Solar heat pumps are high-efficiency home heating systems that have left energy enthusiasts dumbfounded that nobody invented them sooner. Solar heat pumps combine two proven technologies together (solar thermal panels and a heat pump), creating a home heating system greater than the sum of its parts. Most people are familiar with solar thermal panels (they capture heat from the sun for space or hot water heating), and even if you’ve never heard of a heat pump, you probably have at least one in your home right now. It’s the same technology that keeps your fridge cold (only run in reverse here), transferring heat from outside your home to inside with a liquid-vapour refrigerant.
Solar heat pumps combine the high efficiency of a heat pump with the clean, free renewable energy of solar thermal heating. The solar thermal panels collect heat on the roof, and the refrigerant from the heat pump runs right through the panels themselves. This makes the heat pump half of the system even more efficient, without interrupting the solar thermal panels. Solar heat pumps can operate 24 hours a day (something traditional solar heating systems obviously struggle with), and are primary heating systems, meaning that a home with a solar heat pump won’t need another source of need in order to stay comfortably warm. Lets take a look at some of the other advantages they offer.
Five Advantages of Solar Heat Pumps
- Monthly Savings on Bills: A solar heat pump is an extremely high-efficiency heating system. This means that it takes less energy to heat a home, which means the home will coss less to heat. Homeowners that upgrade from older, less efficient heating systems to a solar heat pump usually see a dramatic (and welcome) change in their monthly bills. Solar heat pumps tend to pay for themselves quickly through these savings, meaning that you’ll go on save thousands of dollars over the years.
- Added Home Value: While we’re on the subject of savings, studies have shown that solar heating systems can add up to $30,000 to the resale value of a home. Because solar heating systems are efficient and use clean, renewable energy, homes that use solar heating are very desirable. People are willing to pay much more for homes with solar heating than homes with traditional heating systems. This added resale value essentially grants homeowners an instant return on their investment.
- Renewable Energy and Energy Independence: With awareness of climate change and global warming higher than ever, having a heating system that reduces your carbon footprint and uses clean, renewable energy is very important for some homeowners. Solar heat pumps are great alternatives to fossil fuel boilers and furnaces. Not only do you get to help the environment and get the satisfaction of creating energy right at your home, you get all the financial advantages that solar heat pumps offer too. It’s a win-win scenario.
- Hot Water Heating: An added benefit of solar heat pumps is that they usually have dual functions: space heating and hot water heating. It’s another way of increasing the savings that the system offers homeowners. Compared to burning oil or gas to heat your water, a solar heat pump will do the same job far more efficiently, saving the homeowner money and avoiding any unnecessary waste of energy.
- Radiant Heating: One of the most exciting aspects of solar heat pumps is that they are perfectly suited to being paired with radiant floor heating. In terms of heat distribution (the way that heat is dispersed around a home), nothing comes close to radiant heating in terms of comfort and efficiency. We’ve written about radiant heating a lot on the Solar Blog because it’s just such a great choice for homeowners. Radiant floors don’t just offer the obvious – deliciously warm floors underfoot – they also reduce heat loss through the ceiling by heating your home from the ground up, and insure an even level of heat right throughout a home. This means no more cold or hot spots, guaranteeing that you can keep your home comfortably heated exactly how you like it.
The fundamental strength of solar heat pumps is that they combine financial savings and environmental friendliness with an excellent, high-effiency performance. They are quick and straightforward to install too, so builders and contractors are kept happy as well. It’s no wonder people can’t believe this system wasn’t invented decades ago. Here at SunPump, we are proud to be leading the way for solar heat pumps in North America. We believe that by making clean, renewable energy solar heating affordable and efficient, everyone can benefit.
If you want to learn more about solar heat pumps or the SunPump, brochures are available for download here.