Apricus Solar Hot Water
Installing an Apricus evacuated tube solar hot water system can dramatically reduce your home energy usage. North Coast Power and Water have been supplying Apricus solar hot water systems to Coffs Harbour and surrounding regions since 2009.
We are the local Apricus solar hot water specialists and provide sales, installation training for plumbers, technical support, stock spare parts and can troubleshoot most issues over the phone prior to sending out a tradesman so you know when you invest in solar hot water with NCPW – You’re gaining the best possible support and experience.
Apricus Solar Hot Water Features:
- Superior cold weather performance – when you need it the most!
- 15 Year warranty on roof collectors
- 10 Year warranty on storage tanks
- Lightweight, less than 115kg full of water
- Frost protected without the use of glycol
- Rated for cyclonic wind conditions
Apricus Solar Hot Water Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How strong are the tubes? Tubes will break easy? Glass tube strength?
A. Apricus evacuated tube collectors are made to Australian and International standards. In terms of Hail resistance Apricus evacuated tubes have been independently tested and shown to withstand impact from a 25mm / 1″ ice ball at 90km/hr. If you are in a region with extreme hail (much larger than 25mm / 1″) then the solar collectors should be installed at an angle of 45° or greater, which greatly increases impact strength.
Q. What happens when a tube breaks? Will my system stop after a hail storm? What if someone throws rocks at the tubes?
A. The Apricus evacuated tube design does not circulate water through the evacuated tube – So if a tube is damaged, you will not experience any leaks. In fact, on a 30 tube system, even if you lost 3 x tubes from a branch or similar object falling on the collector, you will only lose 10% of your solar heating capability! The tubes are easily replaced by simply unclipping at the base, sliding the old tube out, and replacing with a new tube. In most cases, the copper heat pipe inside the tube will not need replacing.
Q. Other systems are stronger as they have thicker glass tubes!
A. The glass thickness on Apricus evacuated tubes is 1.8mm, and has passed the hail impact testing to meet Australian standards. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the thickness does not always indicate Strength. More important than thickness, is the material structure and quality of the glass. For example: some suppliers have glass of 1.6mm thickness which is stronger to impact than 2mm glass from another supplier due to better quality glass. So simply saying “this glass is thicker” is not really a valid or useful comparison.
Q. It’s a hot climate – the tubes get too hot here! I’ve been told they overheat?
A. Apricus manifolds are rated to handle extreme temperature and pressure (~180°C). During a period of no load (stagnation) the pressure and temperature relief valve fitted on the storage tank is all that is required.
Q. Emergency!! I don’t have time to think about solar, I need hot water now!
A. Consider installing a solar ready tank – It comes with a 10 year warranty and works just like an electric tank, which allows you to get back into hot water today, with the option of upgrading to solar at a later date, when you’re ready. In fact, if you upgrade to solar within 60 days, you may still qualify for solar rebates (STC & VEEC in Victoria).
Q. My existing tank is still good – Can I just add the tubes to it??
A. You can install what is called a retro-fit kit, with the addition of a 5 way valve. However it could possibly void the existing storage tanks warranty, and you will not qualify for any STC or VEEC incentives. A complete system after incentives might be a better investment for you.
Q. I want an on-roof tank (Thermosiphon system)! I’ve seen tubes with a tank on the roof tank before!
A. We recommend a split system for a range of reasons:
– Weight, our largest collector weights only ~110kg on the roof full of water, vs. half a tonne of an on roof system.
– Temperature control/reduce water wastage – With a split system, the temperature in the tank is controlled via a controller – so once it is up to its max temperature it will not bring any more heat down, in an on-roof system the “max temperature” safety is usually hot water dumping onto the roof.
– Aesthetically, the split systems look much nicer on the roof.
Q. I don’t want a pump or controller on my system!
A. Apricus have been installing evacuated tube systems in Australia for over 10 years. The pump that is used is a high quality pump designed for solar and manufactured by Grundfos. The controller is made in Germany by a company called Resol – who have been manufacturing and supplying controllers throughout Europe and the world for many years. Having a controller can also provide added functionality like real time temperature read outs, data logging, over temperature control and makes troubleshooting and future servicing much faster.
Q. I don’t have a north roof! Can the systems be installed east or west?
A. Ideally, the collector should face as close as possible to north, if a north roof is unavailable, you can point 15° East or west with only ~5% reduction in output. Going due east or west (west is best) will result in approximately ~15% reduction on average over the year – however this may be greater in the winter months. Be sure to check with relevant standards and regulations as to restrictions on collector orientation. If there is no roof available at all – the Apricus collectors have been mounted on the ground, a wall, or even a pole!
Q. How long will the tubes last? Will the vacuum go? Will I need to replace it?
A. Evacuated tubes do not have an industry standard “degradation” value – however it is estimated that the tubes may lose approximately 0.5% output per annum. Apricus tubes are tested to the most stringent of standards, and have a barium coating to absorb any impurities that may occur over time within the tubes vacuum. Apricus heat pipes are manufactured from high purity, oxygen free copper to ensure the longevity of the vacuum. The tubes are covered by a 15 year warranty that they won’t lose their vacuum, and if the vacuum is compromised within the evacuated tubes – they turn white as an indicator.
Q. I’m in a cold region, solar doesn’t work here! Will my tubes freeze in frost?
A. The Apricus system has built-in frost protection, and can handle Australia’s cold and varying climate. In fact the tubes also absorb UV light, and the vacuum prevents energy from escaping to the atmosphere making them work extremely well even in the coldest regions. The frost rating is down to -15°C without the use of frost valves or a chemical/anti freeze solution that other systems require.
Q. Cyclone region – I don’t want anything on the roof that could blow away!”
A. The Apricus systems are rated for cyclonic wind conditions – Apricus solar collectors are certified to be installed in all wind regions of Australia, even directly on the coast in North QLD, NT & WA!
Q. I don’t want to put anything heavy on my roof! How much does it weigh?
A. Weight, our largest single collector weights only ~110kg on the roof full of water, vs. half a tonne of an on roof system.
Q. Isn’t solar hot water expensive?
A.When thinking about the cost, you also need to take into consideration the ongoing/running costs. Going solar may be more expensive up-front, but the running costs will be much less, in fact – the more electricity/gas prices rise in the future, the more you will save!