Propane compared to Solar Energy
Many rural homeowners have been inclined to install and use a propane furnace (or furnaces) for home heating rather than installing and using a heat pump that uses electricity. In many cases, the homeowner was informed by someone or some website that propane heating is less expensive than heating with electricity. However, homeowners should carefully consider all factors when looking at propane compared to solar electric energy.
It is interesting to consider that most propane supplier websites clearly point to the advantages and cost savings of propane fuel when comparing propane compared to solar electric energy. Furthermore, it is even more interesting to consider that virtually all propane suppliers fail to post current propane pricing on their company website but make general statements that heating costs will be lower using propane compared to solar electric energy.
Keep in mind that cost may only be part of a homeowners decision around a home heating source. Some folks prefer the feel of gas heat in their home rather than heat produced by a heat pump powered by electricity. If possible, visit someones home that uses propane heat and another that uses electricity for home heat. This first hand experience may help you decide on the energy source that you prefer. Also, keep in mind that you may wish to power some appliances in your home with one energy type while powering other appliances with another energy type.
Some of the areas that should be researched include the initial cost of installation (labor and equipment), comparison of the unit cost of each type of energy, possible rebates offered by local utilities or goverment agencies, maintenance costs of equipment for both heat types among other factors. The area of your home is another factor to consider. A multiple location propane supplier may have used energy comparison for one location that does not apply to your area. As a result, the cost of electricity may not be accurate for your area. Be sure to make contact with your electric utility for information on solar electricity for home use rather than relying on a propane representative to provide a balanced comparison of both enery types and the pros and cons of both.