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Open AccessArticle

Economics of Grid-Tied Solar Photovoltaic Systems Coupled to Heat Pumps: The Case of Northern Climates of the U.S. and Canada

1
Department of Material Science & Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
2
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
3
School of Electrical Engineering, Aalto University, FI-00076 Espoo, Finland
4
Department of Energy Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gregorio García
Energies 2021, 14(4), 834; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14040834
Received: 15 January 2021 / Revised: 29 January 2021 / Accepted: 1 February 2021 / Published: 5 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Energy)
Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is now a profitable method to decarbonize the grid, but if catastrophic climate change is to be avoided, emissions from transportation and heating must also decarbonize. One approach to renewable heating is leveraging improvements in PV with heat pumps (HPs). To determine the potential for PV+HP systems in northern areas of North America, this study performs numerical simulations and economic analysis using the same loads and climate, but with local electricity and natural gas rates for Sault Ste. Marie, in both Canada and U.S. Ground-mounted, fixed-tilt, grid-tied PV systems are sized to match 100% of electric loads considering cases both with and without air source HPs for residences with natural gas-based heating. For the first time the results show North American residents can profitably install residential PV+HP systems, earning up to 1.9% return in the U.S. and 2.7% in Canada, to provide for all of their electric and heating needs. Returns on PV-only systems are higher, up to 4.3%; however, the PV capacities are less than half. These results suggest northern homeowners have a clear and simple method to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by making an investment that offers a higher internal rate of return than savings accounts, CDs and GICs in both countries. Residential PV and solar-powered heat pumps can be considered 25-year investments in financial security and environmental sustainability. View Full-Text
Keywords: photovoltaic; heat pumps; electrification; solar energy; renewable energy; northern climate; solar-assisted heat pumps; sustainable energy; net zero; greenhouse gas emissions photovoltaic; heat pumps; electrification; solar energy; renewable energy; northern climate; solar-assisted heat pumps; sustainable energy; net zero; greenhouse gas emissions
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pearce, J.M.; Sommerfeldt, N. Economics of Grid-Tied Solar Photovoltaic Systems Coupled to Heat Pumps: The Case of Northern Climates of the U.S. and Canada. Energies 2021, 14, 834. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14040834

AMA Style

Pearce JM, Sommerfeldt N. Economics of Grid-Tied Solar Photovoltaic Systems Coupled to Heat Pumps: The Case of Northern Climates of the U.S. and Canada. Energies. 2021; 14(4):834. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14040834

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pearce, Joshua M.; Sommerfeldt, Nelson. 2021. "Economics of Grid-Tied Solar Photovoltaic Systems Coupled to Heat Pumps: The Case of Northern Climates of the U.S. and Canada" Energies 14, no. 4: 834. https://doi.org/10.3390/en14040834

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