More and more companies are starting to offer ‘complete home energy solutions’ including the installation of solar along with air source heat pumps. In the past, renewable energy has been promoted separately – companies either offering wind or solar power but not both at the same time. Now, this seems to be changing.
With many home owners and businesses looking to lower their carbon footprints as well as their costs, we could start seeing a larger number of businesses offering what are called full home optimisation services. For both ASHP and solar you don’t generally need planning permission and the process of installation is fairly quick and not particularly disruptive. With the growing focus on storage technology, you might also be able to create a home energy system that is amazingly independent and produces a great return on your initial investment.
So, are solar panels and an ASHP suitable for your home?
According to a growing number of installation businesses they’re the perfect match. Here are just some of the benefits of each.
The Benefits of Installing Solar PV
Solar panels capture the sun’s energy via photovoltaic cells and turn it into electricity. They can be fitted onto the roof of your house and produce the electricity you need to run your home.
- You can greatly reduce your electricity bills and the return on investment for panels is now pretty good.
- The price of solar panels has come down in recent years because of competition, better technology and cheaper panels.
- You can get paid for the electricity you produce through the government’s feed in tariff. While this has been reduced in recent years, it still helps reach a good return on investment in a reasonable time.
- You can also sell your excess electricity back to the grid.
- Solar is a clean, renewable energy and will help you to greatly reduce your carbon footprint, whether you’re a home owner or a business.
Find out more about installing solar panels here.
The Benefits of ASHP
Heat pumps use the ambient temperature around us and convert it to heat water. They basically work as a reverse kind of refrigerator. In an air sourced heat pump, this means extracting the air from outside and passing it over a heat sink, moving thermal energy in the opposite direction of flow to provide heating for homes.
Air source are the easiest of the heat pumps to install and only need a small amount of electricity to operate. Combine them with solar energy and you have a system that can be considered truly renewable.
Heat pumps have few moving parts and are therefore very low maintenance with, again, a good return on investment. The only caveat that you have to remember is your home or office needs to be well insulated. Heat pumps provide low but constant levels of warmth which deliver the right ambient, constant temperature. Many businesses are offering retrofitting for both solar and ASHP which should include assessing how you make your property as insulated as it needs to be.
You can also get a similar subsidy to the solar feed in tariff through the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive which applies to all forms of heat pump as well as take advantage of the Renewable Heat Premium which can reduce the initial cost of the installation.
Find out more about heat pumps here.
More Companies Are Offering Solar PV with ASHP Systems
As the price of installations are starting to come down, more companies across the UK are beginning to offer both solar PV and air source heat pump installations as a complete package. This is a great option if you are looking to create a really efficient home system that lowers your bills and improves your carbon footprint.
EcoLiving UK, who installed a combined system for a couple in Nottinghamshire, estimated the savings at around:
- £950 per year for the solar PV installation.
- £650 per year for the ASHP (replacing an outdated oil system).
- A combined carbon saving of 3.3 tonnes over the year.
Costs can vary depending on the size of your installation and how much subsidy you are entitled to. A recent case study by Your Future Energy shows a 16 KW solar panel and ASHP installed for a property and a price tag of £16,000. Factor in the savings of £960 per year along with subsidy payments of £1,800 a year and you can expect to pay off the initial investment in just under six years.
This may well mark a change in the sector where many companies will now deliver a combination of solutions for each home owner rather than specialising in one particular area. The Government is committed to decarbonising heating over the next decade and heat pumps of all varieties are seen as an integral part of this. Mixing solar with heat pumps certainly makes perfect sense if you want to take a holistic approach to optimising your home energy.
Search for local solar PV and ASHP installers here.