Fitting renewable energy technology to your home could save you money and allow you to reduce your carbon footprint significantly. For any of the following forms of renewable energy that we discuss, you may be able to take advantage of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme. The FIT scheme can provide you with financial support if you wish to have solar, wind, CHP, hydro or anaerobic digestion technology fitted. These installations can have a maximum energy consumption of 5MW or 2kW for CHP if you wish to benefit from this scheme.
Having solar panels fitted to your roof is one of the best and most obvious ways to power your home with renewable energy. How much you’ll need to spend will vary depending on the number of panels you want installed. The solar panel installation cost to have 12 panels (4kWh PV system) fitted to an average pitched roof, will land somewhere around £6000. For 12 solar panels, it will likely cost about £4500. Both of these prices factor in labour and material costs. Alternatively, you may choose to buy a DIY solar thermal kit. Of course there are plenty of smaller ways you can exploit the power of the sun. This includes but is not limited to solar powered security lights, a solar powered wireless speaker and solar LED garden lamps.
Another way to power your home with renewable energy is through wind turbines. You can either have roof mounted or freestanding wind turbines installed. They may store energy in batteries or send it directly to the grid. This is a particularly noteworthy option since the UK is the windiest country in Europe with Scotland being especially windy. It is important that you have wind turbines fitted in the right place and in the right way. You should investigate how windy your proposed installation spot is or/and hire an expert to perform an assessment before deciding whether or not to have wind turbines fitted. Between the cost of the turbine and the installation fee, you’ll likely pay about £2000 for a roof mounted wind turbine or £7000 for a 1.5kW free-standing turbine. You should also have maintenance checks performed on your turbines every couple of years. These checks will set you back about £100 to £200 depending on the size of the turbine.
For some householders, hydroelectric power will also be an option. You could have such technology fitted, if for example, a small stream passes within the curtilage of your property. Hydro power is a fairly reliable form of renewable energy. It is also a great choice as an alternative to a mains energy supply if you have or aspire to have an off-grid home. Unfortunately, the suitability of hydro power is very site specific. You need a stream on your property with a significant flow rate and one that has an appropriate height difference over a relatively short distance. A hydro power system, if well maintained, should last for approximately 40-50 years. For a 1kW hydroelectric system, the installation will probably cost around £5000 to £10,000.
Combined heat and power or CHP energy essentially captures the heat that is created as a by-product of electricity production. Micro CHP boilers are a novel way of powering your home with sustainable energy. On average, a full installation will likely set you back between £4000 and £7000. There are several types of CHP boilers, namely a Stirling Engine CHP Boiler, Internal Engine CHP Boiler and Fuel Cell CHP Boiler. CHP boilers can reduce your energy bills by about 25% due to their efficiency and can offset around 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year for an average, semi-detached house.
A less common form of renewable energy is anaerobic digestion. This involves using a digester machine to break down biological or food waste in order to produce biogas or/and bio fertiliser. Biogas can in turn be used to produce electricity to power your home. Fitting a domestic digester will probably cost several thousand pounds. As a new, emerging technology, finding domestic digesters for the home is unfortunately not straightforward.
With any of the sources of renewable energy discussed in this article, with the correct systems installed, you can also sell energy back to the grid if you wish.