How a solar diverter (or hot water timer) can help you save money

How a solar diverter (or hot water timer) can help you save money

When excess energy is sent back to the grid, homeowners usually receive a feed-in tariff, which is a credit for contributing power to the communal electricity supply.

While this may sound beneficial, the rate you receive for feed-in tariffs is often much lower than the retail electricity rate you pay when consuming energy from the grid.

By using a solar diverter (or a hot water timer), you can maximise the use of your generated energy at its full value, significantly increasing your return on investment for the solar installation.

Even if you have a solar battery installed, a solar diverter can be beneficial, reducing charging and discharging cycles and reducing wear and tear – increasing a batteries lifespan and prolonging it’s life.

The Long-Term Choice: Solar Diverter

Imagine a solar diverter as the ‘master strategist’ for your home’s integrated energy system. Seamlessly interfacing with your solar panels and battery, the solar diverter is more than a mere accessory—it’s an indispensable element of your energy management.

A solar diverter continually tracks your household’s energy demands and the output of your solar panels, smartly redirecting any surplus solar energy to high-consumption appliances like your hot water system. By reallocating your surplus energy for immediate in-home use, you essentially replace low feed-in tariff earnings with substantial cost savings on your energy bill, thereby maximising your solar investment.

This strategic rerouting does more than just maximise your in-home energy utilisation; it also mitigates the wear on your battery by reducing unnecessary charge cycles.

The result is a holistic, intelligent energy ecosystem that elevates the efficiency, longevity, and cost-effectiveness of your entire solar installation.

Benefits of a Solar Diverter

A solar diverter is more than just a standalone gadget; it’s a key component in your integrated home energy management system. This clever device harmonises with your solar panels and battery, monitoring real-time energy usage and solar output to smartly redirect excess energy to your hot water system or other high-consumption appliances. In doing so, it offers several key advantages:

  • Maximise Solar Energy Usage: By capturing and reallocating excess solar energy, a solar diverter ensures that almost all the energy you produce is used efficiently within your home.
  • Smart Technology: Solar diverters adapt in real-time to your household’s electricity needs and solar production, providing you with a seamless, intelligent energy management solution.
  • Increase Battery Lifespan: Using the diverted excess solar energy directly reduces the number of cycles your battery undergoes, thereby extending its operational life.
  • Financial Benefits: Though solar diverters come with a higher upfront cost, they often result in substantial long-term savings, making them a savvy investment for those planning to stay in their homes for the long haul.

By integrating so well with your existing solar panel and battery setup, a solar diverter doesn’t just optimise energy use—it also amplifies the returns on your solar investment.

See if adding a solar diverter or hot water timer to your system makes sense

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A Cheaper Option: Hot Water Timers

A hot water timer serves as your hot water system’s ‘alarm clock,’ giving you control over when to heat water without needing to run the system all day. Especially beneficial in sun-rich states like QLD, NSW, and VIC, this clever device can be synchronised with your solar panel’s most productive hours. By doing so, you essentially use free solar energy for water heating, avoiding the cost of grid electricity and significantly reducing your electricity bill.

For instance, in sunny Australian regions like QLD and NSW, solar panels often reach peak productivity between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you set your hot water timer to align with these hours, you could save an estimated $200-$400 per year, depending on your household’s hot water usage.

Hot water timers are cheaper than a full solar diverter and can be more easily installed however they are limited in terms of the number of appliances you can time, how the system adapts to your energy usage and they usually only last 2-3 years before needing replacement. You’ll also have to keep an eye on them as small energy blackouts, daylight savings and other events can reset timers and change your timing schedule potentially leading to some very cold showers.

Overall they can be a great shorter-term solution if you can’t afford a solar diverter to optimise your solar panel and battery production.

Hot Water Timer vs. Solar Diverter: When to Choose Each

Choosing between a hot water timer and a solar diverter comes down to your lifestyle, budget, and solar energy output.

Opt for a Solar Diverter if:

  • You have a large solar system which produces excess energy.
  • You’re willing to invest upfront for more savings later.
  • Your hot water needs change throughout the day.
  • You prefer automated, set-and-forget systems.

Choose a Hot Water Timer if:

  • Your solar system is smaller and doesn’t generate much excess energy.
  • Your hot water usage is consistent.
  • You’re on a tighter budget.
  • You’re content with a basic, manual system that needs replacing and/or adjusting.

In short, a hot water timer suits smaller systems without much excess power and lower budgets to invest in additional equipment, while a solar diverter is ideal for larger systems and businesses seeking maximum efficiency and long-term savings.

How to Purchase and Install

Both devices can be purchased from and installed by qualified residential electricians.

A solar diverter, including purchase and installation, may cost over $1,500.

On the other hand, a hot water timer could set you back just over $300.

See if adding a solar diverter or hot water timer to your system makes sense

Get a quote


Whether you opt for a hot water timer or a solar diverter, both devices offer incredible opportunities to maximise your energy savings and make the most of your solar investment. The choice will ultimately depend on your specific needs and objectives, but either way, you’re taking a powerful step toward greater energy efficiency and savings in sunny Australia. Get in touch with Arkana today to get a free quote and see if adding a solar diverter or hot water timer to your system makes sense.