Solar panels or heat pump? Both can improve your home’s energy efficiency, reduce your carbon footprint, and most importantly, save you money on your energy bills.
Heat pumps use electricity to extract heat from the air and pump it into your home. This heat energy can be used to heat your water supply and keep your home warm.
Heat pumps produce so much thermal energy that they can significantly reduce your dependence on your energy supplier and therefore save you money on your energy bills.
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Meanwhile, the solar panels produce electricity that can be used to help power all of your home’s electrical systems.
Since the passage of the Cut Inflation Act, Americans now have access to generous tax credits to reduce the cost of these energy-efficient upgrades.
Below, our friends at the Money Edit put heat pumps against solar panels to the test in a one-on-one.
But first, consider our other articles on home energy saving, including oven vs. air fryer, electric heaters vs. radiators, woodstove vs. central heating, fan heaters vs. fuel oil, the dishwasher versus hand washing, and our audit on how to save energy. invoices.
Advantages of heat pumps
- Heat pumps do not emit carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide or particulates. They can help improve the air quality inside and outside the home.
- Heat pumps are much more efficient than gas boilers and produce three or four times the energy they consume.
- Heat pumps are reliablerequire little maintenance and can last 20 years or more before needing replacement.
- The Reducing Inflation Act offers tax credits of $2,000 towards the installation of electric or natural gas heat pump water heaters, electric or natural gas heat pumps, stoves and biomass boilers.
Disadvantages of heat pumps
Unfortunately, heat pumps have several disadvantages:
- An air-source heat pump costs between $2,500 and $10,000, with an average cost of $5,500, according to Forbes. Even with the government’s $2,000 tax credit, the system could cost you a pretty penny upfront, before the energy savings kick in over the life of the heat pump.
- Heat pumps consume electricity and are therefore expensive to operate. Remember that electricity is three to four times more expensive than gas per unit, so energy bills can actually go up after a boiler is removed.
- Heat pumps only produce heat and cannot generate electricity therefore can only supply power to certain systems in your home.
- Heat pumps do not heat a house as quickly as a gas boiler. Naturally cold houses will especially heat up much more slowly.
- Heat pumps can be difficult to install in houses with mixed boilers, which will have to find space for a hot water tank.
- Heat pumps can be noisy due to their fans although manufacturers strive to make them quieter.
- Some homes do not have a suitable outdoor space for a pump.
Advantages of solar panels
Since 2010, the cost of solar panels has dropped by more than 60%, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. There are many positives to installing solar panels.
- Solar panels could cut your annual energy bill by $1500 per yearaccording to Forbes.
- Solar panels now pay for themselves in eight yearsproviding 17 to 22 years of energy savings over the lifetime of the system.
- Solar power allows you to generate most of your electricity for lights and appliances.
- Solar energy can also power an electric car. You’ll need an average of 5 to 12 solar panels to charge your vehicle, according to Solar.com.
- You can resell the electricity to the grid or to an energy supplier. More than 40 states allow some kind of “net metering,” according to SmartAsset. Translation: Households that generate electricity through residential solar projects can receive checks from power companies for excess energy sent to the grid.
- Solar power systems are easy to installeven in old houses.
- Innovations mean you no longer have to put up with ugly black glass.
Disadvantages of solar panels
- The cost of a solar panel system on an average sized home in the United States ranges from $11,144 to $14,696after solar tax credits.
- The cost of a battery – which you’ll need to use your solar power at night when the sun isn’t shining – is between $213 and $13,000 to the overall cost of the installation, according to Solar Reviews.
- Solar energy is not enough for heating. You can easily generate most of your electricity for lights and appliances, but add heating and it gets tricky. Simply put, thermal panels are limited when the sun isn’t constantly shining, so you need an additional source of hot water to help you out.
Installation costs are similar, but solar panels will save you more money overall.
Of course, you can save even more money and carbon by combining solar panels with an electric car, battery or heat pump.
Finally, before choosing between a heat pump and solar panels, consider:
- If it is thermal energy or electricity that you want to produce
- How much energy do you want to generate
- What do you want to use it for?
- How long do you want your renewable energy system to last
- How much you can afford to pay up front and basically invest in your home
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