Although ActionZero focuses on larger solar PV and high temperature heat pump technology for their industrial, commercial and public sector clients, the same renewable technologies can also be applied to the home. One of our Project Engineers, Ian Evans has recently installed both a Solar PV and an Air-Source Heat Pump in his home. In this blog, he shares his experience of decarbonising his house.
We are living in a time where homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of the rising costs of heating their homes and also conscious of the effects fossil fuels are having on the environment. As a result more and more people are turning to installing renewable sources of energy, such as heat pumps and solar panels as a means of providing energy for their homes. A heat pump can provide your heating and hot water, while a Solar PV system can provide you with free electricity to help with the running costs.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels enable the production of free electricity from sunlight to use in your building, reducing your import of electricity from the grid. Once electricity has been generated by the solar panels, it flows via the inverters and is converted into AC power. After conversion, electricity flows to your electric loads. The energy generated can either be used to power appliances directly, stored in batteries, charge your EV, or sent back to the power grid for distribution elsewhere.
This excess energy being produced can be exported to the grid, generating a credit from your electricity provider through the micro-generation support scheme, where you are paid for each kWh sent to the grid.
A 4kWp solar PV array could cost approx. €6,000 and could generate approx. 4,000 kWh per annum, and at current electricity rates provide an estimated saving of approx. €1,000-€1,200 per year. This system would have a payback period of 5-6 years. With a design life running beyond 25 years, such a system will deliver significant benefit beyond the initial payback period.
An air source heat pump can replace your home’s gas or oil boiler. They work by drawing air into the external unit. The air turns a refrigerant inside the unit into vapour. It then compresses the vapour to create heat. Finally, the heat is transferred to your heating system through your existing radiators or under floor heating pipework to provide you with heating in your home and for your hot water.
Heat pumps are an excellent low carbon heating solution, which run on electricity, and therefore combining them with solar panels will make your home more energy efficient.
Heat pumps can do all the things a boiler does. However, instead of relying on gas or oil as primary fuel sources, they run off electricity.
A heat pump is powered by electricity and therefore you wouldn’t have any more gas or oil bills. A heat pump can have a Coefficient of Performance (COP) of up to 4. Meaning that for every 1kWh of electrical energy that goes in to powering the heat pump you will get up to 4 times that energy as heat to the building. In this way, heat pumps are an extremely efficient and cost-effective means to heat your home.
It is possible to decarbonise your home with solar PV and heat pumps and there are generous grants available on www.seai.ie for homeowners. Please note however that heat pumps should only be installed in a well-insulated air-tight home with large surface area for heat transfer such as underfloor heating or larger radiators because of its low temperature supply water.
Interestingly, this requirement for insulation and larger heat sinks is negated in industrial, healthcare and commercial buildings with the ActionZero Escopod, our patented high temperature heat pump technology. As the EscoPod, supplies low pressure hot water at the same temperature as the conventional boiler it replaces, it integrates seamlessly into the existing plant room. In other words, there is no need for costly and disruptive building fabric and mechanical system upgrades.
Action Zero’s consulting team offer renewable energy feasibility studies for both Solar PV and Heat Pump Technology for its industrial, commercial and public sector clients.
Contact us today: Contact Us – Action Zero