With people across Ireland exploring different ways of optimising energy efficiency and reducing their household energy bills, it is little wonder that many households have decided to opt for solar panels along with air to water heat pumps. 

Here we’ll explain what heat pumps are, how they can be used in conjunction with solar PV panels, and whether they could be a viable option for you and your household in your quest to achieve lower bills and net zero emissions.

different ways of optimising energy efficiency

Air to Water Heat Pumps

First, let’s look at what heat pumps are. In short, heat pumps are renewable heating systems which contribute to lowering energy costs and reducing carbon emissions.

There are different types of heat pumps, but air source heat pumps, which are the most common, extract heat from the air and then increase the temperature of this air for heating homes.

Heat pump systems are much more energy efficient than even the most modern boilers, providing consistent and abundant heat, more than capable of heating Irish homes.

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How Air to Water Heat Pumps Work

Air to water heat pumps extract air from outside through an outside unit – with an evaporator (heat exchanger) which passes air into a compressor, which increases its temperature.

A second heat exchanger condenses hot vapour and heat, in the form of water, is passed onto a heating or domestic hot water system.

This is all done by using electricity, which is where photovoltaic (PV) solar panels come in.

Other types of heat pumps

Use the earth as a source of energy

A Ground Source Heat Pumps

Use the earth as a source of energy; they extract heat from the ground, transferring it to the heat pump. The collector pipework, which extracts the heat, is placed under the ground.

Use water sources like rivers or lakes as a source of heat

Water Source Heat Pumps

Use water sources like rivers or lakes as a source of heat. Similar to a ground pump system, they take heat from water through a collector pipework before transferring it to the heat pump.


Air to Air Heat Pumps

These heat pumps do not heat water – these systems merely distribute hot (and cold) air through an air unit, like a typical air conditioning unit.

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A typical solar installation is fully paid back within 7 years. All solar panels we recommend are under warranty for 25 years, so you will enjoy at least 17 years of free energy generation.

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The Benefits of Replacing Boilers with Heat Pumps

  • Make your home much more comfortable
  • Reduce energy usage
  • Eliminate oil/gas bills
  • Create a healthier home
  • Contribute to fight against climate change
  • Control heating times, areas and temperatures

How much do heat pumps cost in Ireland?

Heat pumps in Ireland typically cost between €12,000 and €16,000, but the cost can be significantly offset by grants available from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI).

The exact cost depends on the home and would require an assessment, which is also needed to avail of SEAI grants for air to water heat pumps.

How much do heat pumps cost in Ireland

The Cost of Solar PV Panels

The cost of solar PV panels depends on the size and quality of the system, but in Ireland, a solar system generally costs between €4,000 and €12,000. While this might seem costly, an average system will pay for itself in around 6 years.

Those installing solar panels on their home can also avail of SEAI grants.

useful type of solar power systems are solar PV

Combining Solar Panels and Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are an excellent, low carbon method of heating your home, but they run on electricity.

So with PV solar panels able to produce abundant, renewable energy from sunlight, the combination is ideal for those who wish to reduce their carbon footprint while saving money at the same time.

Solar panels work by producing electricity from using the limitless energy of the sun. The sun’s rays shoot out photons which interact with semiconductor materials such as silicon inside solar cells in a PV panel.

These photons knock electrons free inside solar cells, creating electrons on one side of the p-n junction and holes on the other.

These positive electrons and holes are free to move around, and DC electricity is created, ultimately being transformed into AC electricity in a solar inverter. 

Perhaps surprisingly, solar panels are well suited to Ireland as the country gets up to 1,600 hours per year – with the sunny southeast getting the most sunshine.  

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Grants for Air to Water Heat Pumps and Solar Panels

For those wishing to install solar PV panels on their home or business, the SEAI provides domestic and non-domestic solar grants of up to €2,400.

The SEAI gives €900 per kWp up to 2kWp, and then €300 more for each kWp up to the maximum grant amount of €2,400.

The SEAI also has a grant scheme for heat pumps, which can be a great help in paying the installation costs.

All homeowners, including private landlords, whose homes were constructed and occupied before 2021 can apply for the SEAI heat pump grants.

The SEAI offers €4,500 to apartments and €6,500 to semi-detached, end of terrace, detached and mid-terrace homes. These grants relate to the main types of heat pumps – air to water, ground source and water to water.

solar energy grants


Perhaps – because heat pumps work with lower temperature water, you could need to replace your radiators with low temperature radiators.

Yes. To qualify for a heat pump grant, your home must be well-insulated and have low heat loss so that your heat pump system performs well.

The SEAI offers a grant worth €200 towards the technical assessment, which is only payable in conjunction with the heat pump system grant. To qualify,  only SEAI registered Technical Advisors can be used. The heat pump system as well as any necessary upgrades must also be completed.

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