Can You Power A Heat Pump With Solar Panels? Written by Tom Gill Reviewed by Charlie Clissitt Updated on 28 July 2023 ✔ You'll need a large solar panel system to power a heat pump✔ You won't be able to power your heat pump with solar panels at night✔ A 5.25 kilowatt solar panel system can power the average heat pumpHeat pumps are an eco-friendly alternative option to traditional fossil fuel boilers. They heat homes using the warmth in the air, soil, or water, and are powered by electricity.Electricity from the grid isn't always renewable though, so you might be wondering if you can power your heat pump with solar panels.We’ve investigated whether this is possible, while also looking at the costs involved, whether you'd need a storage battery, and how long it’d take to break even on a system that included a heat pump and solar panels.Want to see how much solar panels could cost you? Fill in our easy-to-navigate form with a few simple details. We’ll put you in touch with our trusted installers and they’ll get back to you with obligation-free quotes for you to compare. What type of central heating do you currently use? Gas boiler Electric boiler Oil boiler Other / not sure Get started Loading What's on this page? 01 Can you use solar panels to power a heat pump? 02 How many solar panels do you need to power an air source heat pump? 03 How much does an air source heat pump with solar panels cost? 04 Do you also need a storage battery to power an air source heat pump? 05 Is your home suitable for a heat pump and solar panels? 06 Summary 07 FAQs Can you use solar panels to power a heat pump?Yes, you can combine your air source or ground source heat pump with solar panels to make your heating and hot water network more environmentally friendly.You’d need a storage battery to power your heat pump with solar energy at night however, as without one you’d be relying on electricity from the grid to heat your home after dark. Can you fully power a heat pump with solar panels?You can power your heat pump with solar panels, as long as the system is large enough to meet your electricity demands.It'll be difficult to fully power a heat pump with solar panels though, because you'll also need to power the rest of your home.Say a 4 kW solar panel system is right for your property without a heat pump, you'll a system more than double this to meet a heat pump's energy requirements.Winter introduces problems too, because the sun likely won't shine bright enough to provide sufficient power for your heat pump. You'll likely only be able to supplement the powering of a heat pump during the colder months.As long as you’re still connected to the grid, you won’t need to worry about your heat pump running out of power, but you'll still be at mercy of high electricity prices.You could consider getting a solar thermal system, which uses sunlight to heat your water instead of generating electricity. It’ll help reduce the water-heating load on your heat pump, meaning you won’t need as much power.Less load on your heat pump means you can reduce the size of the solar panel system you’ll need. How many solar panels do you need to power an air source heat pump?House sizeHeat pump sizeElectricity requiredNumber of solar panels3 bedrooms5 kW25 kWh204 bedrooms10 kW60 kWh405+ bedrooms16 kW80 kWh62The 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.While a typical gas boiler’s efficiency rating is 95%, heat pumps usually hover around the 300% mark.So heating your home with a heat pump would require roughly 4,000 kWh, which you can provide with a 5.25 kW solar panel system.You’d 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 — around two square metres per panel — to fit the system you need. What type of central heating do you currently use? Gas boiler Electric boiler Oil boiler Other / not sure Get started Interview with a solar panel owner Kassy Homeowner Kassy lives in North Yorkshire, and has owned solar panels and solar batteries since February 2023. Q&A 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.” Want to know more? Read the full interview How much does an air source heat pump with solar panels cost?Size of heat pumpCost of heat pumpCost of solar panelsTotal costTotal cost with BUS5 kW£10,000£14,935£24,935£17,43510 kW£13,000£29,87039,870£32,37016 kW£15,000£47,949£62,949£55,449Air source heat pumps cost £10,000 on average, which goes down to £2,500 with the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme. This scheme will only cover 60,000 homes in its first three years though, so you’ll need to check if you're eligible soon.A 4.2 kW solar panel system will cost you £9,433, bringing the total cost to £11,933, if you receive a Boiler Upgrade Scheme discount.This won’t be large enough to power both your heat pump and your home, meaning you’ll need either a bigger solar panel system or a storage battery.A storage battery usually costs £4,500, and will need replacing after roughly 12.5 years, whereas a heat pump has a 20-year lifespan, and solar panels typically last at least 25 years.So you’ll need to spend £9,000 on solar batteries overall, on average. Do you also need a storage battery to power an air source heat pump?You don’t need a storage battery to power an air source heat pump, but it will help.Having a storage battery means you can store some or all of the energy generated by your solar panels during the day.This energy can then be used at night to run your heat pump, after your solar panel system has stopped generating electricity for the day. Is your home suitable for a heat pump and solar panels?Your home will be suitable for a heat pump and solar panels in most circumstances, as neither typically require planning permission.Of course, if you don't live in a property with accessible roof space, you won't be able to install a solar panel system. And, if you live in a listed building or a property within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you may need to ask for planning permission.Not having enough roof space is something to think about too, especially considering the high energy demands of heat pumps. SummaryCombining your heat pump with solar panels makes total sense from an environmental point of view, if you can afford it.You’ll reduce your emissions, power the bulk of your home’s heating needs using only the power of the sun, and you won’t need to replace your heat pump and solar panel system for 20 years or more.If you qualify for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, then getting a heat pump and solar panel system also makes total financial sense.Curious about what a solar panel system could cost you? Fill in our simple form with a few details. We’ll connect you to our trusted installers and they’ll get back to you with quotes for you to compare. FAQs Do heat pumps work well with solar panels? Heat pumps work with solar panels, but you'll need a large system to meet the pump's considerable power demands.Typically, you'll need to more than double your solar panel system to power both your home and a heat pump at the same time. The average three-bedroom home will use around 4,000 kWh to heat their home with a heat pump, so you'll need a 5.6 kW solar panel system to meet this needs.Even then, you'll only be able to supplement your heat pump's electricity needs with solar panels, because you won't always have enough sunlight to power it. Additionally, solar panels generate less electricity in the winter months, when homes need heating the most. Can a solar battery run a heat pump? A solar battery can run a heat pump, using energy stored from solar panels generating electricity during the day. You will need a large enough solar panel system, and a large enough solar battery, to run a heat pump effectively however.It's often a better idea to use your solar battery to store cheaper electricity during the night, which you can then use to power your heat pump. But even then, heating your home this way is not going to save you much money, considering the high upfront cost of storage batteries and heat pumps. Is a heat pump with solar panels worth it? It's worth getting a heat pump with your solar panel system if you want to reduce your carbon emissions. However, what you won't be able to do is fully power your heat pump with solar panels.This is because the energy demands of heat pumps is high, and a typical solar panel system for your average three-bedroom home will only be able to supplement this. What you would need is a much larger solar panel system which is capable of meeting your home's and your heat pump's electricity consumption.You can also consider a solar battery, but you'll need a battery with a large capacity in order to power a heat pump using solely stored electricity.What's most likely is that you'll use a mix of electricity from the grid and electricity from your solar panels to power your heat pump. Written by: Tom Gill Writer 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: Charlie Clissitt Editor Charlie has been researching and writing about the home energy market for over five years, and he has been the editor of The Eco Experts since 2021. Charlie's thoughts on solar panels have seen him featured in various publications, including The Times, Ideal Home, and Grand Designs Magazine. Ever since he can remember, Charlie has worried about the planet, and he one day dreams of owning a solar power farm.