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What’s a Solar Diverter?

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Solar diverters are one of the most efficient ways to save energy and thus money. They can help you harness the free energy of the sun and use it to cut back on the electricity costs of your home or business. The real magic of solar diverters is that they can power your appliances and even heat your hot water.

Let’s take a closer look at solar diverters, what they are, how they work, pros and cons, cost factors and more. Keep reading to see if a solar diverter is right for you or skip ahead to the bits you’re interested in by clicking on the links below. 


What’s a solar diverter?

Solar diverters are a useful tool for taking advantage of solar energy, allowing the sun’s rays to heat water or provide power in a home. They act as a switch between solar panels and hot water systems, helping capture solar power and store it for later use. Solar diverters are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons, particularly because they can be an effective way to lower electricity bills. 

The other benefits of solar diverters include being easy to install and maintain, having minimal upkeep and repair costs and providing clean renewable energy that can help reduce a household’s carbon footprint.

Can solar diverters heat hot water?

Yes, one of the main reasons why homeowners install a solar diverter is to do exactly that – divert electricity from their solar panels that would have otherwise been fed back into the grid for a rebate. And with solar feed-in tariffs declining in recent years, solar diverters can be a cost-effective way to save on utility bills.

Not only are these intuitive little devices an efficient way to heat hot water, but they are generally fairly affordable, making them ideal for any home looking to cut costs while still living comfortably.

How does a hot water diverter work?man washing hair

The way a solar diverter works is pretty straightforward. When sunlight hits your photovoltaic (PV) panels, electricity is generated that can either be used in your home or sent back to the grid, usually for a small rebate on your bill, known as a feed-in tariff. With a solar diverter installed, any excess electricity will be diverted away from the grid and into an immersion heater in your hot water cylinder instead. 

This heated water then circulates throughout your home and can be used for washing dishes or taking showers – all powered by free energy from the sun. When there isn’t enough sunlight for your PV panels to generate enough electricity for both powering appliances in your house and heating up hot water, no problem! The solar diverter will detect this lack of energy production and switch off automatically so that it doesn’t draw power from elsewhere.

Pros and cons of solar PV diverters

The main advantage of using a solar hot water diverter is that it can help you reduce energy costs by taking advantage of excess power that would otherwise be sent back to the grid. Additionally, these devices are relatively easy to install and usually don’t require much maintenance. Finally, they can provide reliable hot water heating for your home all year round without needing additional grid electricity.

On the flipside, a solar diverter can be another expense to your solar system and certain diverter models may not be available through all installers. They can also add another layer of complexity with your overall solar system setup. To recap, check out the main advantages and disadvantages of solar PV diverters below.  

Pros Cons
  • Save on electricity costs used to heat water
  • Requires professional installation at an additional cost
  • Rely less on grid electricity
  • Limited storage capacity due to their smaller size
  • Devices have a very small carbon footprint  
  • Market in Australia is still developing, meaning fewer models to choose from

Solar diverter prices

Solar diverter prices range from anywhere between $800 to $1,500, depending on the model and installation fees. This makes purchasing a solar diverter quite pricey but these devices typically come with a payback period of roughly three to four years, meaning they must be considered as a long-term investment.

That said, the actual payback period for a solar diverter will vary between models, how much unwanted energy they’re diverting to heat hot water and the upfront costs charged by your local solar installer. That’s why it’s best to contact a few companies for quotes before settling on the first price you see.

Are solar diverters a good investment?

If you’re looking for an efficient way of utilising both solar hot water and electricity generated by panels on the same roof, investing in a solar PV diverter might be right for you. While they do come with some downsides – such as added complexity and potentially higher upfront costs – the long-term savings can make them worth looking into further. 

If you think this type of renewable energy could be beneficial for your home or business, it may be sensible to talk to an experienced solar installer about your options.

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Image credit: Madridav/, Roy Pedersen/

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