THE cost of electricity has cast a shadow over many household budgets.
While energy prices aren't looking to wane any time soon, one Tweed Coast company believes it can help residents in a big way with its new invention.
Geoff Hourigan and Troy Norris of Sharp Energy say the Sun Flux, which allows homeowners to connect their electric hot water systems to solar panels, can save residents up to 40% on their energy bills.
Mr Hourigan said they'd been working for about five years to get the invention complete and on the market.
"It's a lot cheaper than buying a thermal hot water system,” Mr Hourigan said.
"Nobody in the world has been able to do it before, but lots of people have tried.”
He said the system would pay for itself much quicker than a thermal solar hot water system, with a good return in just a few years, compared to about 10 years for a thermal system.
Mr Hourigan said his energy bills at his Pottsville home had skyrocketed, but this invention had helped significantly.
The Sun Flux, which is engineered on the Tweed and currently manufactured in China in a bid to keep retail costs low, was made with quality in mind, Mr Hourigan said.
"The stuff we build like the Sunflux, it has a lifespan of over 20 years,” he said.
He said there had already been a strong response to the product - which sells for about $2500 - as Australians reeled over soaring energy prices.
"We've got quite a few out there already,” he said.
"I think we've sold 300 to 400 but we're about to launch Australia-wide.
"We've got significant interest from the US and South Africa.
"All they're talking about in the media is electricity prices and... we've got the solution.”
Sharp Energy has partnered with Gold Coast-based Array Energy for the product's distribution.
Array Energy owner Campbell Medcalf said the Sun Flux marked a huge shift in the industry.
"It's a product that no one else has done before,” Mr Medcalf said.
"It's a revolutionary product.
"This technology is world-first.”
Mr Medcalf said customers of the product had already been speaking highly of the benefits, whether going off-grid or using the Sun Flux in a hybrid set-up.
He said they wanted a "strategic alliance” with those - like Mr Hourigan and Mr Norris - who were working to innovate in the alternative energy realm.