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Installing solar hot water systems

Solar hot water systems use the sun’s energy to heat water. They use ‘solar collectors’ to absorb the sun’s energy to heat water, which is then stored in a tank.

Redland City Council encourages residents to make the switch to green solar hot water. The information below will help residents and contractors in considering options.

Types of solar hot water systems

There are two main types of solar hot water systems:

  • remote – where a water storage tank is positioned on the ground and solar collectors are positioned on the roof
  • close coupled – where both water storage tank and solar collectors are positioned on the roof.

The solar collectors may be flat plate panels or evacuated tube systems (i.e. a collection of glass tubes).

Installing solar hot water systems

As the installation of solar hot water systems is considered regulated plumbing and drainage work, only a licensed plumber with the appropriate endorsement can do the work. Most installations also require a licensed electrician.

Licensed plumbers must also have an endorsement to install solar hot water system, which is issued by the Queensland Government.

Licensed plumbers with an endorsement must lodge a Form 4 with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.

Note: All solar hot water systems must carry the WaterMark Trademark to comply with Australian specifications and standards.

Property limitations

When installing a solar hot water system, consider the following information:

Roof structure

Installing solar collectors on an existing roof can considerably increase loadings. Therefore, some roof systems may need additional frame support.

If your house was built after 2005, you should have been given manufacturer’s recommendations for solar collector positioning.

Council recommends having a qualified builder or consultant inspect all installations to ensure the roof is suitable.

Positioning

When you’re positioning solar collectors, consider the orientation, inclination and shading.

Collectors should be located so that they are clear of shade for not less than 3 hours either side of solar noon at any time during the year. Partial shading by small objects, such as chimneys, flues and TV antennas, is permissible during this period.

Collectors should be installed so that they face no more than 45° east or west of true north.

Inclination

Inclination is concerned with the tilt of the solar collectors. Find more information about inclination on the Australian Government’s Your Home website or the Master Plumbers website.