What do electric hot water systems and storage batteries have in common?
The answer is they both take electricity and store it so it can be consumed later. No the hot water system doesn’t give you electricity back, it transfers the electricity into the water in the form of heat for later use.
With the rate electricity companies pay you for surplus solar power being very low it just doesn’t make sense to send your surplus solar power back to the grid. What you want to do is store surplus solar power so you can draw on it later when you need it, but the problem is batteries are still very expensive.
Solar power battery storage systems such as the Tesla PowerWall are designed to monitor both your power consumption and solar production, and when the system sees surplus solar power it directs that to the battery so you can then draw from it later. What if you could store this surplus solar power in a storage tank you probably already have – an electric hot water cylinder?
Store surplus solar power in your hot water system
Your hot water system is not a battery however it can be setup with a device called “Solar Immersion” to take your surplus solar power and store it in the form of hot water for you to use later as required. This is the same principle that solar power battery storage systems such as the Tesla PowerWall use however it’s available at a fraction of the cost of a solar power battery storage system.
This “Solar Immersion” system achieves the same thing as a solar power battery storage system in maximising your solar power self consumption. No it doesn’t give you power to use after dark and it won’t give you power for your fridge in a black out but it will effectively store surplus solar power in a form that can be used after dark, and at a much lower price point compared to any battery storage system it makes a whole lot of sense until batteries become more affordable.