When the sun is at its peak, a majority of the 1.3 million Australian households with rooftop solar photo voltaic panels generate more electricity than they can use. As a result, the excess electricity they produce is exported to the grid.
A lot of these households are not aware that they can also use their solar power systems to heat their water too, thereby enabling them to reduce the amount of excess electricity they are forced to export at a very cheap rate to the grid.
In 2009, most Australian households were being paid generous rates by the grid for their excess electricity. In Victoria, during that time, households were earning up to 60 cents per kilowatt-hour for exported electricity.
However, retailers have dramatically reduced these premium feed-in tariffs to a modest 6 cents, or even less. At the same time, homeowners are paying 30 cents or more per kilowatt-hour to buy electricity from the grid in the evening, when their solar systems are not producing power.
Ways to maximize return on your solar investment
Naturally, a lot of households operating their solar systems are asking how they can avoid giving away electricity at low rates to retailers. One method is to maximize the use of electricity in the home while the sun is at its peak, but a household can only run the dishwasher so many times during the day.
An alternative is to invest in a solar power storage device in order to store electricity produced during the day, for use at night to avoid peak rates. However, battery storage systems are still in the early stages of their development and are relatively expensive as a result.
But there is a better option that makes energy storage cheaper and more economical for most householders. And this option involves the use of water. The fact is: the requirement for hot water drives up the energy demand of a typical home dramatically.
Most homes in Australia use electric-resistive, gas-fires or rooftop solar thermal water heaters. There is, however, a new device which is gaining popularity in the country – the hot water heat pump.
The hot water heat pump
This device works similarly to air conditioners and refrigerators. It uses a refrigeration cycle that pumps heat ‘uphill’ from a colder zone to a warmer area. In other words, it works like a reverse-cycle air conditioner with a lower carbon footprint.
The benefit in using this device is that the ambient heat that is present outside the home is collected and used inside the home to heat water. It works just like a reverse-cycle air conditioner when it is set on heating mode.
A hot water heat pump, when working efficiently, can capture up to 3.5 times more heat energy from outside air as the electricity it uses. That means the hot water collected in the tank represents a net gain of free clean energy.
To find out what kind of solar system would be best for your house hold visit Australian Solar Quotes and receive three free quotes!