In the market for a new central heating or cooling system? Why not by one that is "solar ready?"
Like an HD-ready TV, Lennox's "SunSource Home Energy System" is a residential heating and cooling system ready to be run off solar panel modules. On it's own the unit--either central AC or a heat pump--operates (and costs about) the same as any central heating and cooling system. But package the solar panels and solar subpanel together and you've got a home heating and cooling system powered by the sun. Not bad, considering heating and cooling accounts for 60% of the energy usage in a given home.
Up to 15 solar panels can be installed on the rooftop, allowing for additional home devices to be run off the harnessed solar power. In some instances, extra power stored by the solar system can be sent back to the utility company for a credit.
In one example provided by Lennox, a home in Corpus Christi, Texas can save up to 86% annually on cooling costs using a SunSource system and 15 solar panels.
The system also features online monitoring, allowing the homeowner to track energy used and energy stored as well as tracking carbon offset.
Cost for a system is subject to many variables, including the type and size of heating or cooling system purchased as well as the number of solar panels included. States have their own incentive programs for the purchase of these types of systems, too. For example, residents in Portland, Ore., can see as much as 94% of the cost and installation of the solar module covered by tax credits.