8 Common Questions About Solar Diverters Answered

By Dynamic Solar PV

Sun lights and Solar PV Panels

Adding solar panels to your property gives you the huge benefit of free electricity. As long as the sun is shining, you’ll have a source of renewable energy available to power your appliances. However, the time of day when your panels are making their biggest output is likely when you aren’t home to use this free electricity. While you can sell this unused electricity back into the National Grid, it is a shame to not use this free electricity for yourself in other ways. That is where battery storage becomes an attractive option. When the house is empty, your solar panels can charge up solar batteries so that you have a supply of stored electricity ready to use when you come home. Stored power can be used at night in place of electricity from your energy supplier – saving you money in the long run. 

Battery storage isn’t the only use for excess electricity. Recently coming into the market, solar diverters give another alternative use for electricity being sent into the grid. Instead, the electricity is diverted to your hot water system, powering an immersion heater in your hot water tank. 

New to the concept of solar diverters? No problem. We’ve answered the most common questions about them. 

What is a solar diverter?

A solar diverter is a small electronic device that connects to your immersion heater or electric heater. It is rigged up to your solar panel system directly so you can power your hot water system with free electricity. This improves the efficiency of your home and reduces your dependency on the National Grid. 

Solar diverters are an additional upfront cost to your system, however they are an affordable option if you are tired of watching your free electricity going to waste. Solar diverters cost an average of £250-£300.

How does a solar diverter work?

When your solar panels are producing more electricity than you need for your other household appliances, the solar diverter detects this surplus. It then diverts it to the immersion heater. In fact, it doesn’t have to be connected to the water heater. You can prioritise any appliance in your home to receive the excess electricity – including an electric vehicle charging station.  

Do solar diverters save money?

Yes! Down the line, you end up saving money on your electricity bills as you are heating your hot water supply using free electricity. The hot water tank will store the energy as heat. This eliminates the need for using the National Grid’s supply to heat up your hot water. Reducing your reliance on your energy supplier cuts back on your spending. What’s more, you will eventually break even on the upfront cost of the diverter within a couple of years. 

How much do solar diverters cost?

Solar diverters aren’t that expensive. You’re looking at an average of £200-400 depending on the make and model that you go for. The cost varies so much because of the features and it’s best to get some advice on which model is best for you before going ahead. We recommend getting in touch with your installation company for their feedback. They may have their own recommendations to fit in with your expectation and budget. You will need to factor in the cost of installation as well as the price of the diverter itself. A qualified electrician with experience of working with solar panels is a must for the task. 

What are the pros and cons of having a solar diverter?

Pros:
Use renewable energy to heat your hot water supply
Reduced dependency on the grid
Save money on your electricity bills
Low maintenance
Increased energy efficiency

Cons:
Additional cost to your solar PV system
Not compatible with every solar PV system or water cylinder
No benefits during the night or on overcast days
Doesn’t store electricity for later use
Only effective if no other appliances are using the electricity supply

How is a solar diverter installed?

Installing a solar diverter doesn’t take too long as it’s fitted to the appliance that receives the excess electricity. It’s not a DIY job, however, as it involves wiring the diverter to your solar energy supply. It’s best to speak to a solar panel installer or a qualified electrician and hire a professional to carry out the work for you. This way, you avoid any issues and the work will be carried out safely. 

Is having a solar diverter better than having battery storage?

While both make use of excess electricity, they aren’t alternatives for each other. You can have a diverter installed and also benefit from battery storage. For a fully efficient solar PV system, you ought to be making use of battery storage so you reduce your reliance on the national grid supply during the hours when your solar panels aren’t producing electricity. Solar diverters only give you a real benefit when the sun is out whereas solar batteries deliver their benefits all around the clock as long as they are charged. 

What puts most people off having solar battery storage is the cost. Solar diverters are much more affordable in comparison, but they don’t promise the same overall benefits as solar batteries.

Does a solar diverter need any maintenance once installed?

Just as with your solar panels themselves, once installed, solar diverters don’t need regular maintenance. They have no moving parts and aren’t exposed to the elements. However, just like any electrical appliance, solar diverters don’t last forever. Over time, they can start to degrade and encounter technical issues. Solar diverters come with a warranty so if there aren’t any issues, replacements are included within the warranty time. 

Interested in having a solar diverter installed?

We’re here to help. At Dynamic Solar, we are always looking for ways to make renewable energy solutions more and more efficient. Solar diverters are an excellent way to make full use of your free electricity supply. 

If you would like to have a solar diverter installed or would like to know more, get in touch on 01202 985325 or drop us a message here