who have installed solar geysers.
He's talking utter bullshyt!
 

spiff

Executive Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
5,395
Using some quick and rough calcs from above.

5 units a day x 5 years x 365 days x R2, 00
Equals to about a saving of about R18000

Tough call to make. I recently had qoutes for complete solar geyser installations from R16k to R38k.
Eskom will get more expensive every year.

Your solar geyser gets cheaper and eventually costs zero.

Not much of a choice then.
 
Top