Solar Water Heating System: How It Works

If you are considering installing a solar water heating system, there are a few things to consider first. Before you go around asking for quotes from various solar installers it’s best if you know the ins and outs of solar water heating. That way you know what questions to ask.

How does it work?

There are many different ways in which a solar water heating system can work. However the basics are all the same. Free energy from the sun is used to heat either water or another liquid. The use of technology allows the water to get much hotter than if it was just a glass of water in the sun. This heat is then transferred to your home’s hot water cylinder for use when you need it.

How much hot water will my solar water heating system provide?

That depends, both on the time of year, where in New Zealand you live and the size of your system. For a home of 1-2 people we recommend a 20 tube system. This will provide enough hot water for the standard water use of 1-2 people. Just like with buying a hot water cylinder, the bigger the household, the bigger the system will need to be.

What happens when the sun isn’t shining?

It can be expected that during winter or just every so often, the days will be shorter or clouds will block out the sun. Also what if you want a hot shower in the morning? Will this be impossible since there was no solar energy to heat your water overnight? 

Using a solar water heating system in conjunction with a booster system is recommended for those who live in areas with less sunlight. To ensure you always have a consistent and on demand supply of hot water, no matter the weather.

Is it worth it?

Is the cost really worth installing a solar water heating system? Our opinion is absolutely! Our case study in Nelson managed to eliminate water heating from their energy bill with just a 20 tube system. Reducing their power usage by 35%. That is a 35% discount on your power bill every year. Down the road if you decide to also install electric solar panels, you would in theory need to spend 35% less on your solar panel system.

If you are interested, call 0508 449 274 or contact us online for some expert advice and a quote.

Solar Heating made easy!

Solar heating is quickly gaining popularity as a choice for homeowners and businesses alike. Not only is it the cheaper option in the long term, it’s also environment-friendly. You also lessen your carbon footprint by using solar power and solar heating. More and more people are now using solar heating and solar panels.

What Is Solar Heating?

Solar heating is the renewable energy system that absorbs the sun’s energy in heat form instead of using it to generate electricity. Passive solar heating systems don’t have any mechanical parts. Solar power also allows for solar water heating.

What Is Solar Water Heating?

Solar water heating converts sunlight into heat for water heating with the aid of a solar thermal collector. There’s a vast array of configuration with different costing geared towards offering solutions for various climates and latitudes. Solar water heaters are mostly used for residential and a few industrial applications.

How Solar Heating Works

Solar collectors have direct systems that circulate water where the sun heats it up using the sun’s thermal energy. The fluid then goes through a heat exchanger in the storage tank, shifting heat to the water. The non-freezing fluid then goes back to the collectors.

What Is Sustainable Energy?

Sustainable energy refers to humans using energy that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” There are two pillars of sustainable energy strategies: energy conservation and cleaner methods of producing energy.

Sustainable energy is a wonderful solution for both existing and new homes. You can easily have solar panels installed on your roof. While building a new home, you should install solar panels right now as it will likely increase in cost in the near future. You should make provisions for solar power such as using a solar-ready water cylinder or put pipe work and wiring in place.

What Are Photovoltaic Solar Panels?

Photovoltaic solar panels harness the sun’s energy to generate enough sustainable electrical energy to power your business or home. To offset your energy bill, you can use the grid connected system, which allows the energy generated to be fed back into the national grid. Or you can use off the grid system and be totally independent of the grid by storing energy in batteries. Wind turbines or Micro Hydro generation are other alternatives that may be viable on your site. can design and install an off the grid or grid connected solar panel system to meet your energy requirements and budget. By utilising either photovoltaic solar panels, wind turbines, or mini hydro generation you will no longer be suseptable to the every increasing power prices, while at the same time reducing your environmental impact. Other services provided include consultancy, energy assessments, design, and installation of remote energy systems and much more.

Solar Heating: Installing Solar Water Heating Makes Sense

You can use solar water heating panels to heat your water or swimming pool. The exact amount you will save solar heating your water will vary but it won’t be too long before your new solar system will have paid for itself.

It’s been estimated that for an average household, solar water heating from solar panels will provide 75 percent of your annual hot water needs. Systems can be designed to heat pool and swimming pool or we have specific solar pool heating systems available.

Solar Electric Technology is one of New Zealand’s leading solar companies. Our technicians have installed over 1,000 solar power, solar hot water, wind and mini-hydro systems throughout New Zealand and Australia.

Here are some of our more recent jobs:


This is a 12kWp grid tie solar system we have installed in Motueka. The site is 3 ph, with 2 houses and a swimming pool, which will run off of the solar system. The system is spread over multiple roofs and the solar panels face east, north and west so that they achieve a long solar generation day.

We have used Enphase micro inverters, which allow us to face the solar panels in various directions. They also allow us to monitor each individual panel to see how it is performing.


This is a recent job we completed in Picton. We are using a high quality Austrian made Fronius string inverter, to manage the energy from the Jinko solar panels on the roof. An Elios Power Reducer will also divert any excess solar energy, not being utilised in the house, into the hot water cylinder. The more energy consumed on site, the better the return on investment.


This is an installation in Blenheim with a dark roof and so we have used our all black Jinko solar modules to tie in nicely with the roof.

Here we are using Enphase Micro inverters to manage the solar energy and an Elios Power Reducer to divert excess solar energy into the hot water cylinder rather than the grid.


This is a job we complete in Otaki, North of Wellington. This is a 3.12kWp grid tie solar system with Tier 1 Jinko solar modules and Fronius Austrian made inverter. We have also fitted an Elios Power Reducer to divert excess solar energy into the water cylinder.

Foster – Recent Installs

This is an installation of a 3.12kWp grid tie solar system in Waikanae, North of Wellington.

This system has Tier 1 Jinko solar modules and Enphase Micro inverters to manage the solar energy. With Enphase Micro inverters each solar panel has its own inverter instead of 1 larger string inverter managing the entire system.

As usual we have also fitted an Elios Power Reducer to divert excess solar energy into the hot water cylinder instead of the grid.


This is an installation of a 4.16kWp grid tie solar system in Nelson with Enphase Micro inverter technology. This client did not have a North facing roof and so we have fitted an array on both the East and West roofs instead. The Eastern system will start to operate first, then both work together from around 10am and then in the afternoon the Western array will operate until later in the evening.

Solar Electric Technology Ltd provides services including installation of solar heating and solar power panels throughout New Zealand and Australia. We make solar heating accessible to homeowners and businesses alike. Whatever your solar heating needs are, we’re here to help you. We make solar heating super easy for you.

Heat Your Water With A Heat Pump

How can a heat pump water heater help you? Did you know that up to 50% of your monthly power bill goes to just water heating? It might be hard to comprehend but it is generally the biggest single power consumer a house will have. Naturally, this is then the first point to address if you are looking to save power.


Heat_Pump_Water_HeaterA heat pump water heaters can save you up to 75% on your hot water heating bill. Our heat pump water headers deliver the highest seasonal efficiency of any water heater available.The best part is that they can also be used in conjunction with a solar system, meaning not only is your water heated for free, but it’s done so in a very efficient manner so that you have hot water for longer.


The Econergy heat pump water heater has been rated number one in Consumer Magazine’s heat pump water heater test. Econergy is being recognized as one of the best water heating options for your home, and solar PV panels can provide energy from the sun to power the heat pump.


If you are interested in an Ecoenergy heat pump for your home, visit our heat pump water heating page and give us a call today!


Get Hot Water With Solar And Save!

One of the greatest costs in energy to the average household is that of water heating. On average, water heating accounts for a third of your power bill. So what can you do to reduce this and save that 33%?


Solar_hot_water_heatingSolar hot water heating is the solution to saving every month on your power bill. For a small investment upfront (to purchase and install the system), you can free yourself from the monthly burden of paying your energy bill.


Many people have started switching to solar hot water heating and have seen the results that solar can bring in terms of saving energy and providing an alternative solution to heating your water. An efficient, properly designed and built solar water heating system should be able to fully heat your water without any external support, meaning completely free water heating!


If you are interested in heating your water with solar, talk to us today!


Why is Solar Water Heating a good idea?

As a home or business owner, you are no doubt always looking for ways to save as much money as possible. Heating water is often a very large part of the power bill that property owners receive every month. So how can you reduce this cost?

Solar water heating is an excellent option if you want to reduce your power bill. Just like a PV electric solar system, it uses the sun’s energy to heat your water, saving your from having to pay for power to do it. How does it do this?


Water from the bottom of the cylinder is pumped by a pump up to the solar panels. This water in the panel is then heated by the sun and flows back to the hot water cylinder. A digital controller is used to regulate the temperature by controller when the pump turns on and off. This allows the water to stay at the set temperature.

If you would like a solar water heater for your home, visit our solar water heating page for more information and to see systems and solutions we provide.

Want Cheaper Water Heating?

If you are looking for ways to reduce the cost of water heating in your home, the Econergy heat pump water heater could be for you! The Econergy heat pump water heater can save you up to 75% on your heating bill!

What is the Econergy heat pump water heater? The Econergy is an award winning water heater that delivers the highest seasonal efficiency of any water heater available. Used in conjunction with a new or your current hot water cylinder, it heats your water with unmatched efficiency, resulting in a vastly reduced power bill.

The Econergy is a New Zealand designed and manufactured and comes with a 6 year performance warranty. For more information, visit our Econergy heat pump water heater page and give us a call today on 0800 765 270.