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Why get solar panels?

  • Generate free, green electricity
  • Reduce your electricity bill by up to 64%
  • Get paid for what you don't use

Can you power a heat pump with solar panels?

  • It’s possible to use a heat pump with solar panels, but you need a large system 
  • For solar panels, you’ll need adequate roof space, but you can install a heat pump on most properties
  • Air source heat pumps cost £10,000 on average, but grants are available
  • Heating your home with a heat pump would require roughly 4,000kWh
  • A storage battery isn’t needed, but it will help you use your heat pump at night

Heat pumps are a commonly-discussed conversation piece within the industry, thanks to its versatile options to heat your home. Heat pumps can get their heat from the air, ground and water and are powered by electricity. 

As we know, not all electricity from the grid is renewable, so can you power your heat pumps using solar energy? 

Simply put, the answer is yes. We’ll explain why in this guide, while giving you more information on the costs involved for heat pumps, solar panels and solar batteries. We’ll also explore whether a solar battery is needed and how long it would take to break even on a system that includes a heat pump and solar panels.

If you’ve already done your research and are ready for the next step, fill in our easy-to-use form where we’ll ask for a few simple details. Our trusted installers will then contact you directly with no-obligation quotes for you to compare.

Can I use solar panels to power a heat pump?

As solar panels use renewable energy to power your home and heat pumps run on electricity, it is absolutely possible to use them to power heat pumps. You would need a storage battery at night otherwise, you’ll be relying on electricity from the grid to heat your home, but we go into more detail about this below. Remember, though, your solar panel system will need to be large enough to meet your electricity usage. 

Although it’s possible, there are some challenges. The biggest of these is that you’ll need to power the rest of your home, in addition to any heat pumps. For example, if you currently have – or are looking to install – a 4kW system to match your usage without a heat pump, you’ll need double this to meet a heat pump’s energy requirements. 

The second challenge is winter. As the days are shorter and the sun doesn’t shine as often, it’s likely your solar panels won’t be able to provide sufficient power for your heat pump. It’s likely you’ll only be able to supplement the powering of a heat pump during the colder months. 

The good news is that as long as you remain connected to the grid, your heat pump won’t run out of power, but you’ll have to contend with high energy prices. There is a potential solution, however. 

A solar thermal system uses sunlight to heat your water, instead of generating electricity. This will help reduce the water-heating load on your heat pump, reducing the amount of power needed. This also means you would be able to reduce the size of the solar panel system you need.

Heat pump outside a home against a red brick wall

How do I know if my home is suitable for a heat pump and solar panels?

For solar panels, you’ll need adequate roof space. You won’t typically require planning permission, but if you’re in rented accommodation, you will need to ask the landlord, managing agent or freeholder for permission before going ahead with both. 

If you are unsure, you can check using the website. You’ll need the following information before starting to help determine energy efficiency levels: 

  • When it was built
  • If it has any insulation in the outer walls or roof
  • Whether it has single, double or triple glazed windows
  • How many bedrooms it has

If you have an energy performance certificate, you can use your postcode to fill in some details automatically. 

You can also check out our guide, The complete guide to solar panels for your home in 2024, which will offer guidance on costs, installation and which solar panels are best for your home.  

What’s the benefit of powering heat pumps with solar panels?

Powering heat pumps with solar panels boosts how quickly it can warm up, according to Eco Quote Today. This means you’re able to utilise hot water and heating faster than using a heat pump without electricity. 

Solar panels can also help diminish operational costs, especially if you install an air source heat pump. There’s also the sustainability aspect. 

By using solar panels to power your heat pump, you’re essentially utilising more renewable energy. If you don’t have a storage battery, however, your heat pump will still be reliant on the grid at night. 

How much does an air source heat pump cost with solar panels?

Size of heat pumpCost of heat pumpCost of solar panelsTotal costTotal cost with BUS
5 kW£10,000£14,935£24,935£17,435
10 kW£13,000£29,87039,870£32,370
16 kW£15,000£47,949£62,949£55,449

Air source heat pumps cost £10,000 on average, and thanks to the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS), you would only need to pay £2,500, which is open to England and Wales. 

The BUS allows residents to get £7,500 towards an air or ground source heat pump, including water source heat pumps and those on shared ground loops, or £5,000 towards a biomass boiler. The system’s maximum capacity must be less than 45kWh – anything over is not eligible. 

If you live in Scotland, you might be able to get an interest-free loan or grant to help improve your energy efficiency. If you live in Northern Ireland, you might be able to get a grant to replace your boiler.

What type of central heating do you currently use?

Get started

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

House size
Heat pump size
Electricity required
Number of solar panels
3 bedrooms
5 kW
25 kWh
4 bedrooms
10 kW
60 kWh
5+ bedrooms
16 kW
80 kWh

The table above shows different sizes of heat pumps and how many solar panels you’ll need, based on the size of your home. Working out how many solar panels you need means calculating how much energy your heat pump will require to heat your home. 

A typical UK home heated by a gas boiler will use 12,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of gas each year. Heat pumps are much more efficient, however. On average, a gas boiler’s efficiency rating is 95%, while heat pumps usually hover around the 300% mark. 

Heating your home with a heat pump would require roughly 4,000kWh, which you can provide with a 5.25kW solar panel system. You would still need to fall back on the grid to power the rest of your home’s electricity usage, though. 

If you want to power your home and heat pump with solar power, you’ll need a larger solar panel system. Make sure to check you have enough roof space. You’ll need around 2sq metres per panel to fit the system you need. 

Interview with a solar panel owner

close up of man's hands installing solar panels
Kassy lives in North Yorkshire, and has owned solar panels and solar batteries since February 2023.


How big is your solar panel system, and how roughly much did it cost?

“We had a combined package of solar panels and solar batteries, with a capacity of 13.8 kilowatts (kW). The total cost was £14,500. The panels were about £5,000.

“We have a detached house, and the panels virtually cover the rear roof.”

Are you able to power your heat pump with the electricity your solar panels generate?

“In the summer, when we used the heat pump for hot water, the solar panels were mostly sufficient to power our heat pump.

“I expect that in the winter this won’t be sufficient, but we will use overnight low-cost electricity to charge our batteries to power the heat pump.”

How much money do your solar panels save you on your electricity bills?

“We are saving with solar, but the heat pump and batteries are accounting for some of the savings.

“We used to pay about £100 a month to fuel the car, and £240 for gas and electricity. Our electricity bill for July 2023 was £60.

“As we haven’t had a full winter with the heat pump, we cannot say what the winter costs are. But overall, we are no longer concerned about fuel bills.”

Do I need a storage battery to power an air source heat pump?

New research from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE) has shown that combining rooftop solar panels with battery storage and heat pumps can improve heat pump efficiency, while reducing reliance on grid electricity. 

The research titled Analysis of the performance and operation of a photovoltaic-battery heat pump system is based on field measurement data, assessed the performance of a PV-heat pump-battery system based on a smart-grid ready control in a single-family house built in 1960 in Freiburg, Germany. 

Researcher Shubham Baraskar told PV Magazine: “It was found that the smart control increased the heat pump operation by boosting the set temperatures. The SG-ready control increased the supply temperature by 4.1 Kelvin for hot water preparation, which then decreased the seasonal performance factor (SPF) by 5.7% from 3.5 to 3.3. Furthermore, for space heating mode, the smart control decreased the SPF by 4% from 5.0 to 4.8.” 

While a storage battery isn’t needed, it will help you use your heat pump at night. A storage battery allows you to store some or all of the energy generated by your solar panels during the day, which can then be used at night to run your heat pump, after your system has stopped running for the day. 


  • Heat pumps work with solar panels, but you’ll need a large system to meet the pump’s power demands
  • On average, you’ll need to more than double your solar panel system to power both your heat pump and home at the same time. The average three-bedroom home will use around 4,000kWh to heat their home with a heat pump, so you’ll need a 5.6kW solar panel to meet these needs
  • You won’t always have sunlight to power your heat pump, especially during the winter months, when homes need heating the most
  • A solar battery can run a heat pump, as they use energy stored from solar panels generating electricity during the day. You will need a large solar panel and battery system to power your heat pump
  • It’s worth getting a heat pump with your solar system if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, but you won’t be able to full power your heat pumps with solar panels
  • What’s most likely is you’ll use a mix of both electricity from the grid and from your solar panels to power your heat pump

Written by:
Tom Gill
Tom joined The Eco Experts over a year ago and has since covered the carbon footprint of the Roman Empire, profiled the world’s largest solar farms, and investigated what a 100% renewable UK would look like. Tom has a particular interest in the global energy market and how it works, including the ongoing semiconductor shortage, the future of hydrogen, and Cornwall's growing lithium industry.
Reviewed by:
Tamara Birch, senior writer, The Eco Experts
Tamara has written about environmental topics for more than four years. This includes advising small business owners on cost-effective ways, like solar panels and energy-efficient products to help them become more sustainable. 
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