Can I use solar panels and a heat pump together?

17 June 2024 | OVO

More and more people are looking to cut energy costs (and carbon) with the help of a heat pump. And with a £7,500 government grant up for grabs and great-value energy plans around (like OVO’s Heat Pump Plus), it’s no surprise.

Heat pumps are becoming a realistic option for lots of us. But the key question that often comes up is: what about solar? Is it possible to cut heating costs even more by hooking solar panels up to a heat pump?

The answer is yes! You can use solar and heat pumps together to make your heating even greener– and cut costs. But before you get started, here are the key things to consider.

How many solar panels do I need to power my heat pump?

A heat pump uses quite a lot of electricity. So most people with both solar and a heat pump end up powering their heating with a combination of electricity from solar and the grid. This can cut running costs significantly.

If you want to power your heat pump using only solar energy you’ve generated, you’ll need lots of panels and a battery. For example, to power a 5kW heat pump (the average size for a 3 bedroom house), you’d need 20 solar panels! This would take up about 30m2 of roof space. You’d also need permission from your network operator.

When looking at your electricity needs, a good rule of thumb is you’ll need 4 panels per 1kW system. Your solar surveyor will be able to give you a more accurate quote based on your setup.

OVO customers sat in living room with heat pump in background

Do I need a battery?

For most people, combining solar with a storage battery is a good idea. That’s if you want to use solar power to heat your home once the sun’s gone down. It’ll add to the upfront cost, but unlocks other benefits like charging up your battery from the grid when energy is cheapest. It also means you can store excess solar energy generated during the day, to power your heat pump in the evening.

How much will it cost?

Heat pump and solar panel installation costs vary depending on your setup. The average cost of a heat pump installation in 2022 was £12,0841 (or £4,584 with today’s government grant). A 12 panel solar installation with a 2.6kWh battery costs in the region of £8,500 before the grant.2

Find out more about solar here.

Are solar panels and a heat pump right for me?

Most homes will be able to have both solar and a heat pump. It’s worth thinking about how much roof space you have. This will impact how many solar panels you can have.

Don’t worry if you have a smaller roof. Some solar panels are better than none, and can still help you reduce the running cost of your heat pump.

You’ll also need space for the heat pump itself. It should be in an easily accessible place, close to the house and usually 1 metre from the property boundary.

It’s also important to consider why you’re installing solar with heat. These technologies are becoming more affordable, but there’s still a high upfront cost to think about. Especially if you want enough solar and a battery to power all your heating.

Customers with an average-sized solar system normally power their heat pump with a mix of electricity from solar and the grid. If you combine your heat pump with an average-sized system and an add-on like Heat Pump Plus, you can reduce your heating bill considerably.

Getting advice from an engineer is really important, as lots of things can affect how well solar and a heat pump will work for you. For example, how much sunlight you get, where in the country you are, the space available, how you typically use your heating etc.

Modern house with solar panels on the roof

Interested in saying goodbye to gas?

Find out more about getting a heat pump or a solar quote through OVO.

Sources and references:

1 Average Heat Pump Installation Costs 2022, MCS Data Dashboard:

2 OVO’s solar package quote for a detached 3 bedroom house: