Posted by British Gas in Renewable Energy
When you think of renewable energy options what are the first technologies that come to mind? Most people think of solar panels or a small wind turbine, but what about other options such as ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps or biomass?
Solar panels are one of the more popular choices but many are reluctant to invest after recent changes in the Government’s Feed In Tariff. A solar PV system does NOT require sunlight to work, it requires DAYLIGHT. This means you can be reducing your bills AND selling any electricity you don’t use back to the grid, even during the winter!
Installations cost around £9000 for a 3 kWh system and you could enjoy savings and income of around £751 per year.
You can earn money from the Government’s Feed In Tariff
A typical solar PV system could save over a tonne of CO2 per year
Initial installation is expensive
Inverters need replacing approximately every 10 years and cost around £1000
Wind turbines harness energy from the wind to generate electricity. You can choose large turbines installed on masts or small roof-mounted versions. The obvious requirement for a successful installation is living in an area with enough wind to drive the turbine; you’ll find tools online to discover the average wind speed where you live.
Installations cost between £2000 -£22,000 and a large turbine used in conjunction with the Government’s Feed In Tariff could generate income and savings of over £3000 per year.
You can store energy in batteries to use on days without a breeze
You could be paid for the energy you generate under the Government’s Feed In Tariff
The inverter needs replacing approximately every 10 years and cost £1-2000
For the majority of urban homes, wind turbines are not suitable technology due to lack of wind speed
GROUND SOURCE HEAT PUMPS
Ground source heat pumps work in a similar way to a boiler but instead of burning fossil fuels they utilise heat from underground. The system is made up of a network of pipes buried underground and linked to a heat pump to boost ground heat to the temperature required. These systems are perfect for under floor heating.
A ground source heat pump system costs between £9000 - £17000 and you could save up to £420 on your heating bill per year.
Heat pumps will qualify for the Renewable Heat Incentive later this year
Little maintenance required once installed
Digging trenches is disruptive, so no good if you love your garden!
These systems are best fitted in a new build rather than existing properties
AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMPS
Air source heat pumps still use electricity, but in a much more efficient way. The look like an air conditioning unit and are attached to an outside wall of your house. They work like a refrigerator in reverse; by taking heat from the air and increasing it to the required temperature.
Air source heat pumps cost between £6000 - £10000 and you could save up to £330 on your heating costs per year.
Easy to install
Air source heat pumps can be used in reverse during summer to act as an air conditioning unit
The installed units can be noisy to run
Air source heat pumps lose their efficiency when the temperature drops below 5 degrees Celsius
Biomass is the name given to wood burning systems and there are two main types; stoves and boilers. Most people are aware of traditional log burning stoves but pellet stoves and boilers are simpler to run. Both systems can heat your home and provide hot water.
A log stove costs from £2000 whereas an automatically fed pellet boiler can be over £11000. You could save up to £580 on your heating bill.
Burning well seasoned wood or pellets provides you with a carbon-neutral source of energy
Using wood reduces your dependence on fossil fuels
The cost of fuel can be expensive depending on where you live
You need plenty of room to store either logs or pellets
Weighing out the pros and cons of using renewable energy sources may seem long-winded and some of the options do appear expensive, but investing in the future is important and will definitely benefit both your pocket and the environment.
What do you think of these alternative renewable energy sources?
This guest post was written by Rachelle Strauss of www.littlegreenblog.com