Will my solar panels power an air source heat pump?
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 May 2014 at 8:54 am
A: At first glance this seems like the ideal combination. You are probably generating more solar elecricity than you can use. Why not use some of it to offset the heating bills?
But, and it's a big but, the timings are not compatible. Solar systems generate the vast majority of the electricity between March and September. The months you need most of your heating are October to March. As you see, that doesn't leave much overlap.
In winter, what little solar generation there is will be in the middle of the day. Most of the domestic heating is needed in the morning and evening - so even less of an overlap.
Of course, you can use the income from the feed-in tariff to contribute to the cost of running an air source heat pump. But don't kid yourself that it means you are using free, clean electricity to do it.
The Centre for Alternative Technology's Toby Kellner was asked at the Sustainable Homes Show what an ideal set up for a heat pump would be. His dream system would be in the Hebrides: a thoroughly insulated house, with underfloor heating and a wind turbine (the wind blows all year) to power a heat pump.
Photo: London PermacultureBy Cathy Debenham
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