DIVERT YOUR EXCESS SOLAR TO YOUR HOT WATER SYSTEM
For home owners with solar panels on the roof, generating your own electricity from the sun should have significantly lowered your power bills. And with government rebates continuing for a few years yet, many more people are jumping on the solar panel band-wagon to reduce their electricity costs to near-zero.
However if you have an electric hot water system, you are still likely to be purchasing back your electricity at peak or off-peak prices. (Check your bill for your hot water metered usage.) A typical hot water system contributes around 30% of the home electricity bill, even if the heating is done off-peak.
But now you don’t need to pay on your power company to heat your hot water – this new device has been trialed for several years in New Zealand and is now available for the Australian marketplace: the Paladin Solar Controller / Diverter.
Paladin Solar Controller on ABC News TC
Please watch a brief TV Segment from Australia’s ABC, talking about how the product works in a domestic residence.
How Does the Paladin Solar Controller / Diverter Work ?
You must have solar panels installed, and be generating enough solar energy to send back to the power grid for the Paladin to work. In most instances, at least 10 solar panels are required (that is, about 2.5 kW electrical solar generation). It takes 3.1kWh to heat a 180 litre tank by 15 degrees, so depending where the water heating starts from in temperature wise, 6-8kWh of solar generation are required.
The Paladin Solar Controller / Diverter intercepts the electrical path between your power meter box and the grid, typically first thing in the morning. Instead of sending the energy back (for instance at a rate of 8 cents per kWh) it is used to heat your hot water system instead; after it reaches the desired temperature it stops heating and the rest is sent back to the grid.
A thermal probe is installed as part of the kit that measures the temperature of your hot water system, which provides feedback to the Paladin unit. This gives the Paladin the required information either to heat, or stop heating; with a sampling rate of 3,600 times per second!
A Personal Experience of the Paladin Solar Controller
I’ve had one personally installed, please see the photographs for a close up and personal check on the performance. Date was July / August when the installation was completed, and you can see from my power consumption / export screen (which comes from my Solax Inverter, not the Paladin) that I’ve been using between 5 and 8 kWh of electricity to heat my hot water system, rather than sending it back to the grid.
Now do the math: at 8 cents per kWh, worst case scenario is 64 cents to heat my hot water system each day. But perhaps you have a lot of people under the one roof and need to heat a much larger system – say 8 or 10 kWh usage. In those cases, you will need a larger solar array to generate the required electricity, but even using 10 kWh charged at 8 cents/kWh, your average daily cost to heat water would be 80 cents. If you’re on an off-peak tariff, that’s equivalent to around $2.50 / day; or if you’re using gas (instant or storage hot water) then the costs nowadays are similar. The savings are even greater for larger families usage.
As a proven technology, the Paladin Solar Controller / Diverter enables you to stop wasting your solar energy and use it at the times when you need it most – enabling you to heat water during the day without relying on the grid.
Further use cases under development are to use the Paladin for under-floor heating, charging electric vehicles, and others (top secret, can’t tell you here…)
Technical Specifications of the Paladin Solar Controller / Diverter
Diversion Current | 20 Amps
Rated AC Voltage | 230 VAC
Frequency AC | 50/60 Hz
Max Continuous Power | 4.0 kW
Power Source | Single Phase
Weight | 920 Grams (2.12lbs)
Probe Cable | 3 Meters
Display | 4-Line Backlight
Enclosure (cm) | 20 x 12 x 12
Enclosure IP Rating | None
Warranty | 3 Years
Temp Range | 0-50C
Humidity | 95%
Pollution Class | 2
Protection | Resettable Fuse
Cooling | External Heatsink
Q&A About the Paladin Solar Controller:
Q1: Can I use the Paladin with my solar batteries ?
A1: Yes! The Paladin is fully compatible with solar panels that are charging batteries.
Q2: Can I charge my hot water system manually, rather than rely on the sun ? What if my hot water runs out ?
A2: Yes! A 3 way switch will be installed by your electrician that will enable your Paladin to be switched to mains power, which will heat your hot water system up until it reaches your desired temperature. Remember to switch it to Auto once it’s charged up, so that it can utilise the sun’s energy rather than your power grid.
Q3: If I go away on holidays, can I stop heating my hot water and send the excess energy back to the grid ?
A3: Yes! Your electrician will install a 3 way switch to enable you to Switch Off the diversion to the hot water system, or set it to Auto to enable normal usage of the Paladin to heat your hot water, or to set it to On so that you can charge up your hot water system instantly from the grid (which is good if you are coming back from holidays and want a hot shower in around 40 minutes time)
Q4: What is the cost of installation of the Paladin ?
A4: An average installation is typically around $300-$400 by a qualified electrician, including parts, and takes around 2-3 hours. A plumber is not required.
Q5: Is there a Warranty for the Paladin ?
A5: Yes! The Paladin is covered by a 3 year manufacturers warranty.