Before you start shopping we recommend doing a thorough assessment of what you need.
A good place to start is to check whether you'll require a new tank. If the one you have is in good condition and relatively modern, it should be able to support a retrofit kit. Don't worry if you don't know, an inspection will be done before going ahead with the installation.
What Is A Retrofit
Conversion Kits/Retrofit Pumped Solar Geyser Kits
For those who already have an existing good electric geyser read on.
Solar Geyser Conversion kits are a pumped system which requires a pump to push the hot water down into the storage tank below.
It is a cost-effective method that can be converted into a thermosiphon at a later stage, and simply save the cost of needing the new tank and wastefully disregarding your perfectly fine electric geyser.
Can convert to Evacuated tubes later
Requires a pump, extra moving part
Less reliable compared to a Thermosiphon
Retrofit Solar Geyser Prices
These are a popular choice because you can use your current electric geyser, converting your electric geyser makes it cheaper.
The water from the geyser is pumped through to the collector (or tubes) which then gets heated by the sun and stored back into the geyser tank, this will circulate until heated to the right temperature.
Retrofit conversions are available in these variations:
Flat-plate Retrofit Kits
Flat-plate Retrofit Solar Geyser
Price: From R 7,000 to R 18,500
They require a direct north facing roof to ensure optimum efficiency.
Flat-plates look aesthetically better on your roof
Low-Pressure Solar Geysers are used mainly for rural areas and premises where there is no grid water.
How Does it work?
Because these units are gravity fed, the mixing of the hot and cold water from grid water often results in lukewarm water, however, such a system is sufficient in many required applications.
Recommended for farms and RDP low-cost housing application, but can work in normal municipal grid water feed with a reduction valve or auxiliary tank. Although most attractive because of pricing, water pressure must be considered for pleasurable purposes.
Closed coupled High-Pressure Solar Geysers have the tubes that integrate directly into the geyser tank.
These units require elevation on a roof regardless of there being a flat or pitched roof. Very effective solar geysers.
These units are popular due to pricing, however, they are definitely less durable than the split system due to precision application avoided for simplicity. Great for short-term application, not advised for long-term application above 10 years.
These systems are your best of the best in terms of performance.
They have a cavity on the geysers for which a glycol mix is inserted to avoid temperature loss in extreme freezing conditions. They can be used in any condition and outperform all other types of systems due to the focus on insulating the collection tank.
Although expensive, they do offer the highest ROI over longer periods of time. Get this one and you will not have to think about savings and water heating again.
If you compare the different solar geyser options and their prices it is worth noting that you get what you pay for.
Don't settle for the cheapest and easiest option, get the most out of your investment.
For the most part, you should make your money back after 2 years, working out your usage is an important factor. If you purchase a system that is too big it will take longer to pay off with no real benefit other than having more hot water to spare.
Too small and you will get frustrated with the lack of hot water available to use.
As a basic rule of thumb is if you are a family of 3 or more you will save the most money.