Heck Yeah, Heat Pumps! Summer & Autumn Portfolio

In Central New York, many homeowners are decommissioning their fossil fuel HVAC system in favor of clean, green systems, like air-source or geothermal heat pumps.

These systems still need electricity to run. By investing upfront and adding solar at the same time, you can drastically reduce your utility bills AND go green.

Even the Sungineer household is getting in on the action – our home and office is now heated and cooled by Mitsubishi Hyper-Heat mini-splits.

one of three outdoor units at the Sungineer homestead

And yes, even on the coldest days of winter (3 degrees F on 12/24/22 and -7 degrees F on 2/3/23), they have performed admirably!

HEAT PUMPS were the theme of our summer and autumn 2022 installation queue. Over a third of our projects were for properties that had recently installed heat pumps or had plans to do so in the immediate future!

Let’s take a closer look at our summer and autumn projects that involved heat pump transitions…

19.95 kW Grount-Mounted QCells System

This homeowner installed a geothermal heat pump system a few years ago, and their next vehicle will be electric. Producing electricity on-site made sense from an economic perspective. After year 12, this homeowner will have recouped the upfront cost of the system and will enjoy free electricity from years 12 through 25-30!

Even though their geothermal contractor had no trouble with the groundwork, we sure did. The soil conditions at the solar site were more like lasagna layers of impenetrable hardpan sandwiched between chunky rocks. This system required an alternative groundwork technique – literally digging holes and pouring concrete.

12.48 kW Ground-Mounted QCells System

This homeowner planned to decommission her oil-fired furnace in favor of air-source heat pumps that can provide both heating AND cooling. Twenty years ago, cooling was entirely optional in the Finger Lakes region, but these days I’m not so sure…

The system is similar in design to the system above – QCells 480-watt bifacial commercial modules with SMA string inverters.

The solar payback period is just over 10 years, but considering the cost of heating with oil, the overall payback period is probably even lower!

“I really appreciate the individual care and attention you get working with Sungineer. The person you email with or call is also the person who shows up at your site, so nothing gets lost in translation. Communication was very, very clear. I always knew what was happening when, and the accompanying documentation is also excellent. And the work itself is beautiful! I really can’t say enough good things about Sungineer! Beautiful work and lovely people!”

KD, homeowner

13.77 kW Ground-Mounted REC System

For this homeowner, long-term system production and savings were most important. The REC Alpha Pure modules (with a 92% production warranty after 25 years!) produced the most electricity, and therefore saved the most, in the long term.

To mitigate a higher upfront cost for a premium module, the homeowner combined low-interest Green Jobs Green New York financing, sponsored by NYSERDA, with a Solar & Energy Efficiency Personal Loan from our local Alternatives Federal Credit Union.

Ready for the installation of their air-source heat pump system!

8.1 kW Roof-Mounted REC Expansion

This homeowner already had a solar PV system, installed in 2015 on the south-facing roof of their house. When they installed a geothermal heat pump in 2021, their usage quickly outpaced their generation. Time to add solar to the garage!

Since space was at a premium, we selected REC modules, to give the best wattage per square meter.

The photo above shows the fall protection we install on steep roofs, like this one. While it does require roof penetrations (i.e. holes) to install, the fall protection is removed after the job and flashings with caulk are installed at all mounting locations, ensuring no roof leaks.

“Very knowledgeable and thorough, service was very prompt and friendly… You were the best contractor I have ever worked with. Just keep doing what you are doing. I have recommended you to many friends.”

VL, homeowner

25.65 kW Ground-Mounted QCells System

This project involved a bit of red tape intrigue. Between initially contacting the building department and submitting the building permit application, the local jurisdiction enacted a very unexpected moratorium on the installation of solar PV systems – including residential applications. The homeowners graciously and enthusiastically worked with us to craft an appeal, and the application was granted.

In the end, their system will generate enough electricity to power their air-source heat pumps, plus the appliances in a new addition to their home.

“Every aspect of working with Sungineer to install our solar was outstanding. The only negative was due to the unforeseen challenges with the Town of [redacted] and their permitting issues (this had nothing to do with us or Sungineer). Sungineer worked proactively with us to resolve these issues. Their experience helped us respond in a way that allowed us to proceed within the calendar year!”

JC, homeowner

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