Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Wind, Micro-Hydro Power and Micro CHP (Combined Heat and Power)
Heating and Cooling:
Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP), Air Source Heat Pumps (ASHP), Solar Thermal, Biomass Boilers (Wood Chip, Log) and Air- Air Heat Pumps for Heating and Cooling
So is it for you?
A lot has changed in the field of domestic renewable energy recently. Solar power has taken off, while some incentives have changed, and others have been introduced. So, does green energy at home still make sense? And what should you look out for if you’re thinking of taking the plunge? Let us guide you through some of the basics.
What types of domestic renewables are there?
For generating electricity, the most common is solar PV – with half a million installed in the UK to date. There are also domestic-scale wind power and micro hydro – but these are seen far less often and need very specific locations to perform well.
For heat, biomass (wood fuelled) boilers are becoming more popular. Solar water heating and heat pumps are other options.
Micro Combined Heat and Power (micro-CHP) systems provide both heat and electricity, but this is still an emerging technology. It could be one to watch in coming years, but it doesn’t seem to have taken off just yet.
Making the right choice
It’s important to have a firm idea of what you want to achieve before you start. Are you looking to save energy and make your home more sustainable, or save money? Do you want to provide for all your energy needs with green energy? Solar PV and solar water heating systems won’t affect the way you use energy in the home – they are ‘add-ons’ that can provide benefits on top of what you already have by producing energy.
You can use our Renewables Selector tool to help with the decision-making.
To invest in solar PV, you’ll firstly need a more or less south-facing roof that isn’t shaded. You’ll then need to think about your current electricity demand and what size of system you might need. We can help you do the maths.
Domestic-scale wind power is probably only suitable for the most exposed and isolated homes in the UK. It’s definitely not an option in towns and cities, but where it is suitable, it can deliver good results.
Solar hot water is often feasible for households as an add-on energy saving technology, again you’ll need a more or less south-facing roof that isn’t shaded. It’s important to think about the amount of hot water you use. For a small family currently using a gas boiler, the impact would be relatively small, but for a large family with electric heating, the financial benefits could be a lot more significant.
Heat pumps are technically suitable for many households, but require a high level of insulation installed before they start to deliver the desired efficiency.
For a biomass heating system, you’ll need lots of space. For the vast majority of urban homes it won’t be practical, but in bigger homes and rural areas, it’s one to consider.
Who you gonna call?
As experienced installers we can give you a meaningful idea of the cost involved and estimate the performance of technologies in your home. We use a standard methodology in our calculations – we dont just make it up.
If you’re choosing between different technologies, as we do all of them to you can guarantee our recommendations are impartial.
Wrapped up in red tape?
For domestic-scale renewables, there is not much legislation holding you back. Most technologies can be permitted developments unless you live in a conservation area or similar. We will advise you on this, but you should double-check with your local authority. Compliance with building regulations is something we will ensure.
Picking the right company
As an MCS-accredited installer we will only install accredited products and we have signed up to certification schemes that gives you protection. Very little beats a good recommendation from someone you trust – we are more than likely to have carried out an installation for someone you know and we can give you their contact details (with their permission of course) . If for example, you’re considering solar PV because your neighbour has it on their roof, find out about their installation experience.
We also provide comprehensive warranties,
Making financial sense
It is important to remember that renewable energy technologies do not come cheap. Cost effectiveness will rest, in part, on what your existing fuels are.
Installed costs of the most popular size of renewable energy systems:
- A typical 4kW PV system costs between £5,000 – £8,000, consisting of around 30m2 of panels which should be suitable for a detached house, semi-detached house or a bungalow
- A typical 6kW wind turbine costs between £21,000 – £30,000
- A typical 2kW – 3kW solar hot water system costs between £3000 – £5000, consisting of around 4m2 of panels and providing enough hot water to help support 3-4 people’s hot water needs
- A typical 8kW – 14kW air source heat pump costs between £7000 – £11,000
- A typical 15kW biomass (wood pellet) boiler costs between £9,000 – £21,000, depending on the type of technology used.
Solar PV has become one of the cheaper options due to the growth of the market, but recent reductions to theFeed-in Tariff, which pays you per unit of electricity you generate, have made margins tighter for those considering energy from the sun.
It’s certainly not a get rich quick scheme, but the cuts were not as dramatic as some predicted they would be. This means that if you can find a reasonably-priced installation, installing solar panels can make sense still, withFITs helping to justify the up-front cost.
Renewable heat technologies are pricier, but the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is helping increase demand, particularly for biomass systems. Heat pumps and solar thermal have seen less of a spike since the scheme launched, but the government is looking at ways of improving the way the incentive works around these technologies.