Alternative Energy Mar. 8, 2011

Solar Heat Pump

Our heat pump will need to be replaced in the next year or two.  A couple days ago, I caught the tail end of a TV commercial advertising solar powered heat pumps.  A quick web search today turned me on to a local supplier for Lennox and their Solar Solutions.  These are high efficiency heat pumps that are ready to hook into their solar panel systems.  The solar panels are modular, and can sit flush on a South facing roof.  They run directly into the heat pump, and from there into the main circuit of the house if not needed for the pump.  You can have anywhere from 2 to 15 panels connected.  One concern I have is that there is no ability to store the energy, so it is really use it or lose it.

I called the local supplier to ask about pricing.  He said that 6 panels would run about $9,500 and then be eligible for a 30% tax credit.  I could expand each year and get the full tax credit in subsequent years for subsequent purchases.  Up through 2016 I think he said.  The heat pump itself would be in the $10,000 range and eligible for a $300-500 tax credit.

I definitely need to do more research.  I really want to look at the ROI vs. a regular high efficiency heat pump.  From their charts, in this area, using 4 panels, I could reduce my heating and cooling energy costs by about 50% averaged over a full year.  I'll let you know what I find out and figure out.

Another Type of Solar Heat

This article was in today's local paper.  As I understand it, he has solar collectors that warm antifreeze which is then pumped underground through pipes that then warm a 15 cubic yard patch of underground sand.  The sand then heats water pipes which then warm the house.

They estimate a 70% reduction in heating costs, but it cost over $29,000 to install.  Perhaps further refinement and a larger economy of scale will make this a viable option in some parts of the country.

Free Propane

Well, a $10 rebate at least.   In the grocery store this evening, I found a mail-in rebate offer from Miller Lite.  You do not need to buy any beer, but you do need to of legal drinking age and live in AL, AR, HI, KY, ME, MO, NC, NJ, NY, TX, VA or WV.  Buy a Blue Rhino propane tank, with or without the exchange of an empty tank, send in the rebate form and your receipt, and they send you $10.  I have three propane tanks, and get my own refilled.  The catch is, once they reach a certain age (I think 7 years), most places won't refill them.  So, I'll be taking my oldest tank to a trade-in place and getting the newest and nicest in the cage.  And I'll get $10 back!  What a deal.


I mentioned yesterday that I could not make out one of the items on my Great-Grandfather's inventory.  A reader, Army Wife, suggested that it might be creamer. I thought the first letter, looked like a "P" but her thought made sense because it came right after instant coffee.  A Google search for "non-dairy creamer in the 60s" led me to Pream, the first of it's kind.


  1. Solar is defiantly the way to go. Being able to heat your home that way is a great thing. I hope to hear what you find out.

  2. BVDD - it sounds promising. My generator does not have enough power to run my heat pump unless absolutely everything else is off. This system could help us keep cool or warm during extended power outages, assuming the sun is out. I'll be sure to provide updates.


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