What is the Solar iBoost+? Costs, Benefits & FAQs

The Solar iBoost+ by Marlec is a device that enables you to use more of the free energy produced by your solar PV system, reducing your energy bills even further by heating water for free.

How Does the Solar iBoost+ Work?

Most domestic solar PV systems will generate more energy during the day than is used. This surplus energy is usually sent to the National Grid automatically so you may not even be aware that it's going on. The Solar iBoost+ interrupts this process, enabling you to use more of your free solar energy while you have it and reducing the amount you need to buy.

The Solar iBoost+ is made up of 2 main parts: the Solar iBoost+ Controller which is usually installed in an airing cupboard and a 'Sender' which is clamped to your electricity meter.

1. The Sender monitors the electricity being generated by your solar PV system and compares it against the amount of electricity you're using. It sends this information to the Solar iBoost+ wirelessly.

2. When the Solar iBoost+ detects that you are generating 100W more energy than you're using, it automatically sends the excess to power your immersion heater. If the excess energy is needed elsewhere i.e. you turn on another appliance it will automatically adjust.

3. Water will only be heated up the immersion heater's maximum thermostat setting.

The Solar iBoost+ Buddy

The Solar iBoost+ Buddy is a monitoring display and is an optional part of the system. It is an 'eco-gauge' which connects to the Solar iBoost wirelessly showing you when your Solar iBoost+ has detected surplus energy is available to use, when it is active and how much you are saving. You can also view historical savings with the touch of a button. The Buddy can be installed at the same time as the Solar iBoost+ or later.

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Will it Affect Your Feed-in Tariff?

No, a Solar iBoost+ will have no impact on your Feed-in Tariff, and here's why...

Peak generation for solar PV systems is obviously during the day when many homeowners are out. This often means energy is being used to keep appliances on standby but not a lot else. This results in excess energy which is automatically sent to the National Grid.

The government theoretically pays you for the energy you've exported, but in reality most homes do not have export meters to track how much energy they've sent to the Grid. Instead energy suppliers estimate that you'll export around 50% of the amount you've generated and pay you based on that figure. So whether you export 10%, 30% or even 100% of your solar energy, you'll still only be paid for 50%.

Even homes which do have an export meter are only paid around 5p for each unit of energy they export. When you consider the cost of buying this back from an energy supplier is nearly 3 times as much, there is very little incentive to export.

Key Features of Solar iBoost+

Simple to Install

A Solar iBoost+ is simple to install next to your hot water tank as it is wired to your existing immersion heater (up to 3kW). The Solar iBoost+ Controller and Sender communicate wirelessly so there is no need for cables between them. If you have 2 immersion heaters the Solar iBoost+ will connect to both and switch between them automatically.

Intelligent and Intuitive

The technology automatically and intuitively responds to the changes in your home's energy use and weather conditions to make sure only surplus power is used.

Programmable Timer

You can incorporate the Solar iBoost+ with your current heating schedule on a 5/2 basis and programme winter / summer settings.

Boost Function

It has a built-in Boost switch so you can top up the hot water in 15 minute periods.

Real Time Savings

The Solar iBoost+ will clearly display when it is using your solar energy to heat water. You can view current and historical energy savings including Saved Today, Saved Yesterday, Saved 7 Days, Saved 28 Days and Total Saved.

Scheduling 5/2 days, Summertime / Wintertime
Immersion Heater Compatibility Will connect to up to 2 3kW immersion heaters
Available Languages English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish
Weight 1.37kg (1.95kg packaged)
Dimensions 288 x 255 x 100mm
Warranty 2 years
Power Consumption 1-3W
Boost Function Push Button (15 minute increments up to 2 hours)
Mounting Center hook with 2 x bottom screws, cable entry points rear & underside.
User Controls Backlit 32 Character LCD display with push buttons for programming

Solar iBoost+ Cost

The total cost of a Solar iBoost+ is likely to fall between £250 – £300 but this will vary depending on your supplier and doesn't necessarily include installation. While Marlec haven't published the total fitted cost on their website they do list a range of spares and accessories with prices between £16.95 for an extension cable to around £80 for the Solar iBoost+ Buddy.

Is a Solar iBoost+ Right for Your Home?

If you are looking for a way to make the most of your solar energy and save money on your water heating bills (without the expense of a solar storage battery) a Solar iBoost+ is a great choice.

This is particularly true if you're out during the day and regularly producing at least 100W more energy than is used. As long as your immersion heater is 3kW or less and there is less than 30m between your hot water tank and electricity meter, the Solar iBoost+ can deliver great savings.

Note: The Solar iBoost+ can also be used to harness other onsite renewables energy sources such as wind turbines.

You will need a qualified PV installer or electrician to install the Solar iBoost+. Send us an enquiry today and get free quotes from solar PV professionals in your area.

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