Your Future Home – Or A Renewable Power Station
Researchers based at the University of Swansea have stated that the design of future homes should have the capability to generate, store and distribute their own solar energy.
Such homes have already been completed and owners are seeing reduced energy bills of more than 60%, saving up to £600 per year. The further installation of renewable heating technologies such as biomass burners has the potential to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions completely within your home.
Photovoltaic (PV) technologies situated on south-facing roofs are often more than capable of providing a plentiful supply of electrical power for an average household. Coupling the PV panels with integrated battery storage allows the power to be stored reducing the requirement of ‘grid-power’ at times of low level irradiation (light), hence meeting all your electricity needs 24 hours a day. Solar heat collectors are similar to that of solar PV systems and are situated identically on your roof. They can be used for hot water production or supply heat to the central heating system.
In addition to solar-heat collectors there are a wide range of technologies capable of providing heating for your home. Biomass boilers run off pellets or woodchip, which are economical and easy to obtain. The waste product, biochar, is rich in carbon making it ideal for soil amendment. The process of burning biomass and replenishing the soil with biochar therefore results in negative CO2 emissions and hence mitigates climate change. Other alternatives include air source heat pumps (ASHP) and ground source heat pumps (GSHP), which obtain natural heat within the air and ground respectively.
Over the years the field of renewable technologies has seen large reductions in price. For example, a 4kW solar PV system seven years ago would have cost you in excess of £10,000 – compared to the current price of between £5,000-6,000. The drop in price has also been coupled with the increase in panel efficiency. Perovskite panels have recently obtained record efficiencies of 22% and scientists are confident that such figures could increase in excess of 30%. Both the fall in price and increased efficiency are seeing customers payback periods massively reduced.
Those wanting to buy into green energy should also consider the Government Feed-In Tariffs (FIT) and Renewable Heating Incentives (RHI) set out by The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Such tariffs pay-out for the energy produced within your home.
Small domestic installations therefore have the potential to reduce your energy bills and prove profitable over their lifetime. More importantly, by investing, you are contributing to and promoting the green economy!