Ductless Heating & Cooling
Efficiency. Comfort. Control.
Modern ductless, mini-split air source heat pumps (ASHPs) run 2-3 times as efficiently as traditional ‘resistive’ electric heat. Simultaneously, they provide air conditioning using half the energy as traditional window or central air conditioning systems.
Best yet, instead of – by installing a solar electric system to power the electric consumption of the heat pumps, you effectively have a solar space heating system. Your solar array will generate credits in the summertime (when it is sunniest) which allow you to run the heat pumps in the wintertime (when it is coldest). Your system will effortlessly generate all the ‘fuel’ it ever needs from clean, abundant sunshine!
Outdoor unit of the LG air source heat pump
Indoor unit of the LG air source heat pump
Air source heat pumps extract heat from the outside air using a reverse refrigeration cycle (think: if you took a window air conditioner and flipped it around). By extracting heat from the outside air and moving it inside, rather than directly heating the indoor air, the heat pump runs 2-3 times more efficiently than an electric baseboard heater. This is commonly referred to as a coefficient of performance (COP) of 2-3.
There are a number of different system designs, but the most common installation is a 1:1 ‘ductless’ unit. What does that mean? It means the system design consists of an outdoor unit with heat exchanger and compressor, which does the actual heat extraction, and an indoor blower unit which blows warm (or cool) air directly into the home. 1:1 means there is one indoor unit for every outdoor unit. There are also 2:1 units (2 indoor units and 1 outdoor unit) and air-to-water systems, which allow a heat pump to be used with radiant distribution.
Due to advances in technology, these heat pump systems can now be used effectively in cold climates (like where we are in Binghamton, NY)! Moreover, since they use much less electricity than resistive heating, they can be run on your home solar electric system.
Contact us about going solar today!
Use solar energy to power your heating and cooling
Like all electric appliances, heat pumps are only as clean as the energy they consume. In New York and Pennsylvania, this usually means a mix dominated by natural gas. Why not clean up your act and run those units on sunshine?
A grid-tied solar electric array is an ideal partner for an air source heat pump. Net-metering agreements mean that your solar electric array can generate electricity whenever it can. In other words, your system will probably produce more than you consume in the summertime.
In the wintertime, when you need electricity to heat your home with the heat pumps, you will run from power off the grid, but instead of being billed for it, you will benefit from the positive credit you earned while overproducing in the summer. The overall result? Pure solar heating throughout the year! No other heating system allows you to generate your fuel off your rooftop.
What about ground-source heat pumps (also known as “Geothermal”)?
Ground-source heat pumps (AKA geothermal) are also perfect partners with solar electric arrays – as ultimately, geothermal systems are a form of electric heat just like air source heat pumps. While they do run more efficiently (COP 4-5), the upfront costs of geothermal systems are higher. Still, these are very popular for commercial buildings and new-construction houses.
Why use grid-tied solar for heating?
Solar electric systems are more affordable than ever before, with great incentives and historic low pricing on photovoltaic panels. By choosing solar electric, you pre-buy your fuel for the next 30-50 years and insure yourself against future energy price increases.
Whether you choose to power a ground-source (geothermal) or air source (mini split) heat pump with solar panels, you will have a long-lived energy solution. Solar electric panels are maintenance-free, warrantied for 25 years, and are expected to last 30+ years.
Your PV system will be generating electric credits all summer long which can be used to heat your home in the winter.
Solar Space Heating
We’re often asked whether we can integrate our solar hot water systems with conventional boilers to produce energy for space heating. Solar hydronic space heating is doable, but has a few special requirements:
Solar space heating only makes sense in higher performing homes
Solar space heating requires low temperature distributed (e.g. radiant floor) heating
Solar space heating requires excellent southern exposure
For retrofits, solar hot water is rarely a viable option. Solar is not great at heating water to high temperatures for baseboard heat, and even homes with existing radiant heat are usually not insulated enough to make the investment in a solar space heating system worthwhile.
Ready to get started? Give us a call at (607) 785-6499, or fill out the contact form above!