Solar Heating

Heating with the Sun!

Solar Heat Pumps are a new category of high-efficiency solar systems that can take care of both your domestic hot water and your space heating, utilising the efficiency of heat pumps coupled with harvesting energy directly from the sun!

Unlike solar hot water systems, solar heat pumps are not limited to the summer-time sun, and they are not subject to damage from freezing, boiling, or fouling!

Here is one home-heating system going up. Note that we no longer install the Chinese-built SunPump® as we determined that the quality was not up to our standards.

Testing being done internationally has discovered that solar heating systems can be between 2 – 10 times more efficient than straight electric heating! This industry is still in its infancy, although one European company (Energie) has been designing and building one type of system for more than two decades. Unfortunately they have not yet sought the required UL or CSA rating for North American markets.

Does a solar heat pump company claim that their equipment is rated at a Coefficient Of Performance (COP) of 4, 5 or even 6? (That is, its efficiency is 400%, 500% or 600%.) Ask for a third  party verification of those numbers, and ensure that the certifying body stands behind their conclusions. Virtually all heat pumps in Canada are verified by the federal government’s Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). NRCan is currently testing a German system but have not tested the SunPump® or any other solar heat pump system. Buyer beware!

Until one or more European systems are certified for the Canadian market we recommend installing solar hot water systems and/or solar photo voltaic (PV) systems, as they have been developed to a far greater extent.


2 thoughts on “Solar Heating

  • Anne Blaney

    Hello! We have a home in Duncan with an existing heat pump. Then we have a house in Bowen Island (radiant heat tile that doesn’t seem to heat anything) that we would like to put a heat pump in. We would like solar on both places. I liked your website with ideas for connecting solar with heat pumps. We had a estimate for solar in Duncan but they said it could never produce enough energy to run a heat pump even with the largest system and battery ($30,000). So we were disappointed. We are new homeowners, having purchased both places within the last year. We sold our house in North Vancouver last year. So we are embarking on a dream we have had to live away from the city and run off of solar power somehow!

    • Ian Post author

      Your vision is a very good one, Anne! Sadly it is not obtainable without first greatly reducing the amount of energy required to run your homes. Net Zero homes do this, not our present housing stock or methods of building them. Having a significant way of storing energy is usually necessary, too.
      Solar heat pumps are regular heat pumps that harvest the sun’s heat energy (and the rain and wind which are stored forms of solar energy); they do not create energy but merely more efficiently move energy and heat both the air and domestic hot water.


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