Frequently Asked Questions (Q&A)

   What kind of solar systems are Solar Lord systems?

A Solar Lord hot water system is called a ‘split system.’ The Sun’s energy is captured by a stylish, low profile solar collector on your roof and the water is heated up when water flows through the collector and is sent to a well-insulated water tank at ground level by a circulation pump. The system can be boosted, when required, by gas or electricity, or even with the waste heat from your combustion heater. For a large part of the year you will find that you will not need any boosting due to the superior performance of a Solar Lord hot water system.

   Why have Evacuated Glass Tube collectors not been seen around much?

Most solar hot water units in Australia still use an early system called the flat plate panel system to heat water. However, energy is becoming scarcer and there is a need for more advanced technology, to approach higher efficiency and meet the demands for renewable energy. Evacuated tubes have already been used for years in Germany, Canada, China and the UK.  

   Will a Solar Lord hot water system work on a winter's day or cloudy days?

The vacuum between the tubes in our system virtually eliminates heat loss, thus making these collectors particularly useful in areas with cold and cloudy winters; even in areas where the coldest temperature reached is -40ºC.

   Can the solar systems work well when collectors are subjected to shade?

Solar radiation is the fuel of any solar product. All solar hot water systems rely on long term, unobstructed solar radiation to operate correctly. Winter's global irradiation can be less than half of the average solar radiation and a quarter of summer's solar radiation. The cold water fills the storage tank and is much colder than in summer. It is critical to expose the collector to full sun in winter. It is not recommended to have any collector in the shade for more than 1 hour on a winter's day.

   Why do evacuated tube panels work longer hours than flat plate panels?

The cylindrically constructed evacuated glass tubes absorb sunlight perpendicularly from all directions. With flat plate panels, the sun is only perpendicular to the collector around noon each day. Therefore, evacuated glass tube panels will pick up solar energy from sunrise till sunset which achieves both higher temperatures and higher efficiencies than the flat plate collector. 

   In comparison to flat plate panels, how does the evacuated tube collector offer more efficiency?

The key to achieving higher efficiency is to maximize solar heat gain and minimize heat losses. Flat Plate Collectors use an absorber plate with a specially developed coating to maximise the collection of solar energy whilst simultaneously limiting re-radiation of energy back to the atmosphere. The collector is usually covered with a transparent material such as glass and insulated underneath copper tubes and fins to prevent heat loss. Heat is transferred to the water via pipes lying along the plate or through channels within the collector. They tend to be a simpler and cheaper type of panel.
The evacuated space between the two glass tubes maximize the sun’s ray gain and transfers solar energy to heat the water of the inner tube. A vacuum is an excellent insulator to eliminate convective heat loss. Flat plate solar collectors can produce a similar heat output as a evacuated tubular collector, but generally only during warm, still, sunny conditions. When averaged over an entire year, evacuated tube collectors can increase efficiency by 50-90% more than flat-plate collectors.

   How does gas boosting work? Does it turn on when I'm not using hot water?

No. Solar Lord gas instantaneous systems use a gas back up with a 6 star energy rated instantaneous heater, which only works when you need it to. This natural or LP gas heater turns on only when it detects that the water temperature stored has fallen below 60ºC, which may occur when you have used all your solar heated water in your storage tank or during extended periods of low solar radiation.

   What happens if the Evacuated Tubes are damaged in a storm or broken by accident?

The Solar Lord collector tubes are made from extremely clear and strong borosilicate glass which allows solar radiation to get through and is also highly resistant to damage under various weather conditions. However, if a glass tube is broken, the system will still work and there is no leakage except for the part of the efficiency lost from the broken tube. The tube is easily replaceable. The cost of a tube is approximately $50 for our existing customers.

   What is Borosilicate Glass?

Borosilicate glass is a type of heat-resistant glass. It was first developed by German glassmaker Otto Schott in the late 19th century. Borosilicate glass has a very low thermal expansion coefficient, about one-third of ordinary glass. This reduces material stresses caused by temperature gradients, thus making it more resistant to breaking. This makes it a popular material for objects like telescope mirrors. Borosilicate glass begins to soften around 821 °C (1510 °F). The feature of the glass's refractory properties and physical strength of the glass make it ideal for use in laboratories, where it is used to make high-durability glass lab equipment, such as beakers and test tubes. Borosilicate is also a material of choice for evacuated tube solar thermal technology, due to its high strength and heat resistance.

   What is the cost to install a Solar Lord hot water system?

A Solar Lord hot water system is a split system; the collector/s are mounted on the roof while the tank sits on ground. The collectors are lightweight and tubes slide into the manifold. Like traditional Solar hot water systems, any licensed plumber can install the system for you. We supply a comprehensive installation manual and installation DVD for the first installation. An average installation for an existing house takes 6-8 hours and costs approximately $800 - $1500 depending on the house and the plumber’s experience of solar. The cost of installing a collector on the roof of a new house will be approximately $400-$600.

   Will my water be heated on a cloudy day?

Yes. Although the heat output of the solar collector is reduced on overcast days, it will still be able to provide heating. If it is a heavily clouded day or it is raining, then gas or electric backup may be required to maintain water at the required temperature. This system is automatically controlled to provide constant hot water for your family.

   Can I use the Solar Lord solar collector with my existing hot water system?

Yes, the Solar Lord solar collector can be retro-fitted to most existing tanks using our special conversion kits.

   Can the Solar Lord solar collector be mounted on a flat roof?

Yes. Solar Lord Collectors can be mounted on a flat surface at 5+ degrees or by using a frame.

   What maintenance of the Solar Lord Solar collector is required?

Under normal circumstances, no maintenance of the collectors is required other than simple checks specified in the Installation Manual. Regular rainfall and wind helps keep the tubes clean. As other tradition solar hot water systems, the storage tanks anodes require checking every 3-5 years, depending on water quality in your area.

   All the evacuated glass tube collectors look the same. Do they have the same efficiency?

No. The construction inside the tubes makes a lot of difference in terms of efficiency, even though the collectors look the same. Currently there are two types of evacuated glass tube collectors available in Australia: Heat pipe evacuated tube collectors and U tube evacuated tube collectors.
Solar Lord provides the U tube series and the Heat Pipe series as well. Solar Lord has U tube construction plus the special treatments on the absorbing surface which give a solar absorbance of 97%. The U tube test results from the solar energy authorities of Germany show the highest efficiency of 87% can be achieved. Solar Lord U tube collectors have 13-20% more efficiency than heat pipe collectors.

   How much difference in efficiency is there between the U tube and heat pipe?

The copper U Tube collectors can have efficiency of up to 87%, while the heat pipe can have efficiency of approximately 65-76%.

   Does the system still work if one or more of the tubes are broken?

Yes. The rest of the tubes still work as per normal; however the efficiency of the system will be adversely affected. It is recommended that broken tubes be replaced immediately. Generally our tubes are less susceptible to hail damage as we use very strong glass. Replacement tubes are inexpensive, readily available and easy to install, should you need to replace one.

   Does the high efficiency last long?

The data of stagnation tests by laboratories show Solar Lord collectors can keep the best efficiency performance. That means our collectors can work for many years as good as new.

   Does the Solar Lord Hot Water System generate high temperature water?

Yes, our systems can generate higher water temperatures beyond what is comfortable to shower under in peak sun radiation season. In fact, an adjustable temperature valve is now required to be fitted to all hot water systems installed, to comply with government health and safety regulation.

   Closed Loop system or Open Loop system – which one is more suitable for us?

Open Loop systems are suitable for most areas with good water quality and temperatures below -5 degrees. We recommend the Closed Loop system which withstands a wide spectrum of climate and water conditions.

   Where should the collectors be installed for the best collection of solar energy?

Solar Lord collectors can be mounted on flat or sloped roofs. U-tube collectors can be mounted on as little as 5 degrees pitch to function efficiently. The collector should face the north for the best collection and be free from shade for most of the day for optimal efficiency.

   How should we prepare for Solar Lord hot water when we design / build our new house?

A new house should be designed to meet all environment criteria in terms of solar orientation, energy efficiency and waste and water recycling. Discuss this with your architect / plumber for the best preparation prior to your system installation, or contact Solar Lord for more information.

   Our current Hot Water system isn't new; can a solar hot water system be incorporated?

Yes. You can use a Solar Lord Hot Water System to pre-heat the water to your existing system. It is wise however, to replace your entire unit outright if it is over 7 years of age. With fuel bills continuing to rise, it is encouraged to switch to a solar hot water system sooner rather than later.

   Can I use solar panels with my conventional water heater?

It’s possible. Most conventional electric hot water systems can be upgraded to solar by a solar add on kit / retrofit kit.

   Can we get Government rebates for purchasing a Solar Lord Hot Water System?

Yes. All the models of Solar Lord Hot Water Heaters are accredited by ORER (Office of Renewable Energy Regulator). You can claim the rebate in accordance with the model number by yourself; alternatively, we can offer you the price after Government rebates have been subtracted. Rebates differ significantly from State to State and may have rules or tests in place to qualify. Solar Lord can assist you with your eligibility when you contact us for a quote.

   Is a Solar Lord Hot Water System a good investment for me?

Air conditioners and heaters are seasonal expense appliances; while hot water is a constant daily expense to the family home. Saving can be huge when you connect an evacuated tube solar hot water system to your home. Fuel bills will be drastically reduced as you are taking free energy from the environment as an alternative for high cost Gas and Electricity. In Australia, the full cost to purchase a Solar Lord Hot Water System can be recovered in as little as 4 years. Solar Lord collectors can provide reliable performance for up to 15 years or more.

The following table gives estimated saving figures based on average family hot water usage.

Conventional Heater

Solar System

Invested on Solar

Save by Solar (year)

Years of pay back

$1000 (Electric)

$2300 - $3500 (Electric booster)

$1300 - $2500

$410 - $500/Year

3 - 6 Years

$1800 (5 Star Gas)

$2800 - $4800
(Gas booster)

$1000 - $3000

$300 - $450/Year

3 - 7 Years

With such significant savings available to your household expenses, now is definitely the time to make the step towards a Solar Lord Hot Water System.

   Can a Solar Lord Hot Water System be use for large-scale hot water production?

Solar Lord Hot Water Systems are ideal for both domestic and commercial applications, providing excellent solar heating water for hydronic floor heating, swimming pools, hotels / motels, dairies and laundries. They can be used with confidence wherever you need hot water.