Geothermal vs. Solar

Once you make the decision to reduce your carbon footprint you have to decide what technology you are going to utilize. Estimates show that 9 out of 10 people have a basic understanding of solar panels, but only 1 of 10 know about geothermal heat pumps. The technology behind geothermal heat pumps is equally as developed as that of solar panels but because geothermal heat pumps are buried underground they fail to receive the recognition they deserve. Geothermal heat pumps and solar panels are good options for someone looking to reduce their carbon footprint and each option is going to be a better fit for different homes.

Why not both?

If you can afford it, the best option is to utilize both geothermal heat pumps and solar panels. Solar panels are a great compliment to a geothermal heating and cooling system. If you can install a geothermal heat pump along with solar panels you can live entirely off the grid. Solar panels utilize the suns rays to generate electricity. This electricity can be used to operate a geothermal heat pump which is an efficient way to heat and cool your home.

If you must choose between a geothermal heat pump and solar panels there are some things you should take into consideration when deciding which technology is right for you.

Functionality

An important benefit of ground source heat pumps is that they are functional in any climate. The temperature just below the earth's surface ranges from 45-65 degrees regardless of where you are. Solar panels on the other hand, have varying efficiencies based on climate. In the Southwest part of the United States, there are approximately 300 sunny days a year making solar panels a good investment, however in the Northeast cloudless skies occur only 50% of the time. The limited number of cloudless days will greatly decrease the efficiency of solar panels.

Also, a single geothermal heat pump can provide enough air supply to heat and cool even a larger home. In contrast, solar panels are primarily used to supply electricity but if you choose to use them to heat and cool your home the number of panels you need to install increases exponentially. It would require a great deal of space to install enough solar panels to heat and cool a home.

Costs

Costs are on the forefront of everyone's mind when it comes to installing a new energy system. The primary thing that you need to consider is the purpose of your new system. Is it for electricity or heating and cooling?

If you are simply looking for a new source of electric, solar panels are the way to go. However, if you are looking to heat and cool your home in an efficient and eco-friendly manner geothermal heat pumps are for you.

Both geothermal and solar panels have high up front costs with long-term paybacks. The upfront costs for solar panels are higher than those of a geothermal heat pump if you plan to use the panels for heating and cooling. The costs are going to vary from house to house so contact a qualified installer for more specific cost benefits