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Using electricity from rooftop solar to heat water at home

“For people with solar, a heat pump water heater is a no-brainer.” 

Vicky Volvovski
June 4, 2024
A heat pump water heater with a digital display screen

A 50-gallon Rheem heat pump water heater

Ed Lau bought his 1956 ranch-style home located in Sunnyvale, California in 2012. The home had upgrades to its insulation and windows made over time, but most of the major appliances still ran on natural gas. 

Motivated by reducing pollution from fossil fuels, Ed upgraded the gas water heater to a heat pump water heater in 2019. His utility was running a rebate program and he already had solar panels installed, so it made financial sense.

Ed chose a 50 gallon Rheem heat pump water heater. He had to do some homework when it came to getting it installed. “It would have been easier to find a bigger outfit that could do both the electrical and the plumbing work, but I ended up going to my go-to plumber and then hired an electrician," he says. 

Overall, the new water heater has been working out great and cost him nothing to operate because it’s powered by his rooftop solar. “For people with solar,” Ed says, “a heat pump water heater is a no-brainer.” 

He does advise that people consider what the right tank size is for their home. “Heat pump water heaters take longer to recover than gas water heaters,” he says. This means that if your household frequently takes 3+ back to back showers, you might want to consider a larger tank. 

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