Gas boosted solar water heaters : Queensland case studies of installation practices in new homes
Miller, Wendy F. & Buys, Laurie (2010) Gas boosted solar water heaters : Queensland case studies of installation practices in new homes. In Solar 2010 : Solar for a Sustainable Future, 1-3 December 2010, Australian National University, Canberra, A.C.T.
Because of the greenhouse gas emissions implications of the market dominating electric hot water systems, governments in Australia have implemented policies and programs to encourage the uptake of solar water heaters (SWHs) in the residential market as part of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. The cost-benefit analysis that usually accompanies all government policy and program design could be simplistically reduced to the ratio of expected greenhouse gas reductions of SWH to the cost of a SWH. The national Register of Solar Water Heaters specifies how many renewable energy certificates (RECs) are allocated to complying SWHs according to their expected performance, and hence greenhouse gas reductions, in different climates. Neither REC allocations nor rebates are tied to actual performance of systems. This paper examines the performance of instantaneous gas-boosted solar water heaters installed in new residences in a housing estate in south-east Queensland in the period 2007 – 2010. The evidence indicates systemic failures in installation practices, resulting in zero solar performance or dramatic underperformance (estimated average 43% solar contribution). The paper will detail the faults identified, and how these faults were eventually diagnosed and corrected. The impacts of these system failures on end-use consumers are discussed before concluding with a brief overview of areas where further research is required in order to more fully understand whole of supply chain implications.
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