Moving away from fossil to renewable energy sources is an important part of reducing our carbon emissions on a national level. There are a number of different types of renewable energy system that will be suitable for different types of property and different budgets.
There are different ways to generate and store energy in your home. First of all you need to decide hat sort of energy you want to generate: Electricity or heat.
The most common way to generate electricity at home 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.
This video gives an introduction into how solar panels generate electricity:
The average cost of a domestic solar PV system in England is £6,200 (for 4kWp).
More background information on solar panels is available through the Energy Saving Trust.
Smart Export Guarantee
The UK Government encourages households 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 household 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.
There is a number of different ways to generate heat from renewable sources at your home. The Energy Saving Trust provides a good overview of all your most common options here.
Biomass systems burn wood pellets, chips or logs to provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers. A wood-fuelled biomass boiler could save you up to £700 a year compared to an old electric heating system.
Find our more about Biomass via the Energy Saving Trust website.
Ground source heat pumps
Ground source heat pumps (GSHPs) use pipes that are buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This heat can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home.
Find our more about GSHPs via the Energy Saving Trust website.
Air source heat pumps
Air source heat pumps (ASHPs) absorb heat from the outside air to heat your home and hot water. They can still extract heat when air temperatures are as low as -15°C. ASHPs need electricity to run, but because they are extracting renewable heat from the environment, the heat output is greater than the electricity input.
Find our more about ASHPs via the Energy Saving Trust website.
Solar water heating
Also known as ‘solar thermal’ systems, this technology uses free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water.
Find our more about solar thermal via the Energy Saving Trust website.
Thermal stores are becoming increasingly common as a means of storing excess heat generated. They are used with an individual renewable heating technology or combine different renewable heating technologies. Thermal stores can also be used as a renewables technology with a conventional boiler or immersion heater.
Find our more about thermal stores via the Energy Saving Trust website.
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.
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.