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Renewable energy

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Before you consider installing a renewable energy device, we recommend that you are saving energy before you start generating it.

In practice, this means checking that you have:

  • insulated your home (loft, walls, water cylinders, pipes, windows, doors)
  • installed energy efficient appliances (replace old appliances with A-rated ones)

To find out more about saving energy in your home, vist the Energy Saving Trust website (external website).

Renewable energy comes from natural sources and is replenished by nature. If you want to install a renewable energy device, you may need planning permission.

Air source heat pumps

Air source heat exchange systems vary in size, but can be as small as a bathroom or kitchen fan. They are easy to install, energy efficient and work by extracting heat from the air outside to heat your house on the inside. If you are considering installing an air source heat pump, you will need electricity to operate the pump.

Anaerobic digesters

These are sealed containers where waste or organic matter is broken down by adding bacteria in the airless environment of the container. It produces biogas and biofertiliser as a by-product.

Biomass boilers

These are usually wood-fuelled heating systems. Stand-alone stoves or boilers are available that you can fuel with pellets, logs or chips.

Ground source heat pumps

These transfer heat from the ground into a building to provide space heating. They can also pre-heat domestic hot water. If you are considering installing a ground source heat pump, you will need electricity to operate the pump.

Small-scale hydroelectric schemes

Small-scale hydroelectric schemes harness the gravitational force of falling or flowing water to produce electricity.

Small-scale wind turbines

Modern wind turbines vary in size and power output. It is best to have the turbine high on a mast or tower. However small-scale building-integrated wind turbines are becoming available.

Solar thermal panels

Solar-thermal systems generate hot water using sunlight. They are effective from late February to late October. On sunny winter days they pre-warm the water. You need a south-facing pitched roof, a pitch of 40 degrees is ideal. The energy stored is captured in a hot water cylinder.

Solar photovoltaic panels

These systems generate electricity from sunlight. They are more expensive than solar thermal systems, but the cost is coming down as the technology becomes more widely available. As well as generating free electricity, you may be able to take advantage of feed-in tariffs (external website).

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