Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters

Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters - what are the similarities and differences, advantages or disadvantages?

Comparing Heat Pumps to Solar Hot Water

Heat pumps have similarities to traditional solar hot water systems (which use panels or evacuated tubes), but also some major advantages. 

Both heat pumps and solar hot water systems use heat from the sun

Either directly or indirectly. A traditional solar hot water system relies on direct sunlight to heat the water circulating in the panels or tubes that is then stored in an insulated tank.

A hot water heat pump system uses the energy from the sun indirectly – the sun heats the air both directly and indirectly (e.g. the sun heats the roadway and the air above the street also gets heated) - and the heat pump extracts the heat from the air and transfers that heat to the water in the tank.

heat pumps versus solar hot water heaters

Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters - Climate Zones

The map above shows the percentage of your annual hot water needs met by a solar collector hot water system.

Even in Darwin, 5-10% of the year a solar hot water system will need a backup boosting source. In Brisbane, 20-25% of your hot water needs could be supplied by solar before boosting being required, whereas in Sydney and Adelaide around 30-35%. Less solar friendly areas such as Melbourne or Hobart it's in the 40-50% range.

Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters - Working Hours

As heat pumps use the abundant heat in the air, they do not require direct sunlight to work like traditional solar hot water systems. 

This means that your hot water needs are met every day of the year as it works both day and night, sunshine or rain - never any electric or gas boosting required on cloudy days. 

Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters - Less Pipework

You can locate the heat pump hot water tank close by the rooms where you use the most hot water -kitchens, laundries or bathrooms - thereby reducing the extra piping costs of having to connect to the roof mounted solar hot water system which has to be positioned to collect the most sun - and that may be on the opposite side of the house.

Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters - No Weight on Roof

Conventional solar hot water systems need roof mounting and sometimes strengthening to support up to an extra 800 kg of weight on the roof.  

Heat Pumps v Solar Water Heaters - Unsuitable Roof Orientation, Slope or Shading Issues

Solar hot water systems requiring direct sunlight are not always practical. There are many problems: lack of north facing roof space sufficient for mounting the solar collectors; surrounding trees or other obstructions shading the solar collectors; not the right pitch angle (slope) to your roof.

These factors just make the installation of traditional solar hot water systems unworkable sometimes, whereas heat pumps require just a small flat area at ground level with free airflow.

Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters - Appearance

Some people think the solar collectors on the roof look ugly and might diminish the value of your home, some others think they add value to the home because of the reduced electricity bills. Your choice.

Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters - Cleaning & Maintenance

Having to regularly get up on the roof to clean away leaves and bird droppings off the solar collectors, or to replace broken tubes or panels courtesy of rock-throwing vandals / hail stones makes some people worry about the after purchase costs of a solar hot water system.

Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters - Installation Costs

Roof mounting and/or strengthening, plus the additional costs of lengthy insulated piping runs can add significantly to the installation costs of solar panel systems. A heat pump can be wheeled in and installed in an hour or less in most cases.

Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters - Life of System Cost

When you factor in the higher purchase price of roof mounted systems, higher installation costs, the fact that they will require electric or gas boosting during the year, the maintenance costs, higher possibility for breakage and the possibility they might look ugly on your home - in other words the total costs over the life of the system, say 15 years - thousands of homeowners are using their common sense and installing heat pumps.

Disadvantages of Heat Pump Hot Water Systems

A low level of noise

Unlike a solar hot water system, a heat pump uses a fan and a compressor, just like an air conditioner, so they have a low level of noise, about the same as an air conditioner. It is recommended that they not be placed adjacent to bedrooms or those of next door neighbours if they are close by.

Some models are specifically designed to operate at very low noise levels, so if noise is a potential issue, please advise your Veraahdy consultant.

Require powering to operate

During a blackout a heat pump will not be replenishing hot water to the storage tank. Whatever hot water contained in the insulated tank will be available for use, however the water re-heating process will commence when the electricity to your house is restored.

If you live in an area with frequent black-outs please advise us as we do have an option which will eliminate this problem.

Some models unsuitable for cold climates

Some heat pump models are slower to reheat in cold climates or on frosty days. Heat pumps work best in warm humid areas. If you live in a colder climate zone, mention this to your Veraahdy specialist, as there are specific models which operate just as well in colder climates as in warmer ones.

These models have the same number of STC's for Zone 5 climates as they do for Zone 4 - as determined by the Clean Energy Regulator - which means you receive the maximum point of sale discount on these models whereas a lesser performing model would have a lower number of STC's and hence a smaller discount would apply.

Hot water replenishment rates

Incorrect model selection for your household needs and climate zone can lead to the irritation of running out of hot water when you need it. It's important to purchase the right heat pump for your family or commercial needs.

We are dedicated to ensure the highest quality products with a strong focus on technical innovation, energy efficiency, worry free operation and product reliability.

We'd like to hear from you - call us today on 1800 420 600 or call us now for free - just click below now.

Quick Contact Form

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.


To Veraahdy Heat Pumps Home from Heat Pumps versus Solar Water Heaters

Residential and Commercial Sales

1800 420 600

or E-mail us at:


Quick Contact Form

Please note that all fields followed by an asterisk must be filled in.

Please enter the word that you see below.