If you’re already considering installing a solar panel installation, you’re probably familiar with the positive impact it will have on your monthly electricity bill: but what if you could also substantially decrease your monthly heating and cooling bills with your new system? You can maximize your energy bill savings and decrease your carbon footprint by pairing your solar panels with energy-efficient air source heat pumps.
Benefits to powering air source heat pumps with solar panels
There are a number of benefits to powering air source heat pumps with solar panels, rather than relying on energy from fossil fuels:
Savings on heating bills
If you’re like the majority of homeowners in the U.S., you’re probably heating your property with some type of furnace or boiler. However, regardless of the technology you use for heating, you have to pay for the oil, gas, biomass, or electricity to keep it running. These costs add up: the Department of Energy estimates that on average, home heating accounts for 42 percent of your utility bill.
Air source heat pumps run on electricity, and because heat pumps are a highly efficient technology, you can often save on energy costs regardless of whether you source the electricity from the grid or your own solar panel system. That said, solar electricity is one of the cheapest forms of electricity, allowing you to maximize your utility bill savings.
When buying your solar panel system, you’ll need to pay for additional panels to cover the energy needs of your air source heat pumps: however, the extra investment will quickly pay for itself. If your solar panel system can meet all of your electricity needs, your monthly electricity bill, including heating costs, is minimal (or potentially even negative.) With solar-powered air source heat pumps, you can avoid the costs of purchasing alternative heating fuels, thereby saving thousands over the lifetime of the system.
Savings on cooling bills
Solar-powered air source heat pumps can help you save in more than just the winter months; this technology can also help you save on energy bills during the cooling season.
Many homeowners use air conditioners to keep their property cool when temperatures rise. While air conditioners can also run on solar electricity, they’re typically less efficient than air source heat pump technologies, meaning they require more electricity. According to Energy Efficiency Vermont, a typical air source heat pump uses 50 percent less energy than a window AC unit. When it comes to pairing the two separate technologies with solar, you’ll likely spend more money with solar-powered AC since the technology requires more solar panels to meet its needs than air source heat pumps require.
Protection against rising energy costs
By powering your air source heat pumps with solar energy, you’re also protecting yourself against rising energy costs.
When you generate your own solar electricity, you lock in the price of energy for decades. The price of other types of energy –petroleum, natural gas, fossil fuel-based electricity– will continue to fluctuate over time, and are likely to rise overall when supply can’t keep up with demand.
On the other hand, once you pay off your solar panel system, your solar electricity generation is completely free. Generating your own solar energy helps protect you from the forecasted increases in gas, oil, and electricity prices down the line, and also helps ensure more predictable heating and cooling costs for the future.
Most traditional heating and cooling sources run off fossil fuels, whether that be oil or gas directly, or electricity that’s generated from fossil fuel resources. In pairing your solar panel system with air source heat pumps, you can heat and cool your home with clean, emission-free electricity.
Importantly, air source heat pumps running on electricity from the grid are likely still using energy from fossil fuels: much of our country’s electricity continues to be generated from coal or natural gas. Solar-powered heat pumps help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, lowering your own carbon footprint and reducing emissions and pollutants in our atmosphere.
Several states and utility companies offer financial benefits for installing air source heat pumps. These rebates, often not available for less environmentally-friendly heating and cooling options, can help lower the cost of installing air source heat pumps substantially.
Importantly, when you pair your air source heat pumps with solar, you’re eligible for more than just air source heat pump rebates: you can save thousands by combining these incentives with any solar tax credits, rebates, and/or production-based incentives (PBIs) available in your area. If you’d like to learn more about the incentives you can take advantage of, the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) is a useful resource for researching energy efficiency and solar incentives available in your region.
Can you future-proof your solar panel system for electrification?
If you’d like to install air source heat pumps or switch to other electrical appliances in the future, you can take steps to future-proof your PV system in anticipation of increased electric needs.
High-efficiency, high-wattage solar panels can help minimize the area necessary for your solar array, therefore leaving more available space on your roof for future expansion. You’ll also have to consider your solar inverter and how much power it’s capable of handling: installing microinverters for each individual panel or opting for a slightly oversized string inverter can help ensure you don’t need to pay for an inverter swap. However, it’s important to refrain from oversizing a central inverter too much, as it can negatively impact your solar production levels.
We recommend talking to your installer about these potential upgrades so that they can help design the best solar panel system for your current and future needs.
Get started with solar on EnergySage
You can save money and the environment by heating and cooling your home with solar electricity. Register on the EnergySage Marketplace today to receive up to seven quotes to compare side-by-side. If you’re planning on adding new air source heat pumps to your home and want to power them with solar electricity, simply note it in your account so that installers can design a system in anticipation of your future needs.