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RMI Suggests Solar Installers Should Bundle Panels with Heat Pumps

RMI: Solar Installers Bundle Panels with Heat Pumps

Posted on Sept. 5, 2018 by Team iSolarWorld

Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) has recently come out with a study, which revealed that solar installers could offer rooftop customers even more savings by bundling solar panels with heat pumps and other electric appliances. The carbon benefits and financial costs of electrification of home heating in four US cities have been studied by the RMI. The financial costs were harder to overcome. Electricity comes from the rooftop, not from the grid.

A manager with RMI's electricity practice, Mike Henchen said that the customer just sticking with gas could lower cost, lower lifetime cost, than converting to a heat pump. “If electrification with installing rooftop solar is combined, a different outcome can be seen. It is very capital intensive so there’s an additional $15,000 in this case for installing rooftop solar, but the long-term energy reduction is substantial and outweighs that and makes the solar-plus-electrification a winning strategy on cost overall," said Henchen.

[Read more: Maryland Shopping Mall Solar System Becomes Operational]

The heat pump saves the homeowner $24,900 when it's solar powered for past 15-years and carbon emissions fall to zero. The study also said that solar installers could not only reduce a customer's electricity bill but also could eliminate the gas bill by tackling all the tasks typically reserved for natural gas. According to the report, this may even be an opportunity for the solar companies to expand their business or upsell their customers, who are already looking to go solar.

The homeowner saves the monthly cost of a gas connection during the time of complete electricity. Henchen said that one of the benefits in making the home all electric is that the customer can discontinue gas service altogether. There is a monthly fixed charge of over $30 for access to the gas system, and that monthly charge goes away entirely when the home becomes fully electrified. This is an additional opportunity for savings.

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