As energy prices continue to rise in Australia, Barossa Valley retirees Richard and Joan Green are setting the standard for solar savings, paying less than $10 for a year’s worth of hot water, writes Greg King-Evans.

The couple resides in Nuriootpa, South Australia, and are participants in the SA Smart Network Project, an initiative by Rheem Australia – under its Solahart brand – that has received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the South Australian Government.

The project is giving South Australian homeowners the opportunity to install a Solahart PowerStore solar-smart water heater and become part of a connected network of smart products intelligently managed to maximise the use of renewable energy, improve grid stability, and save energy costs while delivering continuous hot water.

Richard and Joan installed rooftop solar panels four years ago, but when their gas water heater failed they switched to Solahart PowerStore and joined the SA Smart Network in early 2022.

In the nine months since, they have enjoyed big savings, generating 95 per cent of their hot water through their solar system, costing just $4.31 to heat their household water so far.

“After seeing our power bills go up year after year, I’m thrilled we’ve made the move to solar PV and Solahart PowerStore,” says Richard.

“We’ve already seen huge reductions on our power bills and are looking forward to seeing savings for years to come.”

Solahart PowerStore helps homeowners store energy without needing a battery. It works in conjunction with a solar panel system to capture excess solar energy and convert it into hot water.

Barossa Valley resident Richard Green with his Solahart PowerStore system that has slashed his hot water bill. His wife, Joan, is pictured with the same system in the top image. Photos: Supplied.

The system monitors electricity usage during the day and delivers excess solar power not being used by household appliances towards the water heater, as opposed to feeding it back into the grid.

Through the Solahart AtHome app, users can control their energy use to further reduce energy bills by storing excess solar, controlling home appliance energy usage, and shifting power use away from expensive peak times.

“The Solahart AtHome app is a great tool that allows me to see how much money we’re saving, how much power certain household appliances use, and it even shows us when we’re generating the most solar,” says Richard.

“This means we run certain appliances – such as the dryer and washing machine – when we’re producing the most solar, and we end up paying significantly less for the power used.”

Residents participating in the SA Smart Network also receive an upfront rebate from Solahart, with 200 households pocketing $1430 if they add a Solahart PowerStore to their existing rooftop PV system.

For South Australians who don’t have existing rooftop solar panels, another 200 households are eligible for a $2750 upfront rebate to replace an existing hot water system with a Solahart PowerStore.