Ductless mini-split systems are much more efficient than forced-air systems or even traditional heat pumps. But heat pumps run on electricity. This electricity is sourced from coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels, the burning of which pollutes the environment. We know solar power avoids this, so will explain how having a split system installed with solar power can ensure your home is as energy efficient as you intend it to be.
Why a Split System and Solar Panels Go Together
Solar panels generate electricity whenever sunlight reaches them. The photovoltaic panels absorb the sun’s energy and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity, while an inverter transforms this into alternating current (AC) power. The AC electricity can then be used to power your mini-split heat pump directly.
Split systems are designed for energy efficiency. While a traditional HVAC system uses separate heating and cooling units, a heat pump both heats and cools your home, depending on the season and the mode it’s on. It can also be zoned, so occupants can adjust the temperature to their liking. This means one zone or room can be warmer than another or an indoor air handler can be turned off if the area is unoccupied, without affecting system performance or efficiency.
A split system is a perfect match with solar panels. This setup should be strongly considered if energy efficiency is your main objective.
Benefits of Powering Your Ductless Mini-Split with Solar
Having a mini-split system installed with solar power is advantageous in many ways. It can help:
- Lower Utility Costs: Since you’re using little grid power, if any at all, your utility bills can be much less. Also, many home solar systems generate more electricity than is used. Depending on your utility, you may be able to earn credits for the excess power generated.
- Reduce Air Pollution: As more homes combine split systems with solar, the need for fossil fuels is reduced. In turn, this reduces air pollution and its impact on climate. Lower demand for power plants may help slow global warming and climate change.
- Limit Environmental Impacts: Mini-split systems meet Energy Star guidelines for efficiency and use R410A refrigerant that does not damage the ozone layer. In addition to avoiding the use of harmful R22 coolant, connecting your mini-split to solar panels can further limit your carbon footprint.
Getting More From Your Solar Split System
Using solar increases flexibility. If you eventually decide to expand your split system, you can accommodate the increased power demand by adding more solar panels. The mini-split can meet your comfort needs without turning back to the grid and paying more again for electricity. This maintains efficiency even at night when you use a high-SEER heat pump.
To realize the full cost benefits, you want the solar batteries to last as long as possible. They can be damaged if the system is run when they’re more than 50% discharged. Therefore, most solar controllers turn off the solar panels at the 50% mark. To avoid issues, test the system by turning the mini split and thermostat up (then time how long it takes the batteries to discharge to 50%). That lets you: a) figure out how to operate it to achieve a 5.5-year battery lifecycle; and b) determine how many batteries you need.
When planned right, combining a split system with solar power can maximize comfort and efficiency.
Have Your Mini-Split System Installed by Oregon Ductless
If you’re looking to benefit from a mini-split, Oregon Ductless can help with ductless installation. We’ll assist in deciding on the best system based on efficiency ratings, the size of your home, and zoning preferences among other factors. Some customers prefer a standard AC but others opt to upgrade to a heat pump; we can help no matter your preferences. To have a split system installed by Oregon Ductless, a Daikin 3D dealer, call 503-832-5497 today.