Solar iBoost – Free Hot water from your PV / Solar Array - Immersion controller
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- A solar Immersion controller that is simple to install.
- Wireless sensor clamp - Ensuring only surplus energy is used
- Use your existing immersion heater and hot water tank
- Increase your return on investment
- Built in hot water timer with added Boost function
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Solar iBoost - Free Hot water from your PV Array.
Uses your PV array to give you FREE hot water!
The Solar iBoost uses the surplus solar PV energy generated at your home to heat the hot water in your household water tank and save you money.
You will benefit from:
• Solar iBoost slashes the cost of heating your water
• Solar iBoost is fully automatic with a manual override control
• Solar iBoost is an intelligent proportional controller - not simply an ON/OFF switch
• Solar iBoost connects wirelessly to your existing immersion heater and heats your hot water for FREE using the surplus energy that you would normally export to the grid
• Reduced use of your boiler
• Solar iBoost Solar Photovoltaic Water Heater pays for itself in about 3 years or less, and with oil fired heating has a payback below 2 years.
• Solar iBoost is a remote switch that uses a wireless connection so there is no additional wiring required.
• 2 year manufacturers guarantee
Here's how a typical household will see the benefit of Solar iBoost:
In a household with a PV array generating a 2kW surplus, just 2.5 hours is needed to raise a 100ltr tank temperature from 20 ˚C to 60˚C giving a saving of approximately £0.50 per day based on average energy prices. (Feb 2013).
Fit a Solar iBoost and watch your heating bills fall!
*Installation by qualified / competent persons required.*
Please contact us for information on the installation services we can offer.
Top customer reviews
Simple to install and silent at its work. Can see the power of the immersion varying constantly by the second when there is an excess. We have no concerns that it could be causing electrical power to be imported if it were too slow to react to a new load being started up or the solar output dropping suddenly due to a cloud etc.
As further background, the best day in the last year for our iBoost was 6.8kWh. (Must have been a lot of showering, plus the hot-fill dishwasher and washing machine, either that day or the previous evening.) Conversely, the iBoost captured and used less than 1kWh on 76 days of the last year. Although we have gas for central heating, we normally used only electricity (PV or Economy 7) for water heating (see later). Over the summer of 2014 (from 20th April), we had relied on solar via the iBoost for water heating, plus a very occasional manual boosting on very cloudy days (there’s a button for a timed boost in 15 min steps up to 2 hours). We then used the programmer feature for Economy 7 by night in addition to daytime solar PV harvesting, from 7th Sept onwards (until early April).
Others might do better than us – that’s because:
- I think we are light users of hot water – just two of us, and we shower rather than bathe. Over the summer, the system usually fully heated the tank well before the available power had dropped off. So we normally don’t need (and can’t use) the available power in the good months.
- our hot water tank is well-insulated, so the need to top up to compensate for standing heat loss is reduced.
- our immersion heater is only 1kW loading. However, to have been better off with a more usual 3kW immersion heater, there would have needed to be times when our 1kW unit could not capture enough usable generation for water heating during the day, despite there being periods of good sunshine. When only 1kW or less of surplus generation is available, a 3kW unit is no better than a 1kW unit. Given the way the iBoost works, a 3kW immersion heater would be better only when there is more than 1.2 kW of generation that can be used for water heating at that moment.
- we might have been able to make more use of solar power in winter months if we were not using grid power routinely on a timed basis overnight, which meant we were starting the day with a hot tank.
Conversely, you might not do as well as us if your PV system is smaller, and/or your typical normal daytime household use of electricity is higher, so there is less surplus for the iBoost to harvest. You would also not do so well as us if your need for hot water is less than ours.
What is the value of fuel savings? That depends on the type and cost of the fuel (not) used, and the efficiency of the system using it. We currently use Economy 7 for water heating top-up, and have recently replaced our old gas boiler with a new condensing type.
Our tariff is currently 3.355p per kWh for gas, 12.622p per kWh for daytime electricity and 5.731p for Economy 7 night rate electricity. LPG and Oil? I don’t know.
Electricity can be taken as 100% efficient in the tank.
A modern condensing boiler is claimed to run at 90+% efficiency for the boiler itself, but a test of gas used for a given rise of water temperature I ran for the purpose of this review on our new19kW Viessmann boiler (which is right next to the hot water tank) indicated a total water heating efficiency (from the gas pipe to the hot tap) of 54%.
Based on that, I’d therefore guess at 37% efficiency for an older non-condensing boiler. That indicates 6.2p per kWh for water heating by a gas condensing boiler and 9.1p per kWh with an older gas boiler (and that doesn’t include the electricity for running the pump).
So the annual saving for us as fuel purchase avoided would be:
Gas – condensing boiler - £48.02 p.a.
Gas – old boiler - £70.09 p.a.
Electricity – Economy 7 - £44.30 p.a.
Electricity – Full rate - £97.56 p.a.
Therefore, the payback based on £350 for a professionally fitted iBoost and then harvesting 773 kWh a year through it, at our current fuel prices, would be:
Gas – condensing boiler - 7 years 3 months
Gas – old boiler - 5 years 0 months
Electricity – Economy 7 - 7 years 10 months
Electricity – Full rate -3 years 7 months
As I already said, your circumstances might result in a faster payback –or a slower one. Increasing fuel prices would improve the payback. You could partly duplicate the effect of the iBoost by flicking on the immersion heater when the sun is shining (which is why I originally swapped to a 1kW immersion heater long before I came across the iBoost, as a 3kW immersion heater would always also be drawing peak-cost grid power even on the sunniest day if your inverter is 3kW or less – so for anyone with the usual 3kW immersion heater there would be little to be gained from such nerdish behaviour. FYI, the 1kW 27" immersion heater came from Backer).
My tests tend to confirm my previous belief that Economy 7 is much better than an old-fashioned gas boiler for water heating. It appears that that Economy 7 and a gas condensing boiler are broadly comparable in running cost for water heating, but that’s before you allow for the pump running cost with gas, and the fact that a failed immersion heater or its thermostat are cheap to replace, whereas a boiler isn’t cheap to repair or replace (if boiler reliability and life expectancy are related to hours of use).
I am satisfied with our results with the iBoost as a return on investment compared with savings accounts, even when measured against a condensing boiler, and it’s psychologically very pleasing. The payback period for us will be more than the payback period for the solar panels themselves, but we got in at the original FIT rates. I believe that the latest FITs, allowing for the drop in the cost buying a system, have a pay-back period of around 10 years, possibly less for a well-positioned system.
So, if installing solar panels is good value now, installing a Solar iBoost is better value.
Self installed, simples, couple of metres of extra cable from DIY store and you're away.
Worried about wireless connection reaching airing cupboard from outside meter. 2 double external walls (a double garage), 2 internal walls and a floor change and it works fine. Yet to see how long the batteries last.
Only been installed for the last week. Seems to work, stops supplying when meter goes forward, when meter stops it starts supplying and the water gets hot. Dullish day enough hot water for washing up, sunny day enough for a bath. We're pleased so far but early days.
Delivery was prompt (couple of days), could arrange day of delivery on website. Came well packed and undamaged.
The main unit is
21 cm x 13 cm x 6cm
With a smaller sender unit.
Its simple to fit by a competent person. Just one wire in from the mains and another wire out to your immersion element. The sender simple clips onto the meter tail cable.
We have been using the original batteries for 6 months with no issues.
It simply detects any exported electricity and transmits to the iBoost to start taking power. There is a margin of error or 200 watts to stop any inadvertent using paid for electricity to heat your immersion. I’ve seen as little as 40 Watts and as many as 3.1Kw from a 3.9kW solar array. Using the display button you can cycle through back lit blue LCD readout of last day, 7 days, 28 days, lifetime etc.
There is a boost button if you need to use the mains to heat your hot water if you boiler fails.
We have a 3kW immersion heater in a 200 litre Megaflow tank.
It is fast and responds in seconds to changing power demand and generation changes.
Overall it is impressive and should pay for itself in under 2 years.
In theory you could use it in an electric convector heater to heat a room. I'm not recommending this just relaying what I read elsewhere.
I’ve uploaded some photographs so do have a look.
Most recent customer reviews
Unit diverts Electric to emersion heater which during summer gave a tank of hot water every day