Locally produced solar geysers are on the rise in South Africa, and SABS (South African Bureau of Standards) has taken notice. As our national electricity provider continues to burrow itself into the ground and rise our electricity costs, looking into an alternative option to heat one’s water only makes sense. In this article, we’ll be exploring solar geysers in South Africa.
Solar geysers, compared to their electric counterparts, have favorable effects on both the environment and the owner’s pocket, not to mention the self-sufficient element. While the solar heating panel absorbs the sun’s radiation (as opposed to direct heat), most solar geysers come with an electrical back up that kicks in with stored energy when necessary. With high sunshine rates across the entire country, it’s a no brainer that we start exploring solar geysers in South Africa.
In understanding solar geysers, we must understand the two main types: direct and indirect systems.
The Direct System pumps water to the solar panels, where the sun heats the water, and then transfers it back to the geyser, where it is stored. This system uses either evacuated tubes or solar panels.
These systems typically require more maintenance as the various components are susceptible to corrosion and freezing in extremely cold weather. These work best in frost-free areas.
Indirect Systems however circulate an anti-freeze transfer liquid through the solar panels, which warms the water and through a heat exchange mechanism sends heat back to the water supply in the geyser. These systems use evacuated tubes or solar flat plates.
Due to the non-corrosive, anti-freeze product used, indirect systems typically last longer than the direct systems. While this option may take longer to heat up, they are able to retain heat for much longer than the direct systems.
Other things to consider when exploring solar geysers are the tank size (+- 50L per person in the house, plus 50L for domestic use), solar panels / tubes (150t solar geyser needs one 2m² solar collector panel / 12 evacuated vacuum tubes), whether it will be an internal or external tank, etc.
When you find a client who wants to go ahead with a solar geyser installation, it is important that you have the correct paperwork – for both yourself and the client. You will need a CoC, a compliance certificate that a licenced plumber must submit following the job, certifying that the plumbing work completed complies with all the regulatory installations requirements. A copy is submitted to insurance companies and local authorities if necessary, as well as to the client. You can purchase a CoC here.
While South Africa has a number of reliable options, here are a few criteria to check to ensure the utmost quality and safety:
- South African National Standards (SANS) approved
- Keymark certificate such as SABS, SA Watermark etc
- Carry a five-year warranty
As electricity costs continue to rise, more and more people are looking for a more off-the-grid approach to their electrical needs, exploring solar geysers in South Africa. Tap into the rising solar geyser movement with excellent plumbing service, an educated mind and always ensure that the correct paperwork is handled, on any job for that matter.