Sun Bandit® Blog


Solar Hybrid Energy Systems

Redefining Solar Hot Water Efficiency

Efficiency is often considered the gold standard for comparing solar power systems. The term can be applied to the entire solar power system or individual system components, but the most common usage is in reference to the solar modules or collectors. With the use of photovoltaic solar modules rather than traditional solar thermal collectors, Sun Bandit is redefining solar hot water efficiency.

Solar thermal collector efficiency has long been pointed to as the biggest advantage of traditional solar thermal over solar photovoltaic technology. Flat plate solar thermal collectors can collect roughly 80% of the sun’s energy while photovoltaic modules typically convert less than 20% of the sun’s energy to electricity.

However, the key factor for selecting a solar water heating system should be the overall effectiveness of the system rather than the efficiency of the collectors. Although the peak collector efficiency of a traditional flat plate solar thermal collector is higher than a PV module, Sun Bandit’s PV-focused system can provide the targeted hot water demand much more consistently than the traditional solar thermal system.


Ambient temperature and wind speed have a significant impact on the performance of traditional solar thermal collectors. Therefore, during the cooler, windier months, solar collectors have a much lower energy output. Sun Bandit’s photovoltaic panels offer a much more reliable energy output throughout the entire year, ensuring a more consistent and steady production of hot water.

The higher capacity of the solar thermal system during the hot, summer months provides no benefit since the baseline demand is satisfied. This energy production cannot be stored and may lead to an increased risk of overheating.


The Sun Bandit systems require much less maintenance and have far fewer failure points than traditional solar thermal systems. Sun Bandit requires fewer moving parts and exterior sensors, which allows for a more consistent hot water energy source. Conversely, solar thermal systems with damaged pumps, leaks, pressure loss, bad sensors, etc., will likely provide zero output.


Sun Bandit hot water heater installs just like a traditional hot water heater. It requires no fluids, no pumps and no complicated plumbing or architecture. Additionally, photovoltaic modules that power the Sun Bandit system are much lighter and easier to install than traditional solar collectors.

When it comes to comparing the two hot water heating systems, it is important to determine which system can provide the most consistent and reliable supply of solar heated hot water. This consistency in meeting hot water demand is what saves customers money on their bills and reduces peak utility demand.

Rather than depending on the gold standard of peak collector efficiency, start defining solar hot water efficiency by the efficiency of the entire system. When comparing performance, maintenance and installation, it is clear that Sun Bandit’s photovoltaic-based system is more efficient than traditional solar thermal.

For more information, download our “Redefining Solar Efficiency” whitepaper. 

Share this Post:

Comments are closed.



119 gallon 30 gallon anniversary co2 facts firewater solutions green homes hot water hot water heater hot water heaters hot water heating Hybrid Energy Hybrid Energy System IBS independence day installation International Builder's Show LEED natural gas water heater new products Next Generation Energy NGE off-grid installation OG 100 photovoltaic photovoltaic array power outage propane hot water heater resale value snow solar solar efficiency solar energy solar facts solar hot water solar hot water heater solar hot water heating solar hybrid energy systems solar jobs solar rating and certification corporation solar resale value solar tarriffs solar thermal srcc sun bandit sun bandit facts sunbandit water heater zilla 50 gallon 80 gallon accelerate solar anniversary arbor day California Solar Initiative CALSEIA Chinese solar CIA Survivalist cloudy cold cold climates Colorado Million Solar Roofs Consumer CSI customer review Deltec Homes did you know Energy energy efficiency standards energy independence free energy gas water heaters green energy green homebuilders Green Homes Greenbuild Greenbuild International Greenbuild International Conference and Expo Hawaii Energy Home Builder ICC-SRCC ICC-SRCC OG-100 Industry Professionals lease or own NAECA NAHB net metering net-zero homes Next Generation Energy NGE no grid tie off-grid OG-100 OG-300 PACE photovoltaic plant trees pre-heat PV PV Professional pv solar water heating SB SBES snow and solar solar Solar Decathlon solar duties solar efficiency solar energy solar hot water solar hot water heater solar hot water heating solar hot water tanks solar hybrid energy system solar myths solar power international Solar Power World solar system solar thermal spi Sun Bandit Sun Bandit Kit Taiwanese solar Technology trade show trees Utilities water heater