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4 August 2023

Solar panels vs heat pump

Solar panels on house
See what you can save

So, you’re thinking about making the switch from your carbon-producing gas boiler to renewable energy. Should you opt for solar panels or a heat pump? Both are natural, energy-efficient energy sources that are resilient to gas prices. So, what if you used both, for a carbon-free home?

What are Heat Pumps?

There are many types of heat pumps. Air-to-water heat pumps use the free air from outside, creating renewable energy that’s strong enough to heat your hot water and home. This method is not only four times more efficient than your carbon-producing gas boiler, but by using free air, you’ll never receive a gas bill again.

What are Solar Panels?

Solar panels sit on top of your roof, using the sun’s rays to create clean, green, carbon-free electricity for your home by absorbing sunlight through photovoltaic (PV) cells. By using solar panels to keep your heat pump running, you’re harnessing the power of the sun and the free air outside for a low-carbon, efficient and toasty home.

What is the Difference?

Solar panels create free electricity from the sun’s rays, to power any electric device in your home. Heat pumps take the free thermal energy from the air outside, apply pressure, and use it to heat your water and home. By using solar panels and heat pumps together, you won’t need a carbon-producing gas boiler at all. Instead, you’ll benefit from a low-carbon home that won’t be held ransom by rising bills either.


Because solar panels depend on the position towards the sun, your solar panel installation needs to be precise. From the angle of your panels to where they sit on your home, it all has an impact on efficiency. Heat pumps transfer energy rather than generate it, making their efficiency a key reason to use them to heat your home. Not only four times more efficient than gas boilers, just like solar panels, heat pumps rarely require maintenance either (looking at you, gas boilers).


The process of installing both systems will need experts to help. At Aira, a clean energy expert will conduct a free home energy assessment for your heat pump and solar panels. Your solar panels will be an ideal match for a sloped roof without sun obstructions that cause shading. As for your Aira air-to-water heat pump, it’ll sit snugly by the side of your home.


The price of solar panels and the cost of air source heat pumps have an upfront investment that’s heavily offset by attractive government grants such as the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS). If you choose to invest in a heat pump, you’ll pay for the equipment and installation in a series of handy instalments with the Aira all-inclusive plan, offset by government grants along with a 10 year Comfort Guarantee. Buying solar panels doesn’t need to cost more upfront either, as finance plans are available which includes the prices of mounting and inverters.

CO2 Emissions

Your boiler cupboard hides a dirty secret, and removing the carbon emission-generating gas boiler could be the most impactful decision you ever make for the environment, saving 75% on carbon emissions and increasing to 100% when on a fossil-free electricity energy tariff. Thankfully, both heat pumps and solar panels, especially combined, make a great environmental alternative to your gas boiler. Verdict: Both win!

How Long They Last?

Both solar panels and heat pumps will last significantly longer than your average gas boiler, with life spans ranging from 15-20 years for a heat pump and, since solar panels do not have any moving parts, you can even expect them to last for up to 40 years.

Combining Solar Panels

To heat your home with as little carbon as possible, you can install a heat pump with solar panels or combine your heat pump with a green fossil-free electricity energy tariff. Using a combined system of solar energy with heat pumps is the most impactful way to reduce your home carbon emissions to close to none while also drastically cutting your energy bills.

What is right for you?

Deciding how to power your home in the post-boiler revolution is a decision that you can take lightly – that is, light on your pocket and the planet. By combining both solar panels and heat pumps, you’ll be able to harness nature’s power of sun and air to stay cosy in Winter. Find out how much you’d save on a new heat pump system that cuts back on bills and emissions – while keeping your home just as warm as a boiler has.

From the Aira team 

Yes – and if you use solar energy to heat your home, you’ll not only remove carbon from the equation but you’ll also have a fully green heating system that pays for itself. 

Heat pumps are four times more efficient than a gas boiler. For every 1kW energy put in, you get around 4kW out, compared to a boiler where you only get 0.9 kW out.

Heat pumps also represent better value for money, because they are much easier to maintain and last longer. They can last over 18 years – that's 25% longer than gas boilers (based on average lifetime of a boiler of 10-15 years).

Air source heat pumps are four times more efficient than gas boilers, emit 75% less carbon and are much more environmentally friendly. Switching to a heat pump will help you save on your energy bills. If you don't have any other gas appliances in your home, you pay another gas bill ever again.

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