Air Source Heat Pump and Solar Panels Combination Guide (UK)
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Last updated: 3 July 2024

Air Source Heat Pump and Solar Panels Combination Guide (UK)

heat pump and solar panels
  • Solar panels can be used to power a heat pump in the UK.
  • On average, the cost of an air source heat pump and solar panels can be from £9,500 to £20,000.
  • 3kW - 5kW solar panels can power an air source heat pump in an average UK house with 2-3 bedrooms.

Did you know that you can combine air source heat pumps and solar panels to reduce your energy costs significantly? Air source heat pumps are an increasingly popular and sustainable choice for heating and cooling in the UK. Combining your heat pumps with solar panels can reduce your reliance on the energy grid. This can save you up to £2,100 annually. 

Has this sparked your interest in getting an air source heat pump for your home? Then you should get in touch with reputable air source heat pump professionals to get started. However, it can be tricky and time consuming to find reliable professionals. Luckily, here at Household Quotes, we can connect you with up to four certified heat pump experts by completing our 30-second online form.

This service not only saves time but also ensures access to expert advice and competitive pricing options without any obligation to commit. Get started by clicking the button below:

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Can solar panels power your heat pump?

Solar Panel Heat Pump

Yes, solar panels can power your heat pump. An average air source heat pump would require around 2,700kWh of electricity annually to power a 2-3 bedroom house in the UK. Solar panels are an independent source of energy as they convert sunlight into electricity. The electricity from the solar panel system can be used directly for powering the heat pumps. 

This way, the heat pump does not have to rely on electricity from the national grid and this combined system can also reduce your carbon footprint. In short, this combined system is a highly efficient integrated renewable heating and cooling solution.

How many solar panels do I need to power an air source heat pump?

An average 2-3 bedroom home will require a 5kW heat pump and eight 4kW solar panels in the UK. According to Ofgem, a typical UK household’s annual electricity consumption ranges from 1,800kWh to 4,100kWh. A heat pump would mean an additional 4,000kWh of electricity consumption. 

The type of heat pump needed depends on the insulation levels of your house, the heat distribution system you have (radiators or underfloor heating) and the home size and energy use.

Annual savings and break-even point of commercial solar panels
Solar system size Average annual savings Break-even time
10kW £2,550 5 - 6 years
20kW £5,500 4 - 5 years
50kW £12,750 3 - 6 years
100kW £25,500 2 - 5 years

Combining heat pumps with solar panels will cover at least 50%- 60% of the total energy consumption of your heating system. So it means that you would require a 4kW-5kW solar system with 8-10 panels to cover the energy requirements of a 10kW heat pump along with half of other energy needs. 

So the number of solar panels needed to power a heat pump and generate electricity for other purposes in the house depends on your home size and energy use. You will need a more efficient system or more solar panels if you aim to cover all of your energy needs.

For powering your heat pump at night, you might also need a solar battery for energy storage, which can cost an additional £4,000. 

To determine the correct type of heat pump for your home, suitable for your energy needs, it's important to get advice from an expert. Finding a trustworthy installer can be a tiresome and time-consuming process. 

Thankfully we have just the solution- a vetted network of qualified heat pump installers ready to assist you. Fill out our 30-second form and compare up to 4 free quotes to get the best value for your money.

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What is the cost of an air source heat pump and solar panels?

A typical 2-3 bedroom house would need a 4kW-5kW solar panel system, which would cost around £7,000 – £8,000. For the same house, a 5kw air source heat pump costs about £10,000. This would result in a total upfront cost of £17,000 – £19,000 without any grants.

Cost of air source heat pump and solar panels
Heat pump (output) Cost of heat pump Solar system (output) Cost of solar system Total cost (without grants)
5kW £10,000 4kW £7,000 – £8,000 £17,000 – £19,000
10kW £13,000 5kW £11,000 – £12,000 £24,000 – £25,000
16kW £15,000 6kW £12,000 – £13,000 £27,000 – £28,000

There are different types of solar panels and heat pumps in the UK. Solar panel and heat pump prices depend on the output of the panel, the number of solar panels and the type of heat pump (energy output).

You can also reduce the total costs by applying for different air source heat pump grants. With the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) you can get £7,500 towards an air source heat pump. You can avail this grant if you are replacing a fossil fuel heating system, match the minimum efficiency levels, and possess a valid Energy Performance Certificate. 

Additionally, there are also a number of government policies to save money on solar panels as well. Energy Company Obligation 4 (ECO4), Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), and 0% VAT rule are all different schemes with different eligibility criteria that help offset the costs of solar panels.

Now assuming you do get the BUS grant of £7,500, the total upfront cost would be around £10,500. You will be saving up to £660 annually with average-sized solar panels (3kW to 4kW). And around £195 with a heat pump. This leads to a total savings of £855 annually. So with a total cost of £10,500 and annual savings of £855, you will break even in around 12-14 years. 

You can always increase your total savings by selling excess energy back to the national grid. Another thing to note is that switching to renewable energy can also increase your home value. Upgrading from fossil fuels to air source heat pumps makes your property attractive to potential buyers. Depending on the location this increase in value can be anywhere between £866 to £4,787. 

Is an air source heat pump with solar panels suitable for my household?

There are a few factors that you should consider before installing the air source heat pump and solar panels combination in your home. 

  • Roof space: You should make sure your house has adequate roof space to install 6-13 solar panels. An average residential solar system requires 100-250 sq ft of roof space for every 1kW of installed capacity. For a 4kW system, you will need 400-900 sq ft of roof space. This number can also go up depending on your energy requirement.
    •  Insulation levels: A well-insulated house would require a smaller and less expensive heat pump. At the same time a poorly insulated house will need a heat pump with higher efficiency. Houses with good insulation need 25%-50% less energy for heating. 
      • Space for outdoor unit: There should be adequate space to install the outdoor compressor unit for the heat pump. You will need around 3-4 m² for the external unit. Along with that, you will 1-2 metres of unobstructed space in front of the unit for airflow.  
        • Valid EPC: A valid energy performance certificate is required to get government grants for heat pumps and solar panels. For the ECO4 scheme, you will need an EPC grade D, E, F or G. For BUS you just need to possess a valid EPC. 

          You can get started on your sustainability journey by installing heat pumps and solar panels. This combination can increase your energy savings and also increase your home value in the long run. 

          The only way to know if your home meets the requirements for getting the heat pump-solar panel combination is by talking to an expert who can analyse your unique situation. However, it can be a challenging task to find reliable installers who offer fair quotes. 

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