Skip to content
Trade Customer? Sign up here
Trade Customer? Sign up here
Can I use solar panels to power a heat pump?

Can I use solar panels to power a heat pump?

Solar power and air source heat pumps are both popular options for environmentally friendly home solutions. Each can be used to heat and cool your home effectively, but can you combine the two? Read on to learn more about combining these systems.

Can you run a heat pump with solar?

Yes, you can combine a heat pump system with solar panels. This pairing allows you to meet your heating and hot water needs while being environmentally friendly. Depending on the size of the solar array, it’s possible for the panels to produce the electricity needed to run a heat pump.

This combo is popular for homeowners looking to reduce energy bills and reliance on the grid, while reducing their carbon footprint.

The key advantage is that it allows you to generate your own electricity. Through this, you can use renewable energy to provide your home with heating and hot water.

Although it's possible to use a heat pump with solar panels, there are some factors to consider. For example, the size of your solar panel system needs to be large enough to generate enough electricity.

You’ll also need a suitable storage system for any excess electricity generated. This can include solar batteries, which can be expensive to purchase and maintain.

Is it worth combining solar panels with a heat pump?

Investing in both an air source heat pump and solar panels can offer significant benefits in terms of cost savings and energy efficiency.

By combining these two technologies, you can reduce your reliance on traditional energy sources and contribute to a more sustainable way of living. With proper maintenance and care, these systems can last for many years, providing consistent savings on your energy bills.

How many solar panels would I need to power a heat pump?

This can also depend on the type of heat pump, as well as the panels. Generally speaking, a 5kW solar array is enough to power an average-sized home’s heat pump.

The exact number of solar panels will depend on the efficiency of the system and the pump's wattage. As a general rule, you can calculate the panels needed by dividing the total wattage of your heat pump by the wattage of each panel.

Is my property suitable?

Before any decision is made, you'll need to assess your property to determine if it's suitable. While many properties can support both heat pumps and solar panels, some may not be suitable due to lack of space or sunlight exposure.

You should consider:

  • Size of the property - panels need to be installed on a roof or in a garden. If the property is too small, there might not be enough space for both a panel system and a heat pump. You may also need space for an indoor unit and hot water cylinder.
  • Roof space - The more roof space you have, the more solar panels you'll be able to install (providing your roof is made of a suitable material).
  • Roof angle: Panels will need a roof angle of 30-50 degrees to ensure sufficient sunlight exposure.
  • Outside space - Air source units must have unobstructed airflow around them to operate efficiently. If your property lacks outdoor space, you may need to consider alternative locations.
  • Sunlight –  You’ll need enough sunlight exposure throughout the year to power the pump. If your property is in an area with a lot of shade, you may need to look for alternative methods.
  • Budget – Make sure you’ve considered all the costs involved, including installation, maintenance, and any additional expenses.
  • Your region – Some regions in the UK have colder climates than others, which may affect the efficiency of a heat pump system.

How much does it cost to run a heat pump with solar panels?

Individually, heat pumps and solar panels vary in cost. An air source heat pump can cost between £7,000 and £15,000 - even less with government grants, providing a heat output of 5kW-16kW.

Where as solar panels typically cost between £5,000 and £13,000, with an energy output of 5-6kW.

On average, a typical installation could set you back anywhere around £6,000 up to as high as £35,000. Typically, a 2-3 bedrooms home will need a 5kW heat pump with 4kW solar panels.

However, this price can vary depending on a number of factors such as:

  • Type of heat pump (i.e air, ground, heat)
  • The size of the heat pump (kW)
  • Number of solar panels
  • House size and layout
  • Location of the property

Additional costs for pipework, scaffolding, and other necessary work may also impact the total cost.

While the initial expense may seem high, the potential savings on energy costs over time can make it a worthwhile investment.

Will I need storage batteries?

Storage batteries aren't necessarily required when combining a heat pump with solar panels, but they can be beneficial. They can help you store excess energy generated by your solar panels during the day for use at night or during periods of low sunlight. This can be especially handy in winter when there are shorter daylight hours and less sunlight overall.

Get in touch today

Unitherm Heating Systems are your one-stop-show for renewable heating systems. We can help you determine if your property is suitable for both systems.

Contact Unitherm with any questions you may have about installing a renewable heating system on your home or business premises. Feel free to reach out to us by calling 01392 979450 or emailing us at We'd love to hear about your project and provide guidance.

Previous article Air Source Heat Pumps vs Air Conditioning
Next article Heat pumps vs gas boilers

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields