SOLAR OVERVIEW

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Our Solar division is managed by Tony Henry who has joined us with many years of experience as both a qualified plumber and manager.  As Solar Installers our organisation is registered with ESKOM for the rebates paid for the installation of approved hot water systems. Please be aware that only systems accredited by ESKOM qualify for a rebate.

We are also members of SESSA being the Sustainable Energy Society of South Africa.

We are registered members of IOPSA (Institute of Plumbing SA) and PIRB (Plumbing Industry Registration Board) as well as being members of the ECA (Electrical Contractors Association) and so are qualified in all aspects of Solar Hot Water system installations.

Generally any solar installation is in two parts. The plumber installs the solar collector, either  connected to an existing geyser (retrofit) or new geyser. An electrician will then connect the geyser to the distribution board for a new installation and to fit a timer or controller, as required.  This allows for the optimization of the system, allowing the sun to heat the water during the day and the electrical system

to increase the temperature (via an electrical element in the geyser) when there is no sunshine to drive the system.

 

Note     There is extensive information available on Solar Hot Water Systems, but we shall attempt to give you a brief overview. We recommend you study the ESKOM website www.eskomidm.co.za and click on residential and technologies.

Alternatively you may email their help desk at <a href=“mailto:solar@eskom.co.za”>solar@eskom.co.za</a> or call their helpline on (011)800 4744

Our suppliers also have informative websites such as www.solardome.co.za and www.its-solar.com

WHY FIT A SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEM 

  • South Africans enjoy a majority of sun filled days and can therefore take advantage of a totally free energy source.
  • Solar energy is also an environmentally friendly source of energy with no carbon emissions.
  • Should you install an ESKOM accredited system, the rebate you will receive will help to cover the cost.
  • Savings that accrue to you will depend on how the system is utilised, but ESKOM estimate that your water heating bills could be slashed by as much as 50% to70% A survey conducted by a supplier found that in their samples the payback period for a retrofitted system (using you existing geyser) was 2.5 years and increased to 4 years installing a longer lasting new geyser. After the payback period, the saving ends up in your own pocket.

 

BASIC FACTS ON SOLAR HOT WATER SYSTEMS

 

  • A system consists of a solar collector, a geyser, a pump for a pumped system and a timer/controller.
  • The so-called direct system is suitable for Cape Town as we do not have the extreme cold to freeze and damage the system.
  • There are two main categories of collector, being the flat plate or the evacuated tube. Both have advantages with the flat plate being the simpler system while the evacuated tube being regarded as slightly more efficient.
  • The flat plate is a simple glass topped, insulated box with a metal heat absorber plate fitted with pipes to carry the water being heated. The evacuated tube is a glass tube containing copper rod that absorbs the heat from the sun and this in turn heats the water in a heat exchange manifold. It is called an evacuated tube as the air has been removed from the tube and this minimises any loss of heat. Both systems are proven and work well.
  • If your geyser (hot water cylinder) is in good shape, it may be adapted for use in a solar hot water system and you still qualify for an ESKOM rebate. This is not ideal as the geyser made for solar systems is normally larger to store more water and also better insulated to retain heat for a longer period. Although it will not last as long as a new geyser, a retrofit has the advantage of reducing your initial investment.
  • Flat plate systems have been known to last up to 25 years but the evacuated tubes, while guaranteed for 5 years have not been tested for those extended periods. The advantage they do have is that if one tube fails, it can be individually replaced.
  • A timer/controller needs to be installed to optimize the operation of the system. Should there be insufficient heat generated by the sun, the controller will switch on the electrical element to heat the water in the conventional manner.

 

HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK

 

  • You will need to contact us (or another accredited supplier). We will need to establish some basic information in order to supply you with a broad brush estimate of what alternative installations would cost. Should you remain interested in installing system, an on-site inspection will be necessary to provide a quote for the job.
  • The price of the system can vary due to manufacturer/supplier, type (flat plate or evacuated tube) size, new or retro geyser, type of roof (construction/orientation/angle) distance from usage points. The principle is to maximise heat capture and minimize heat loss.
  • A general indication of the size required is 50 litres per person in the house. This is normally a size larger than a standard electrical geyser which you may already have installed.
  • An ESKOM rebate is based on the efficiency of a SABS tested system and will depend on make and size of the installation
  • After we have conducted an inspection, we will prepare a written quote that will be submitted to you. We will require your written acceptance of the quote and a deposit of 50% of the value of the quote is required before work can begin. The balance will be paid on completion of the installation.
  • On completion, our electrician will provide a Certificate of Compliance and a rebate claim form will be issued to the owner.
  • You will need to fill in some personal details on the form, then attach a copy of your ID as well as utility bill as proof of residence.
  • This is submitted together with the original invoice issued by us to Deliotte & Touche, the facilitating auditors. Should the submission be correctly completed and approved, your rebate should be paid out within 8 weeks.