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Heat Pumps & Solar Power

Posted by Mike Cappuccio on Aug 15, 2019 7:00:00 AM

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Heat pumps run on electricity, which tends to be significantly less expensive than heating oil or propane. Since heat pumps move heat rather than generate it, they also require less electricity than other electric heating and cooling equipment. To enhance these savings even further, you can utilize solar energy as an energy-efficient complement to your heat pump.

Costs for Solar Energy

Many areas offer lower rates for solar powered energy, and that can lead to savings when you power your heat pump with sunlight. For instance, if you pay 9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) for solar electricity, that equates to $11 per million British thermal units (BTUs) or roughly $1,023 to heat a typical home for the year. In contrast, if you pay 14 cents/kWh for electricity from the grid, that is about $18 per million BTUs and $1,706 to heat a typical home for the year.

By switching to solar in this scenario, you reduce your home heating costs by close to 40%. Note these are sample numbers, and to find the exact savings in your situation, you should contact your energy provider about their rates.

Solar Options

If you decide to go with solar power for your heat pump, you have a couple different options. With an off-grid solar system, you harness the sun's energy, and you store it in batteries attached to your system. This setup can work perfectly in some situations, but it requires you to invest more money upfront and maintain the batteries, so the system works properly.

Alternatively, the most common option for homeowners who want to embrace solar power is a grid-tiered system. With this set-up, you collect solar energy which you share with the grid, and you don't have to worry about buying or maintaining batteries. In most cases, you end up collecting a lot of energy in the summer when the sun is shining brightly. Then, you bank that energy with your electrical provider and use it to power your heat pump during the winter.

Essentially, the tiered-grid set up is like cutting firewood during the summer to use in the winter — but the solar panels do the work for you.

Best Applications for Solar Heat Pumps

If you currently use oil or propane to heat your home, a solar powered heat pump is the perfect back up system. You can rely on the heat pump for most of your heating needs, but if temps dip too low, you can turn to your existing heating system. In most cases, you never even have to use the backup heating method, as new heat pumps can run efficiently in temps down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit and lower.

Heat pumps coupled with solar systems are also ideal for new construction homes. You save money by choosing a heat pump over a traditional heating system, and you can use the savings to cover the cost of installing a solar system. Then, you can enjoy a home that practically takes care of its own energy needs.

Solar Powered Heat Pumps

Ready to leverage free energy from the sun to heat and cool your home? Then, you may want to make the leap to a heat pump powered by a solar system. To learn more and to look at case studies of homeowners in similar situations who made this decision, contact us today at N.E.T.R., Inc. We can help you select the right heat pump for your home or business.

Topics: heating and cooling

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