Don’t opt for solar energy before you’ve optimised your home. Part 2.

Don’t opt for solar energy before you’ve optimised your home. Part 2.

By Jack Ward, CEO of Soltra Energy

Heating geyser water is typically the largest cost of energy in a home today. An average South African family will spend R10 000 or more to heat water every year.

In my last blog, I suggested that the next step to take before considering a state-of-the-art solar energy system is to install a modern heat pump to assist your geyser. Where a geyser uses three units of electrical energy to produce three units of heat energy, a heat pump converts just one unit of electrical energy into four units of heat energy.


What is a heat pump?

It’s a device that provides heat energy from a source of heat to a destination called a ‘heat sink’. Essentially, heat pumps move thermal energy opposite to the direction of spontaneous heat flow. Air conditioners and freezers are familiar examples of heat pumps which absorb heat from a cold space and release it to a warmer one.

A heat pump will use this principle to heat geyser water to 55-degrees C using hardly any energy.

A heat pump is relatively easy to plumb into a home or business. It makes use of a free renewable energy source, for example the air at ambient temperature in a roof, basement or storeroom which is drawn through a condenser to heat water. A typical heat pump is up to 370% efficient compared to 60-95% for a traditional electric geyser water heating system.

Heat pumps can also be retro-fitted to complement existing geysers or be used to support solar energy systems.

Installing a heat pump hot water solution is the next step towards optimising your home or business from an energy perspective. It will set you on the road to meaningful energy savings, ultimately transforming your living or work space into a much smarter version of itself.

Investing in a heat pump sets the stage for the installation of solar thermal panels or a state-of-the art solar PV energy system which will set you free from the hassles associated with regular power outages and grid unreliability.

It will also pave the way for you to monitor your energy consumption in real-time with a CarbonTRACK cost-reducing programme, giving you a better understanding of your electricity usage patterns and how to save money.

More details about the importance of solar energy, the future of home automation and the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) in my next blog.