27th October 2010

Energy Saving Week – Day 3 – Generate your own Energy

There are so many renewable sources of energy available to us today that will reduce our impact on the environment and some will even save you money in the long term!

Solar power is not new but it has become more widely recognised as a green electricity form. Solar electricity systems use photovoltaic cells that capture the sun’s energy. The cells can be attached to your roof and walls to convert sunlight into electricity, this can then be used to run household appliances and lighting in your home. Like me you may not think there is enough sunny days here in the UK to question this investment but the PV cells do not need direct sunlight to work – you can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day! The development of PV cells has made it possible to get them in various shapes and colours, you can even get transparent cells that can be used in windows or on conservatories.

Solar electricity requires a sunny place for this you will need a roof or wall that faces within 90° of south and isnt over shadowed by trees or buildings, if the surface is shadowed for parts of the day you will generate less energy. Your roof will need to be able to with stand the weight if you are in doubt ask a construction expert for their opinion.

The cost of installing a solar electrcity system vary a lot an average system is around £12,000, but with minimal maintenance there should be little cost for the future.

Savings can be considerable with a 2.2kWp system can generate around 40% of a household’s yearly electricity needs.

They system may be eligible to receive the Feed-In Tariff and could generate savings and income of around £900 per year! Find out more about the Feed-In tariff here.

These solar trees pictured below show how design can be used to make a feature for your solar electricity. Find out more a bout the Solar Tree here.

Solar Tree Milan

We will soon be releasing an on-the-go solar powered charging device, so that you can charge your phone or MP3 on the go!

Hydroelectricity may only be possible for those with running water such as a small stream that have the right to build around it. Hydro systems use running water to turn a small turbine it is this that generates the electrcity, the faster the water flows and the more water there is, the more electricity can be produced.

The cost installing hydro systems varies a lot, depending on your location and the amount of electricity you would like to generate. A typical 5kW scheme suitable for an average home might cost £20,000 -£25,000 including the installation.

Savings are dependent on how much hydro electricity is used in place of electricity brought from another source, if this was previously from the National Grid then savings could be substantial. Hydro systems like solar electricity is eligible to sold back to the Grid through the feed in tariff.

Let us know what renewable energy sources you have in your home or are looking to invest in…

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