Heat Pump vs Solar Geyser
Many domestic consumers are turning to renewable energy technologies to meet their hot water needs. There are several factors behind this shift, including the cost of electricity, the instability of the national grid and a growing awareness of the need for sustainable living. State building codes also require that at least 50% of water heating be done by something other than electrical components.
However, as with many products on the market, you will find widely conflicting claims about different technologies. In this article, we explain some of the main water heating technologies and the savings you can realize with each.
Solar water heaters are easier to install than heat pumps, and the total cost of an average 200 litre system is around R26 000.
In the short term, this is cheaper than a normal heat pump with a 300-litre high-efficiency tank system, which costs around 35 500 rand.
Solar hot water systems can also last more than ten years, while heat pumps usually need to be replaced after five to ten years.
Despite the initial upfront cost, heat pump systems offer significant advantages over solar heating.
Solar panels need to be oriented towards the sun to operate at maximum efficiency, and when the system does not have direct sunlight, such as at night or on cloudy days, the system relies on conventional geyser elements.
Therefore, the efficiency of solar heating systems fluctuates between 45% and 70%. This boils down to an average drop in energy costs of about 54% over a year.
In contrast, a heat pump system is only slightly affected by temperature changes, so it can operate efficiently at any time of day.
Heating the same amount of water requires about one-third the energy of a traditional geyser, saving up to 70 percent on average.
This is a cumulative cost savings of approximately R62,500 for a standard family of four using an average of 52 warm water per person over 10 years.
In comparison, a solar heating system saves around R59 500 under the same conditions.
We recommend installing heat pumps as they are more efficient than electric geysers and save more electricity in the long run than solar water heaters.
If you are in a location that receives less sunlight, that means the solar geyser will use more electricity from the national grid.
Heat pumps are consistent, rely on air, and can reduce water heating costs more than any other system on the market today.