Moving away from fossil to renewable energy sources is an important part of reducing our carbon emissions on a national level. Especially if your business is very energy intensive or if you occupy a big space, investing in renewable energy systems will make sense both financially and environmentally. Government incentives can help you get more back on your investment and stakeholder and clients will appreciate your active role in reducing carbon emissions.
There are different ways to generate and store energy. Depending on the type of your organisation and the building service systems and machinery you’re using, electricity might make more sense than heat. But in some cases heat or a combined generation system will make sense..
The most common way to generate electricity in a urban setting is by installing solar panels. However depending on the size of your land and electricity demand you might also consider other options like wind.
The Energy Saving Trust provides a good overview of all your common renewable energy generation options here Opens in a new window.
This video gives an introduction into how solar panels generate electricity.
More background information on solar panels is available through the Energy Saving Trust Opens in a new window.
Wind turbines are of course another iconic means of generating renewable energy. Whilst they require space to install, they can generate vast amounts of energy, enabling you to power either very power hungry sites or feed energy back into the grid.
More background information on wind turbines like how to calculate your expected output and how to apply for planning permission is available through the Energy Saving Trust.
Other generation systems
The Energy Saving Trust provides an overview of all major renewable electricity systems on their website, including Micro combined heat and power systems.
Smart Export Guarantee
The UK Government encourages households and small businesses to invest in renewable electricity generation not by providing support with the investment, but by offering a ‘Smart Export Guarantee’: once the system is installed and they start producing more energy than the user needs, participants receive a payment for every unit they feed into the grid. You can find out more about the scheme and how to apply here Opens in a new window.
There is a number of different ways to generate heat from renewable sources. The Energy Saving Trust provides a good overview of all your most common options here Opens in a new window.
Renewable Heat Incentive
To encourage households to invest in renewable energy systems the UK Government has created the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. A household that installs a renewable energy system system and meets all the scheme requirements, can be paid for every unit of renewable heat they produce for a number of years. How high this annual payment is, depends highly on the heating system and other characteristics of your dwelling, but lie roughly between £150 and £400 for solar thermal panels. The scheme comes with strict guidelines, but it can be highly profitable.
The Energy Saving Trust provides a useful guide to how to install renewable energy systems here Opens in a new window.
This provides helpful tips for finding a reputable installer and getting a quote, but also for checking planning permission and building warrants as well as insurance policies and financial support options.