If you’re looking to decrease your carbon footprint and save money on your energy bills, then it’s important to consider both solar panels and heat pumps. Solar panels are an effective way to generate energy from the sun, while heat pumps can use electric pumps to extract heat from the air and deliver it inside.
Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to saving money on energy bills, so it’s essential to do your research and decide which option is right for you.
With that in mind, here are the pros and cons of both solar panels and heat pumps to help you make an informed decision.
The Pros of Installing Solar Panels
Several obvious benefits accompany installing solar panels. For one, they immediately save you money on your electricity bill by reducing your reliance on the national grid to supply you with energy. Not only that, but they also reduce your carbon footprint by using renewable energy from the sun instead of fossil fuels.
When paired with a solar battery, you can even become utterly self-sufficient for your electricity needs, helping to further reduce your energy bills.
Better still, they’re not as expensive to install as you might think, with solar panel costs falling by more than 60% since 2010. Given that the energy cap will increase to £3,000 next year for average household energy consumption, solar panels can now pay for themselves in less than five years.
Lastly, unlike heat pumps, you can use solar energy to power most of your household lighting and appliances as opposed to just heating. You can even charge your electric car using solar panels.
Solar Panels Cons
There are, of course, a few downsides to solar panels. For instance, if you don’t install a solar battery, then you’re still reliant on the national grid at night, reducing their impact on your electricity bills. Speaking of which, solar panels have dramatically fallen in price, but solar batteries remain pretty expensive, increasing the initial cost of your solar energy system, and only last 10-15 years.
Solar panels aren’t great when it comes to heating, either, with thermal panels often needing direct sunlight to operate properly. This means they can struggle to generate heat in the winter, making them unreliable for your hot water needs all year round.
Pros of Installing Heat Pumps
The obvious benefit of heat pumps is that they are far more efficient than gas boilers, producing as much as four times the energy they consume. They also require very little in terms of maintenance and will often last more than 20 years.
Another benefit is that the government is offering £5,000 grants for air source heat pumps (£6,000 for ground source), meaning installation costs can be significantly lower than solar panels.
Heat Pump Cons
One of the most significant drawbacks is that they use electricity to run, so while you may save on gas, you could end up spending significantly more on your electricity bill. Not only that, but as we discussed earlier, the cost of electricity is significantly more per unit than gas, four times as much, in fact.
Furthermore, heat pumps are relatively expensive to install and maintain, with some air source models costing as much as £13,000 before grants. Finally, they can take a while to warm up a room – sometimes up to an hour longer than a combi boiler – which can be an issue for naturally cool homes.
Lastly, heat pumps only create heat, not energy, require considerable outside and inside (hot water tank) space for installation, and are not suitable for all types of property.
The Verdict: Which Saves More Money? Solar Panels or Heat Pumps?
In short, at this moment in time, solar panels save much more money than heat pumps. This is mainly because solar panels can produce electricity, which currently costs four times as much as gas. So while heat pumps can eradicate your reliance on natural gas, they still require electricity to operate, meaning you still have to pay for energy in some form.
Solar panels, on the other hand, when paired with a battery, offer you the chance to become self-sufficient, reducing your reliance on the national grid and dramatically cutting your energy bills.
Of course, you have both installed to maximise savings on carbon consumption and money spent on bills. However, given the costs involved, solar panels are currently your best bet if you’re looking for a more affordable option. Ultimately, the decision should come down to your budget and the type of property you own.
Contact Applegarth Today to Discuss Solar Panels
Whatever you decide, here at Applegarth, we are always on hand to discuss and advise on the best renewable energy solutions for your property. As an MCS-accredited solar panel installer, we can advise you on the best solar panel option (including systems that come with solar batteries) for you and provide a free, no-obligation quote.
To discuss your needs in more detail, get in touch with Applegarth today. We are available on 0151 649 8350 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.