Homeowners could be saving up to £240 a year by simply using excess energy generated by their solar panels to heat hot water, say the Hot Water Association (HWA).
The HWA revealed the figure in a recently published report, stating that the savings can be made by converting a hot water cylinder into a ‘thermal battery’.
Currently, any excess energy generated by solar panels is sent to the National Grid and the homeowner is paid for every unit they send. While this might sound beneficial, they’ll have to pay around 3 times more to buy the same unit back. Due to this, it’s in the interest of homeowners to use as much of the energy they’re generating as possible and the HWA are suggesting they do this by diverting the energy to a hot water cylinder.
Isaac Occhipinti, Head of External Affairs at the HWA said their statistics “show that, homeowners could save between £90 and £240 per annum and meet around 50% of their hot water energy requirements if they were to divert their excess solar energy using the products currently on the market which homeowners can connect to their immersion heater.
“There are over 900,000 homes in the UK with solar PV installed. But while these consumers should be delighted with the energy they are generating and the associated savings, research has found that the vast majority of these people are actually dissatisfied because, as they are out at work when the energy is being generated, they cannot consume all of the surplus energy and therefore do not see the true benefits.”
Seeing as 40% of UK homes are fitted with a hot water cylinder, using energy generated by solar panels to heat hot water could offer homeowners significant savings on their bills.
How Can I Start Using Solar Energy to Heat Hot Water?
One of the tools available on the market is a Solar Power Diverter which has the potential to provide your home with free hot water. The device works by constantly monitoring the electricity being generated by your solar panels and comparing that figure to how much is actually being used in the home. When it recognises that more energy is being generated than used, it will divert the extra electricity to an immersion heater in the hot water tank. Not only will you be using more solar energy, you’ll be taking some of the strain off your boiler.
When you consider that one of the most popular solar power diverters, such as the Solar iBoost, immerSUN or Solec 200, is likely to only cost £200-£300 you could make your money back in a year by using it to heat your hot water.
Is There Another way to Use More Solar Energy?
A solar battery will allow you to hold on to the surplus energy that your solar panels have generated for you to use at another time. With a solar battery, you’ll be holding onto more of the energy that the solar panels generate than a power diverter will use but they’re more expensive to install and require ongoing maintenance.
You can find out even more about solar batteries on Solar Guide.