Solar Power Heat Pumps
The cold is a challenge for countries during the winter season. Aside from the physical discomfort, cold weather can also affect a person’s health by making one more susceptible to viruses. Therefore, it is vital that a home has proper heating during this period. However, there’s no denying that heating can be expensive whether you use gas or electricity as a source. This is to add to the fact that it contributes to our carbon footprint by using up non-renewable energy sources to produce heat.
With the increasing utility bills and depleting natural resources, one can certainly benefit from cheap and renewable energy such as solar and hydropower. One great way to take advantage of the energy that the earth offers is through solar power heat pumps. This equipment can easily make your home warm and cozy without putting a hole in your pocket. What exactly is it, though, and how does it work? This article will provide more guidance on this solar-powered wonder is, enumerate its benefits, explain the cost savings of going solar, and provide an overall insight on this heat source alternative.
What Are Solar Power Heat Pumps?
A home would usually require heating either through electrical wires installed in the flooring or through gas or fuel-based heating. Regular heat pumps would pull hot air from the outside environment and push it into the home to provide comfort to the inside environment. However, through solar power heat pumps, these elements won’t be necessary as the heat coming from the sun will be the ultimate source. This means that there will be no need for complex installations or grid connections.
This is especially useful for homes that are remotely located and make use of solar panels as an electricity source. Aside from the sun’s light, that home will now also make use of the sun’s heat to provide warmth. This is the preferred option for some as it is less costly and more eco-friendly. This is also the reason why some heat pump manufacturers now produce a solar-based version of this machine to cater to individuals who prefer this option for home heating. Let’s next look at how this machine works.
How Do They Work?
What is the mechanism involved in getting the solar powered heat pump to work? It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’d like to eliminate the use of electric heaters, then you can use the pump to extract solar heat from the outside environment and transfer that heat into the water system so you won’t need to generate heat through electricity or gas. This is specifically called a solar-based heat pump water heater, and one of the producers of such technology is Amici Water Systems.
One other use of this technology is through solar-assisted heat pumps. In this variant, the heat pump still functions as a machine that pulls heat from the outside environment. However, the electricity that makes this function possible is not through the grid or gas, but through solar panel-produced electricity. The solar panels are connected to the machine and supply its needed electrical power to run the pump and perform the extraction. Therefore, it uses both the heat and light energy coming from the sun. This mechanism uses two technologies that are connected in parallel to operate as one.
Benefits of Using a Solar Heat Pump
Now that we understand what solar heat pumps are, let’s list the benefits of owning one or shifting from a regular heat pump to a sun-powered one.
- It’s eco-friendly
Just imagine the electrical consumption of an entire town whose residents use a regular heat pump. Now, imagine if that town shifts to using solar. The energy savings for an entire year is truly significant. This way, an entire town can reduce its carbon footprint and help the environment.
- They are cost-efficient
You can slash heat pumps off your list of grid-electricity consuming devices as this will no longer be the case once you shift to this solar alternative. The savings are especially significant during the summer and winter. You can get your machine running around the clock during the winter and you can reduce the use of air conditioning through the reverse function of the device during summer days.
- You get government rewards
Some states offer rewards for homes or businesses that shift to solar-based alternatives. This can be in the form of tax incentives.
- You can reduce the impact of rising utility costs
While the savings may not be very significant after just a month or so of use, you will see the long-term effects of the shift soon enough as the impact of the increase in utility costs will be reduced by lower grid electricity consumption.
It is clear that the resulting savings of this transformation is not just monetary, but also planetary. Therefore, it is the wise way to go. However, when you talk about monetary savings, how much savings are we looking at?
Solar Heat Pump Savings
Various states provide various rebates for using solar heating pumps instead of the grid-connected ones. The post-purchase rebate can be up to $800 per year! This is definitely a significant saving just because of shifting to an eco-friendlier machine. Of course, this is to add to the energy cost savings, which can be from 14 to 17 cents per kilowatt-hour depending on your provider.
If you’re using a fuel-based one before, shifting to the solar version can give you about $1.50/ gallon of savings from eliminating this expense completely. For a 25-year estimated use, you’re looking at energy cost savings that can go up to $4,000! Considering that the utility costs may increase annually, you may be looking at even bigger numbers.
Combining Solar Heat Pumps with Solar Panels
Just like a regular heat pump, a solar-powered one would also extract heat from the outside. However, if the pumps are combined with solar thermal panels, the panels will serve as the low-temperature heat source and move the collected heat to the heat pump’s evaporator. The thermal panels can be made of either sheet and tubes, roll-bond, heat pipe, thermal plates, or a hybrid with mono, polycrystalline, or thin-film silicon panels together with the pump. This will yield a higher coefficient of performance and translate to higher efficiency. While the initial costs may be higher than a regular non-solar system, the long-term cost decrease is easily felt.
This option and the system’s overall performance and efficiency may be dependent on the location and the angle of the photovoltaic cells from the sun. The better angle they’re installed under and the less shade the roof system receives, the higher the efficiency of the system is expected to be. It is wise to have the system installed by professionals to make sure that the panels are installed well and at a nice angle and the connections are working properly. Otherwise, this can cause headaches that we don’t want when the system fails.
The climate of the world is becoming more and more unpredictable and less and less comfortable, probably due to global warming. As a result, it takes various tools to make the inside well-ventilated and cozier. These tools require batteries, gas, or electricity, all of which are mostly reliant on paid utilities. With the help of solar power tools like solar heat pump systems, one can reduce or even eliminate the need for these tools.
This solar-powered equipment makes use of both the sun’s heat and light (for combined systems) to power up your pump and draw in heat during cold winter days and push heat out during summer. Making the shift provides various benefits from environmental to monetary. Therefore, transform your home into a solar-reliant energy system now and reap the benefits for the decades to come.