What is a worker co-operative?

A worker co-operative is a business that is owned and run by its workers. At Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative, the workers are the owners of the business. We make decisions through a participatory democratic process, ensuring all members have a say in the workplace and benefits go back into our communities.

What is a solar hot water system?

A solar hot water system uses the sun to heat your hot water – reducing your energy costs and pollution.
We supply 2 main types of solar hot water systems:

  • Evacuated Tubes – an array of glass tubes on your roof which use sunlight to efficiently heat your hot water, with gas or electric boosting as required.
  • Heat Pumps – a highly efficient electric unit, like a reverse cylce airconditioner, that uses ambient solar heat in the air to heat your hot water. These can be coupled with solar PV for 100% solar-powered-hot-water.

Both of these systems store hot water in our premium quality ‘Everlast Series’ stainless steel hot water storage tanks – ensuring your water is kept hot for when you need it.

How are you solar tanks different from other tanks available?

Our premium Australian-made solar hot water tanks are made with 316 marine grade stainless steel. This means they are highly corrosion resistent, long lasting and don’t require a ‘sacrifical anode’ like cheaper glass lined tanks do.

Our tanks are the only tanks on the market which use a patented Australian-designed polymer outer casing which is durable, sleek, rust-free and makes our tanks easy to transport while providing outstanding heat retention. Our current combination of polymer outer casing and polurethane insulation means our tanks have incredibly high heat-loss performance – making your solar hot water system more efficient.

With a 15 year warranty, our tanks are a top choice for those wanting a quality hot water service.

If you are considering cheaper options, make sure you check whether the tank is a stainless steel or (inferior) glass-lined tank, and check what warranties are available. 

How much energy will a solar hot water system save me?

Solar hot water offers enormous potential to reduce your energy consumption and/or help you eliminate your dependence on gas. In many situations, solar hot water is a more cost effetive option that solar PV panels. Savings will depend on your location, water usage, and type of system you install.

On average, electric hot water systems account for about 30% of total household energy usage. Installing a solar hot water system can save you up to 80% of the energy used by your existing electric hot water system.

What is included in your hot water systems?

An Earthworker Energy solar hot water system includes:

  • Our Australian-made ‘Everlast Series’ stainless steel hot water storage tank
  • A solar heating component (either rooftop evacuated tube array or a heat pump)
  • A ValveCosy to insulate the PTR Valve on your storage tank, maximising the efficiency of your system.

These systems are eligible for State and Federal Government rebates (including STCs and VEECs) – reducing the price of your system!

We can assist with delivery and installation, and help you put together a full solar and solar hot water package.

Where and how are your hot water tanks made?

Our hot water tanks are manufactured in Morwell in Victoria at our worker-run cooperative factory.

What is a heat pump?

Heat pumps are an increasingly popular, ultra-efficient water heating choice. They are medium-sized electric applicances which sit next to, or near to, your hot water storage tank. Using similar technology as is found in a household fridge (but in reverse), heat pumps draw in heat from the air around the unit to heat your hot water. This means heat pumps don’t require direct sunlight to operate.

Our heat pumps can be used with our tanks as standalone hot water systems, can be added to evacuated tube solar hot water systems as a ‘booster’, or can be coupled with solar PV panels to create a virtual battery – using solar to heat your hot water when the sun is shining, and storing that energy as hot water in our premium storage tank to be used when you need it.

What are evacuated tubes ?

Evacuated tube solar hot water systems use solar thermal technology to heat your hot water. An array of vacuum-sealed glass tubes (ideally on your roof or somewhere else with ample sunlight) trap sunlight to heat your hot water, which is stored in our premium storage tanks until you need it.

Our evacuated tube systems can come with either gas or electric boosting to ensure you have hot water, even in winter or during periods of poor sunlight.

Help! I don't have time to consider solar, I just need to replace my broken hot water system!

Our ‘Solar Ready’ stainless steel tanks can be installed immediately as a standalone electric hot water system, and upgraded to a solar hot water system later by adding a heat pump or evacuated tubes. If you upgrade to solar within 60 days, you may still qualify for solar rebates (STCs & VEECs in Victoria).

Are there rebates available for your products?

Yes, our solar hot water products are eligible for Federal Government STC rebates, and depending on your location and the system you’re replacing, also for some state government rebates (eg. VEECs in Victoria).

Do you arrange for installation?

We can help you arrange installation of your solar hot water system via a local installer. Installation of our systems can be easily arranged by a plumber in most contexts.

What areas do you cover and what delivery options do you provide?

Our premium quality stainless steel solar hot water tanks come with a 15 year warranty, and don’t require the ongoing replacement of sacrificial anodes like glass-lined tanks do.

Contact us to check the warranties available for the heat pumps and evacuated tube systems we supply.

If you use bore water, ‘hard water’ or highly mineralised water, our tank warranty may not apply. Contact us to check. 

What is the warranty on your solar hot water tanks?

Our premium quality stainless steel solar hot water tanks come with a 15 year warranty, and don’t require the ongoing replacement of sacrificial anodes like glass-lined tanks do.

Contact us to check the warranties available for the heat pumps and evacuated tube systems we supply.

If you use bore water, ‘hard water’ or highly mineralised water, our tank warranty may not apply. Contact us to check.

Which heat pumps and evacuated tubes can I use with your tank?

Our premium solar hot water storage tanks are registered with many of Australia’s leading solar hot water companies, including Apricus, SolarArk, NeoPower, Endless Solar and others. You can request that hot water systems from these companies use our stainless steel storage tank.

Our suppliers for evacuated tubes and heat pumps currently include Apricus, NeoPower and Edson.

Can I work at the Earthworker Energy Factory?

 A primary aim of the Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative is to create and grow dignified jobs in democratic workplaces. We hope to grow this factory as quickly as possible, and employ as many Latrobe Valley residents as possible.

Stay tuned for information about upcoming opportunities to join the cooperative. If you’d like to find out more, email us to get in touch.

What is Earthworker and how is it connected to Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative?

The Earthworker Cooperative (or ‘Earthworker’ for short) brings together people from diverse backgrounds in practical action to solve the social and environmental problems faced by communities and the planet. Earthworker is a community-owned cooperative that aims to create and nuture an interconnected network of worker-owned cooperative enterprises across Australia. Earthworker’s mission has been inspired by the successful Mondragon Cooperative Network in the Basque Country.

The Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative is one of the first worker-cooperatives in the Earthworker network, along with the Redgum Cleaners Cooperative. This means Earthworker Energy Manfuacturing Cooperative is a separate cooperative to Earthworker, but is part of the growing network of Earthworker-affiliated cooperatives which work together to create a more sustainable, and equal economic ecosystem – what some peope call the ‘solidarity economy’.

While Earthworker Energy is a worker-cooperative, anyone is welcome to join the Earthworker Cooperative to get involved in our efforts, receive member benefits and to become a part of the Earthworker ecosystem.