Solahart, Australia’s original solar brand, has today launched the country’s first solar-smart electric water heater – Solahart PowerStore®. The company says it has a dual aim: to offer a more affordable energy storage solution for solar power systems and to reduce energy bills.
Solahart PowerStore is more than a standalone water heater, as it is designed to work with your solar power system, providing a more cost-effective storage solution than a battery. The Solahart PowerStore system monitors your solar power production and identifies when excess solar energy is available. It then diverts this energy to heat water, rather than allowing it to be fed back into the grid.
“Put simply, Solahart PowerStore is like a battery, in that it stores excess power – only it’s in the form of hot water,” says Stephen Cranch, General Manager – Solahart.
“It’s estimated that 1.8 million Aussie families have already installed solar power systems to save money on their energy bills. Many households today fill their available roof space with panels to generate as much power as possible. However, these larger systems can produce more power than the household needs (especially during the weekdays), and this excess power is then fed back to the grid often for little financial return.
“That’s why we have gone one step further and developed the Solahart PowerStore system. It delivers hot water when you need it and uses your excess solar power to improve your solar investment. With a much lower up-front cost compared to a solar battery, it makes energy storage more affordable for Aussie families.”
As an example, a family of four in Sydney using 25kWh of power each day with a 5.2kW solar power system could export up to 50 per cent of its generation back to the electricity network. To overcome this, they could install a Solahart PowerStore system and divert much of this excess power to heat water. If they had replaced an electric water heater on off-peak tariff 2, the combined solar power and energy storage system could save this family up to $1,700 per year on their energy bills.
The Mair family from Frenchs Forest in Sydney are the first Solahart customer in Australia – and the world – to install a Solahart PowerStore system. A family of five, the Mairs have combined it with an 8.7kW solar power system and are expected to save $3,500 on their annual power bill.
“Our last quarterly energy bill was around $1,600,” explains Patrick Mair. “We have a pool which we also heat in the cooler months and an air conditioner which is expensive to run, so we felt that something had to be done to reduce our high energy bills. We decided to install solar power together with Solahart PowerStore and disconnect our old water heater. Now we can make use of our energy when the sun is at its peak. We believe the combination of solar power and Solahart PowerStore is a real game-changer.”
Solahart PowerStore is an Australian innovation – designed, developed and built in Australia.
“This is a huge innovation for the renewable energy market. The combination of Solahart PowerStore and solar panels will help householders enhance their solar investment,” explains Cranch. “It also helps reduce the amount of grid energy used to heat water, given that 25 per cent of your household energy is typically used for electric water heating.
“Solahart PowerStore is the obvious choice for Australian families who are concerned about electricity prices or are looking for a sustainable solar power and energy storage solution to lower their bills whilst also reducing their environmental footprint.
“It also helps take pressure off the energy grid which is currently faced with a phenomenon called the ‘duck-curve’, where too much solar energy is being fed back to the grid during the day when demand is low. The energy network has a real problem in dealing with this excess energy which it can’t use at that time.”
Australia is one the largest adopters of solar systems, now three timesthe residential solar panel penetration of Germany and the UK. It is reported that there are over 1.8 million householders in Australia with solar (photovoltaic [PV]) panels. Many of these are large systems that could benefit from installing this new solar-smart water heating technology.
“This announcement reinforces Solahart’s ongoing commitment to product innovation, in order to help Australians reduce their energy usage,” adds Cranch.
Solahart PowerStore is also compatible with a third-party Home Energy Management System (HEMS) provider, which will help achieve even greater savings. Adding HEMS to a Solahart PowerStore system allows you to purchase energy when it is cheaper, use daily and seasonal weather patterns to predict solar generation, and spread the load of your high energy appliances like air conditioners and pool pumps.