You’ve certainly heard of renewable energy. Harnessing clean, sustainable energy sources is key if we’re going to build a low carbon future. And while it’s large-scale wind farms and the like that commonly make the headlines, there’s a renewable ‘microgeneration’ energy revolution going on in streets and towns close to you.
What is microgeneration?
So exactly what is microgeneration? Simply put, it’s producing small-scale renewable energy. Forward-thinking businesses have been doing it for years. And these days, it’s more and more accessible to homeowners.
Harnessing the power of the sun, wind and other renewable energy sources is a low-cost, low-carbon alternative to traditional, dirty fossil fuels – it’s available now, costs much less than you might think, and has significant money-saving and environmental benefits – so read on to find out more.
There’s several types of microgeneration technologies suitable for home installation. And with recent advances in technology they’ve never been cheaper or more efficient.
Microgeneration technologies include:
- Solar photovoltaic (solar PV) – generating electricity from solar panels
- Solar thermal – using the power of the sun to generate hot water for the home
- Ground source heat pumps – heating systems harnessing heat from the ground
- Air source heat pumps – absorb heat from the outside area to produce heat for the home
- Micro wind turbines – generating electricity from small turbines fitted on or around the home
- Micro hydro – small-scale hydroelectric installations
- Micro combined heat and power (Micro CHP) – technologies creating heat and electricity from the same energy source
- Biomass boilers – wood-fuelled heating systems to power central heating and hot water boilers
The most commonly used in UK homes are solar PV and micro wind power. Solar PV is probably is the most accessible and popular – as long as you’ve got a roof or wall that’s not in shadow for the majority of the day, it will generate clean electricity. It even works on cloudy days. Wind turbines are also a great option for homes in more exposed locations.
Why microgeneration pays
There’s plenty of advantages of installing a home microgeneration system. Of course, there’s the environmental benefits of producing clean, carbon-neutral energy. But there’s a whole load of other big bonuses too:
- create free energy
- cut down on regular energy bills
- safeguard against future fuel price hikes
- help boost your house price
- earn money from the government’s feed-in tariff
- cost-effective power if you live in a remote, off-the-grid location
Microgeneration makes a lot of sense, but it’s even more attractive when you consider that microgeneration grants are also available.
The feed-in tariff is a government scheme where you actually get paid for each unit of renewable energy you create. And there’s a significant double bonus – you can sell any excess power back to the National Grid. An average sized solar microgeneration installation, for example, could earn more than £1,000 a year, and it will take just a few years to pay back the cost of installation.
If the environmental and bill-reducing benefits weren’t enough, the feed-in tariff provides a really compelling reason to switch to microgeneration.
Microgeneration Certification Scheme
If you’re sold on the idea of making your own renewable energy then it’s time to start looking for a professional installer.
Luckily, the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) makes your life easier. It certifies microgeneration installers so you’re assured of getting a good job and quality equipment installed.
What’s more, to qualify for the feed-in tariff, you need to have used an MCS-certified installer. It’s the only sensible option, so watch out for cowboys who aren’t certified.
Now is the time to install microgeneration in your home. You’ll start saving money on your fuel bills straight away, producing cheap, clean energy. Using great-value, reliable technology and superb government incentives, there’s never been a better time to start producing your own renewable energy.
Image courtesy of flickr – telex4