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Benefits of solar-powered air source heat pumps

If you’re already considering installing solar panels, you’re probably familiar with (and looking forward to!) the positive impact it will have on lowering your monthly electric 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 reduce your carbon footprint by pairing your solar panels with energy-efficient air source heat pumps.

Key takeaways

  1. With solar-powered air source heat pumps, you will save on both heat and air conditioning costs.

  2. Your solar-powered air source heat pumps pay dividends not just in savings but also through protection against rising energy costs and environmental benefits.

  3. Several states offer incentives for people to install environmentally friendly systems like air source heat pumps, making installation significantly cheaper.

  4. Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to receive quotes from local installers and save money by pairing your air source heat pumps with solar!

What’s in this article?

Benefits of powering air source heat pumps with solar panels

There are a number of benefits to powering air source heat pumps (ASHPs) with solar panels rather than relying on energy from fossil fuels. Below, we take a look at some of the many benefits of powering your ASHPs with solar energy.

Save on heating bills

If you’re like most homeowners in the U.S., you’re probably heating your property with some type of furnace or boiler. Regardless of the specific 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 home heating and cooling accounts for 53 percent of your energy spending on average.

Air source heat pumps run on electricity. Because ASHPs are a highly efficient technology, you can often save on energy costs regardless of whether you source the electricity from the grid or your solar panel system. That said, solar electricity is one of the cheapest forms of electricity, allowing you to maximize your utility bill savings when you pair ASHPs with a solar panel system.

When buying your solar panel system, you’ll need to install 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 your energy usage, your monthly electricity bill, including heating costs, is minimal (or potentially even negative). With solar-powered ASHPs, you can avoid the costs of purchasing alternative heating fuels, thereby saving thousands over the system’s lifetime.

Save on cooling bills

Solar-powered air source heat pumps can help you save more than just during the winter; this technology can also help you save on energy bills during warmer months as well.

Many people use air conditioners (in window units or otherwise) to keep their homes cool when temperatures rise. While air conditioners can also run on solar electricity, they’re typically less efficient than ASHP technologies, thus requiring more electricity. According to Energy Efficiency Vermont, a typical air source heat pump uses 50 percent less energy than a window AC unit. When pairing the two separate technologies with solar, you’ll likely spend more money with solar-powered traditional air conditioning units since that technology requires more solar panels to meet its needs than ASHPs.

Protect 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 solar electricity, your only cost to use that energy is the initial installation cost you pay. The cost of other types of energy –petroleum, natural gas, fossil fuel-based electricity– will continue to fluctuate over time and will likely rise 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 entirely free. Generating your solar energy and controlling the temperature in your home with ASHPs 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 foreseeable future.

Help the environment

Most traditional heating and cooling sources run off fossil fuels, whether oil or gas or electricity generated from fossil fuel resources. You can heat and cool your home with clean, emission-free electricity by pairing your solar panel system with air source heat pumps.

Importantly, ASHPs 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.

Receive incentives

Several states and utility companies offer financial benefits for installing air source heat pumps. These rebates and incentives, often not available for less environmentally-friendly heating and cooling options, can help substantially lower the cost of installing ASHPs.

Importantly, when you pair your air source heat pumps with solar, you’re eligible for more than just ASHP 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 area.

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 solar system in anticipation of increased electric needs.

High-efficiency, high-wattage solar panels can help minimize the area necessary for your solar array, leaving more 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 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 essential to avoid oversizing a central inverter too much, as it can negatively impact your solar production levels.

We recommend talking to your solar installer about these potential upgrades so that they can help design the best solar panel system for your current and future needs.

Learn more about air source heat pumps

Want to learn more about air source heat pumps? Check out our helpful resources on all things air source heat pumps:

Maximize the benefits of your air source heat pumps with solar

You can save the environment and maximize the savings from your air source heat pumps by heating and cooling your home with solar electricity. By registering your property on the EnergySage Marketplace to get solar quotes, you can compare offers side by side from qualified, pre-vetted installers near you and speak with an Energy Advisor to discuss which offer is the best for you. If you want to see how much you can save by going solar, check out our Solar Calculator for an instant estimate based on your unique property. 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 this addition to your electricity needs. Some solar installers can also help you with designing and pricing out a heat pump system for your home as well (or refer you to someone who can).

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