What type of Hot Water system is best?

Gas or Electric? Heat Pump or Solar?

What hotwater system is best?

Did you know that an Electric hot water system can make up 30% of your power bill? Few people do… Never the less it is true that the simple luxury of hot water can cost you big, even if it is on the off-peak tariff.

Gas hot water is not much better to be honest… The cost of your hot water wont be added onto your power bill, instead you will be getting a gas bill! And unless you have mains gas running to your property you will have to remain on alert ready for when the gas bottle runs out mid shower on a cold winters morning where all of a sudden you find yourself dashing outside in a towel to switch the bottles over. (I know this from experience living in my old house)

So solar hot water is the best then?

Not exactly, while solar hot water will indeed save you money on your power bill it is not really the best way to utilise your roof space. Unfortunately, a dedicated solar hot water system can be very costly and obviously only heats your hot water…

It actually makes the most sense to have and typical Electric hot water storage system and have a standard solar system on your roof that powers your entire home. What we like to do is remove the off-peak meters and install a timer in your switchboard that will turn your solar on during the day. This essentially turns your hot water into a “Solar Hot Water” with a few added benefits:

  • Excess power not being used by your hot water can be utilised elsewhere in your house or even sent back to the grid for a credit!
  • During a cloudy day or periods of poor weather, your hot water will still heat during the day using power from the grid.
  • Fewer things to go wrong: If you happen to have both solar and solar hot water these are 2 completely separate systems that will each carry their own warranties to worry about.

These timers are a super simple way to ensure that you are utilising your solar in the best possible way. It is literally “Set and Forget” once installed you will have the peace of mind knowing that your hot water is not costing you a cent!

Why Sungrow??

Here at Yuma Energy, we make it no secret that we love our Sungrow Inverters and the reason as to WHY is simply that they are AWESOME…..

As a company, we have literally installed 1000’s of Sungrow inverters ranging from 5kw’s to 15kw’s for residential customers across QLD and NSW, of those installs the failure rates have been so low it seems impossible, here is a very short list of our Sungrow Failures:

2 x Failures due to Lightning Strikes
1 x DOA (Dead on Arrival)

Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about old Mother Nature and when she decides to strike with around 1 BILLION Volts there is not much that will stand up to that sort of abuse…..

With the 5kw Sungrow (SG5K-D) that was dead on arrival, we will admit there is nothing much more embarrassing than having to say to a customer that their brand new inverter does not work…

Especially after we talk the Sungrow’s up so much! The good news was that because the Sungrow’s are so popular and easy to source we had a replacement delivered to our installers the same afternoon and still managed to get their system up and running before the sun went down.

With the dead inverter, we just took it away from the site and handled the warranty claim ourselves so the customer did not have to.

This brings us to our next point… The Sungrow warranty process was AMAZING, we gave them a quick call and after a brief explanation they arranged a replacement for us and that was the end of it.

To make sure our opinion was actually valid our lead installer (and my business partner) James put the question out to the Solar Professionals group on Facebook to find out what the industry really thinks…

As you can see the post was a hit amongst the solar community with over 214 Comments from seasoned industry pro’s… and here are some of what they said: (Dont worry for full disclosure I will post the whole thread down the bottom so that you may review the entire post)
Note: For privacy reasons, we have had to mark out Surnames and display pictures.

Lets start out with comment number one (Which is actually a +1 for the Fronius inverter)

As you can see Kris is clearly a fan of the Fronius, but all of the points he made still make it a hard justification as to the additional cost of installing a Fronius over a Sungrow, so let’s break his points down a little:
1. Reputation – Of course Fronius does have a large reputation for quality so this point is fair.

2. Generous Ratings for different stringing configurations – This has little to no benefit for 90% of our customers as most installs are fairly straight forward… Yes there is some added flexibility for design with the Fronius but this only benefits a small number of customers.

3. Built-in DC Isolator – As an installer, this is great as it makes our job easier… but there is absolutely 0 benefit of this for our customers. (E.g lets make our customers pay extra to make my job easier)

4. Plugs on the bottom of the inverter – This is a subjective argument, while yes I agree the Fronius inverters do look nice and tidy, I also believe that a Sungrow install done by a Professional Installer can look fantastic too (They look even better if you think about the cost savings while looking at it)

The Fronius supporters comment’s pretty much followed the same tune throughout the thread but what was amazing was the overwhelming support for the humble Sungrow Inverters…

The list could go on but you get the point.

Here at Yuma Energy we always ask our customers “Why are you thinking of getting solar” and the answer is always the same… “To save money”

And if our customer’s main goal is to save money we can not honestly justify the additional expense of the so-called “Premium Inverters”

My solar has been installed… Now what?

So you have just had your new solar system installed, what happens now?

The Run Through:

Firstly you want to make sure that you have had a detailed run through with your installer to make sure you understand the basic operation of the system and how to tell if there is a fault that needs investigating. If your installer did not go through this or you have more questions make sure you contact your salesman. You will also want to make sure that all of the appropriate product manuals have been left with you.

If your system was installed by us you can find all product warranty and user manuals here.

The Meter Change:

Before you can start enjoying the benefits of your new solar system your current electricity meter may require replacing (In QLD + NSW there is no cost to the customer for this change). If you already had a solar system installed prior to this new install your meter should all ready be updated and good to go, likewise if you already have a digital smart meter installed your electricity will just wirelessly reconfigure the meter to start reading solar production.

If your meter does require replacing your solar installers will leave the inverter(s) off to ensure that there are no discrepancies in your electricity bill.

Once the installers leave the site your sales company will work in the background contacting your electricity supplier and the network operator (Energex for SE QLD) to arrange the replacement of your meter to a new digital smart meter. This process should all happen seamlessly without the need for you to contact anyone yourself, it is, however, a good idea to follow up with your electricity retailer if you have not heard anything within 10 days.

It can take around 2 – 3 weeks for your electricity retailer to replace your meter and they should contact you with a date and time for the install. On the day your new meter is installed the metering provider will require access to your switchboard and will have to keep the power switched off for approximately 1 – 2 hours.

Once the new meter is on you can go out to your inverter and switch it on. If you are unsure on how to turn your inverter on please contact your salesman to arrange a detailed run through.

Congratulations, you can now enjoy your solar power and the savings it provides! For some detailed tips and tricks on how to increase your solar savings more check out our other blog posts.



Supercharging your solar savings.

Solar Panel Systems Queensland

Getting solar installed is an achievement, and you should be proud to say your house is a solar-powered home, and while your system will save you money without you needing to do anything, there are certainly lots of ways to “Supercharge” the savings your solar panels provide.

Monitoring

The first suggestion I would make to anyone who really wants to make the most of their rooftop solar is monitoring, monitoring your solar usage and consumption is a fantastic way to get a clear picture of where you are doing well in regards to energy usage and where you could do better. The simplest form of monitoring would have to be reading the inbuilt screen on your inverter or using the wifi app that comes free with many inverters. Reading from the screen or using the built-in apps are ok methods of monitoring however it can make it difficult to get a clear picture of your energy production.

If you had a solar system installed by us you would have likely been told about the monitoring solution we like to offer called “Solar Analytics” this is an awesome tool that allows users to get live data from their house that will tell them exactly where, when and how your power is being generated and used. This information is extremely valuable when it comes to making the most of your solar because you are able to clearly see exactly when power is being generated and when it is being used. Solar Analytics also gives portal access to ourselves so we can keep a watchful eye over your system and make sure that everything is operating as intended.

The Basics:

Because the solar feed-in tariff is no longer 45c per KW solar owners need to switch the way they utilise their solar power. The most productive way to use your solar with today’s feed-in tariff is to use as much electricity as possible while it is being produced, for example, put the washing on a timer to wash/dry while you are work. See below for a list of other saving techniques:

  • Install a timer on your hot water system to operate between 8am and 4pm
  • Heat / Cool your home in the afternoon
  • Change old halogen globes to energy-efficient L.E.D’s
  • Set the timer on your pool pump to operate between 8am and 4pm
  • Use energy-efficient appliances
  • Stagger consumption (Don’t turn all appliances on at once)

Note: If it generates heat it usually uses a lot of power!

Electricity retailers

You most likely shopped around for the best solar installer to suit your needs (if you chose us we are very grateful), just like shopping around for solar installers you should definitely shop around for different energy retailers, we find a lot of our customers are with the same electricity provider they have been with for years and often do not realise that they have been sneakily putting up the prices of electricity without the customer realising.

There is no reward for loyalty when it comes to energy retailers, if you find a better deal ask them to match it or beat it and if they do not come to the party give them the flick.

Here are some important things to look for in an energy retailer:

  • Daily Supply Charge: These can make up for a large portion of your electricity bill especially once you have had solar installed. If you are in the SE QLD region you want to look for prices certainly no higher than $1.20 per day.
  • Feed-in Tariff (Between 11c & 20c): Your electricity usage habits will determine how important your feed-in tariff will be for you, if you are a family who is home a lot throughout the day then a high feed-in tariff would be less important compared to houses where no-one is home during the day. The reason being is if you are home all day you can use your solar as it is being produced rather than selling it back to the grid.
  • Discount’s: Who doesn’t like a good discount? The good news for homeowners and tenants alike is that there are plenty of discounts to be found when searching for the right electricity deal. Some of the best deals I have found come in the way of a “Pay on Time” Discount, these can range from 15 – 30% off! Just make sure they are not making up for the discount by giving less than desirable supply charges, and tariffs.

We hope you enjoy your solar experience and if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below. If you are still looking for the right solar provider give us a call and we will happily arrange you an obligation free quote.

OLD Feed in Tariff vs NEW Feed in Tariff

Many home owners are still asking us if purchasing solar is still worth it even though the FIT (Feed in tariff) has been reduced from 45c Per KW to 11c Per KW. It seems crazy doesn’t it? Why would you bother having solar installed when you are getting so little back from the energy companies?

How to save money on the OLD Feed in Tariff:

The tactic is simple…. Vacate your house during the day, have your solar produce as much power as possible without being interrupted and sell it all back to the grid at a rate of 45c Per KW…. Then come night time, you turn all your power-hungry devices on (Washing machine, dishwashers, pool pumps, ETC) and buy back all the power you sold during the day for a much cheaper 20-30c Per KW. If you are on the old FIT and you are not doing this, you need to start! There are huge savings available to you if you start. (SAVINGS PER KW 10-20C) 

Digital Electricity Meter

How to save money on the New Feed in Tariff:

This is where people are stuck in the past, if you stick to the above strategy for power usage there is no way you can take full advantage of the savings that your solar system has to offer, that is why you need to switch it up! Don’t use all your power-hungry devices at night that would be crazy! No you need to start using it all during the day instead, by doing so instead of selling your power to the energy company for 11c Per KW and buying it back later for 20-30c Per KW at night you consume the power as it is created and before it is sold to the grid! Doing this means that you save the 20-30c Per KW that the power companies charge! HUGE SAVINGS (More than OLD FIT that’s for sure)

Now you are possibly thinking “I work all day, I can’t just rush home to put my washing on when the sun comes out” and you would be right, that would be a pain in the backside… Not to worry though technology has you covered! Provided most of your appliances were not made in the 90’s there is a good chance that they all have built in timers meaning you can stack the dishes the night before set the timer for 8am and grab your clean dishes out the following afternoon with all power provided by your roof! The same goes for all major appliances, washers, dryers, pool pumps, even hot water systems (I will cover hot water in another post) these can all be thrown on timers for different parts of the day so you can reap the full benefit of you Solar.

How property investors are making money with solar…

In the past property investors all thought of solar on their investment properties the same way…. Sure it may make my house a little easier to sell… Sure I may be able to put the rent up slightly…. But is the outlay for a whole solar install worth these few benefits?

Now the game has changed… Property investors are actually using solar to generate a passive income that can be used to help offset their other costs associated with owning rental properties. Not only that, the cost of installing solar onto a rental property is totally tax deductible!

After years of experience in the Australian solar industry the founders of Yuma Energy asked the question “Why do rental properties so rarely have solar?” That question is easy enough to answer if you look at my earlier points, however the founders of Yuma Energy were determined to make installing solar onto rental’s a no brainer.

So what is the magic formula? Yuma Energy developed a process/system for monitoring the energy produced by the solar on investment properties and uses the data collected to bill the tenants for the solar power they have used rather than them purchasing power from the large electricity retailers.

The result for Australian tenants is electricity that is about 30% cheaper when they use the solar power. Not only does this allow the tenants to take advantage of renewable energy and the savings it provides, it also produces another form of passive income for property investors.

This passive income is also quite significant, working out to around $37 per week ($1,924 per year) into the investors pocket.

This quickly covers the cost of a solar install and starts generating real profit for the property investor.

To learn more about how solar on your investment properties get in contact with Yuma Energy today.