Innovations surrounding solar HVAC system technology has been advancing rapidly in the past few years. Simply put, a solar HVAC system harnesses the suns energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells and uses it to power your heating and cooling system.
The PV panels are typically mounted on the roof of the home, the south side being preferable. The two types of systems are grid-tied and stand-alone. With the first type the PV system connects to the local utility company to use as a supplemental power source; with the second type the system remains independent and completely powers the home.
Key Benefits of Solar Power
Saves money in the long run
Minimal impact on the environment
Independence from utility company power outages
When the HVAC is idle, PV power can be used to power other appliances
In 1999 Kansas declared renewable power equipment exempt from property taxes
The federal government provides energy tax credits for installed solar equipment although the details change frequently
You can start small with just a couple of panels and add more as you can afford them
Things to Consider Before Installing Solar HVAC
There are several things to consider before making this upgrade to your home. Does your roof receive enough sun? Tall trees can block the sun during the prime time of day. Youll need to get permission from your homeowners association if your neighborhood has one.
Have your HVAC contractor perform a comprehensive evaluation on your homes wiring and breaker box. If you are also upgrading your HVAC system, consider whether you would benefit from a temperature zoning system; in many cases this can also result in a considerable drop in energy consumption.
Is your roof large enough for the PV panels? In general, each panel will need about fifteen square feet in a sunny area. Your contractor can take measurements and determine if your roof is a good candidate. Otherwise, a ground-mount might be a feasible option.
The bottom line is that a solar HVAC system can reduce not only your carbon footprint but can save money in utility bills. Who doesnt like that?