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Thread: Solar Water Heaters: What you need to know

  1. #1
    Super Grandmaster BCO's Avatar
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    Default Solar Water Heaters: What you need to know

    Hi guys,

    I've received a few PMs from forumites who know that I have a solar water heater and had some questions (particularly about the upcoming subsidy) for me, so I thought it'd be better just to share this knowledge in a dedicated thread. Here goes:

    • Don't confuse a solar water heater with a solar (photovoltaic) panel. Solar water heaters do NOT generate electricity, they literally heat water directly with the sun's energy and store it in a highly insulated tank.
    • Many solar water heaters also include an electric element just like a conventional geyser and if there's insufficient solar heating going on, they switch to electric. Also, some come with gas heating as an optional extra.
    • Solar water heaters are going to be subsidised by Eskom. The end user does not have to worry about having to deal with sorting out the subsidy themselves. Retailers will sell users the water heaters at the subsidised price and the retailer will claim this subsidy back from Eskom. Just as a side note, Eskom has contracted Deloitte to handle the subsidy process.
    • The subsidy process has not yet come into effect. As of today (29-01-2008) I was told that there are still 3-4 weeks to go before it comes into effect. One of the main reasons for this is that the subsidised amount is being disputed by the industry. I was part of the pilot project, and during the pilot, end users received a R6000 rebate. Currently Eskom wants to offer between R3k and R5k, and the solar water industry in SA feels that this amount is too low.
    • If you want information about the Eskom subsidy, I suggest you speak to solar water heating companies rather than to Eskom. The solar water companies are much smaller and more likely to help out individuals with information than a big juggernaut like Eskom is.


    My solar heater was supplied by Solahart. I went with them because apparently they're the only SABS approved solar water heaters in SA. That's not to say they're the necessarily best, and it would be quite interesting if other existing or possible future solar water users could post their make and supplier in this thread.

    I've been extremely happy with my heater - especially since it survived a massive hailstorm in JHB a few months back with no damage. I never have a problem with water not being hot either.

    Finally, much of the info above was provided by Jim at Solahart, so it should be fairly accurate. Also, I have no professional affiliation with any solar water heating company.
    Last edited by BCO; 29-01-2008 at 10:55 AM.

  2. #2
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    So do you run off just solar with no electric backup and you always have hot water?

  3. #3
    Super Grandmaster BCO's Avatar
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    No, I have electrical backup in my solar heater. Gonna try a little experiment for the next couple of days and turn off the heater on the distribution board just to see what it's like with solar only.

  4. #4
    Karmic Sangoma ghoti's Avatar
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    With your 6k rebate, how much did it end up costing you? IE, with the subsidy could you pick up everything for almost free? or how much are you as an individual looking to put in?
    Schrodingers immigrants : Simultaneously stealing your job and too lazy to work.

  5. #5
    Super Grandmaster BCO's Avatar
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    Even with the rebate they're quite expensive. Mine cost me R14000.00. I'm pretty sure that there are cheaper units than the Solaharts though.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCollar View Post
    Even with the rebate they're quite expensive. Mine cost me R14000.00. I'm pretty sure that there are cheaper units than the Solaharts though.
    That is pretty steep

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    Wow

    Just phoned the PE contact and he tells me R21 000-00 for a small unit (family of 2)
    Geoff
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    even more when we pass them on

  8. #8
    Super Grandmaster BCO's Avatar
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    Mine's a 180l unit (used by 3 people) and its pre-subsidy price was R20k.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCollar View Post
    No, I have electrical backup in my solar heater. Gonna try a little experiment for the next couple of days and turn off the heater on the distribution board just to see what it's like with solar only.
    Be interesting to see, although that's the best system, solar can heat it as far as possible and there's still an element so you never have no hot water.

  10. #10
    Super Grandmaster ToxicBunny's Avatar
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    I'm sorry but even a R6k subsidy on a R20k unit is not good enough.

    It needs to be able to pay off in tops 5 years I feel. Eskom want us to use these things, they must make it as attractive as possible tbh.

    I like the idea, but I don't like the idea of shelling out R15k(+-) on a unit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Korn1 View Post
    I have been called a retard my whole life

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToxicBunny View Post
    I'm sorry but even a R6k subsidy on a R20k unit is not good enough.

    It needs to be able to pay off in tops 5 years I feel. Eskom want us to use these things, they must make it as attractive as possible tbh.

    I like the idea, but I don't like the idea of shelling out R15k(+-) on a unit.
    Yeah...And if you think about it, you are now paying for another man's F-up

  12. #12
    Super Grandmaster BCO's Avatar
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    You're also paying to significantly reduce your home's carbon footprint.

  13. #13
    Super Grandmaster rph72's Avatar
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    What about Solar Panels that will fill a conventional geyser? Will that be cheaper?
    Don't argue with idiots. They will drag you down to their level then beat you with experience!!

  14. #14
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    To heat a geyser with electricty provided by solar PV panels would be much much more expensive.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueCollar View Post
    To heat a geyser with electricty provided by solar PV panels would be much much more expensive.
    Yes I rate you would need both solar heating + solar PV.
    Can't think of anything wise to say atm thanks.

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