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Is Solar Geyser Technology Worth The Investment?

Dec 8, 2022 | Property, Energy

South Africa is lucky enough to receive year-round sunshine. This means that we have the luxury of being able to choose whether we want to invest in solar power. And why wouldn’t we? After all, even just installing a solar geyser could help reduce your carbon footprint and drastically decrease your electricity bill.

The way a solar water geyser works is by collecting the sun’s energy to heat water using a thermal panel on the roof, circulated by a pump, and stored in a tank for use. Perhaps this explanation is somewhat reductive, and the mechanics may not be true of every type of solar geyser out there, but you get the general gist.

If you want to find out more before you decide to invest in a solar geyser, then let us help you. We’ve put together a guide to help you feel more informed so that you’re in the best position to make a decision.

Types of Solar Geysers

There are two overall types of solar geyser. You have the direct solar geyser, which includes standalone systems that circulate the water through a solar collector, heat it up and return it to the water supply. Direct systems are cheaper but don’t do well in cold weather, making them better suited to warmer regions.

The second main category is the indirect solar geyser. These systems are connected to another geyser, relying on a heat exchanger and transfer fluid. Indirect systems are more complex to install, more expensive, and do well in both warmer and colder regions.

To find the right type for you, it’s best to understand all the options, so let’s dive into the major types of solar geysers available.

  • FLAT PLATE

A simple direct system that uses direct sunlight to heat water, but isn’t considered the most effective because it needs North facing sunlight and should be clear of all cast shadows from trees or buildings.

  • EVACUATED TUBE

A direct system which allows water to be circulated using a pump. It’s considered more efficient because it uses UV rays, not direct sunlight.

  • RETROFIT

An indirect pumped system that’s installed as a pre-feed to your existing geyser installation, thus reducing your geyser electricity usage. While there are more parts involved, which does make this a higher maintenance option, it’s also more cost-effective.

  • THERMOSIPHON

A passively driven thermal management device that pushes cold water into the collector to be heated by the sun. It’s considered the most common and reliable system.

  • DIRECT THERMOSIPHON

This system uses a standard thermosiphon geyser that’s made to withstand colder conditions, but doesn’t offer additional insulation for water storage.

  • INDIRECT THERMOSIPHON

This thermosiphon system is designed to withstand extremely cold conditions, utilising a jacketed layer to keep the water temperature from freezing or cooling too fast.

  • CLOSED COUPLED

This is a one-piece, direct thermosiphon system that relies on tubes going directly into the tank via sleeves. It’s not ideal for cooler areas, where temperatures drop.

  • LOW PRESSURE

Another closed coupled system that transfers the water using gravity. It’s perfect for farming areas or places where the temperature never really reaches below 15 degrees.

The Benefits of Going Solar

Most people know that going solar means that you’ll reduce your electricity bill, but there are actually so many benefits to this choice.
Here are our top 6 benefits:

  1. Save up to 90% on your water heating costs.
  2. Free and renewable energy at all times.
  3. Reduce your dependence on fossil fuels and limit nasty smoke, gas, and chemical by-products.
  4. The quality of your water won’t influence the solar geyser system.
  5. Homes with no access to electricity will benefit.
  6. Solar heating systems are strong and weather resistant, so you won’t have a finicky system interrupted by frost.

Pause For Thought

Yes, it seems as though solar geysers are an obvious yes. The “don’t walk, run for it” kind of move that you should make for the benefit of your home and your monthly budget. But there are two serious considerations that you should take into account.

Firstly, a solar geyser requires an upfront investment. Maybe for some this won’t be a massive expense, but solar geyser prices aren’t cheap, ranging from around R4,000 to around R25,000.

Solar Geyser Prices

Like most investments of this sort, the actual cost involved will depend on where you get the geyser from, the actual brand, the type of solar geyser, and the capacity you need for your size home. For example, the solar geyser prices at Makro could cost from around R4,000 to R12,000 for a low pressure solar geyser.

With this product in particular, you can’t forget the costs of solar geyser installation.

What you should keep in mind, however, is that most of these systems will pay for themselves in a relatively short timeframe. According to Smart Solar Tech, you could pay your investment off in around two to three years, and after that, you will continue to save money for another 10 years.

What Next?

We suggest that you do your homework to figure out which size and type of solar geyser you need. Armed with this knowledge, you can get prices from a couple of companies to compare.

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