Renewable electricity generation and energy systems can be an incredible resource for an individual household, as it can also be for the UK to achieve a low carbon National Grid. 50% of household electricity needs can be generated from solar panels, with the potential there to take a home completely off grid by using a mixture of systems.
Renewable electricity generation: a starting point
Here you will learn about solar photovoltaic panels and wind energy, as well as battery storage. As a first step in understanding these systems, you will need to understand the following terms:
kWp: Renewable electricity systems are spoken about in kilowatt peak, referred to herein as kWp. This is the amount of energy a system can generate in perfect conditions over a single hour.
kWh: This refers to the kilowatt-hour – the measure of energy as charged for by electricity and gas suppliers. The measure is also used to determine the amount of energy a system may generate and how much energy a battery system may store. Unfortunately, you will never be paid as much for a kilowatt-hour generated from your own renewable energy system as you will be paying to an energy supplier.
Photovoltaics: electricity from solar panels
Photovoltaic (PV) panels are by far the most common method of domestic scale renewable electricity generation. They can generate 50% of the electrical needs of a household, whilst cutting bills and generating electricity to the value of £450 a year.
They are relatively simple to install. However, the position and angle of the panels needed to achieve optimum sunlight are key to them working economically. PV panels will generate most of their energy in the summer, but will still generate in winter and will also generate on cloudy days, albeit at a lower output.
Annual benefits of solar panels
A typical PV array would be between 2 and 4 kWp (with a single solar panel generating between 0.27 and 0.4kWp). A 4kWp system can generate around 3,800 kWh of renewable electricity a year (UK average) and it will save around 1,500 kg of carbon dioxide per year.
Savings on the electricity bill by producing your own power (rather than buying power from the grid) is roughly £250 per annum. This figure will vary according to location and how much energy you actually use at home during daylight hours.
Pay back periods for solar energy
Since the closure of the FIT (feed in tariff) a new export mechanism has come into force from January 2020 called the SEG (Smart Export Guarantee). This will pay around 5p per kWh electricity traded. Thus a 4kWp system is likely to generate in the region of £200 per year SEG. A 4kWp system costs around £6,200 to install (including VAT at 5%) and therefore a £6,200 installation will pay for itself within 12-15 years.
Photovoltaic systems are coming down in price quickly and often overdeliver, so it is worthwhile exploring options. Some members of our community have managed to see their investments in solar pay back within 8-9 years, as panels have delivered above expectations.
Wind turbine energy
Wind turbines use blades to capture energy when they are forced into motion by the wind. This motion drives a turbine which generates renewable electricity, and the more wind there is, resultantly the more electricity there is being produced.
There are a number of small wind solutions available to homeowners. These are either pole mounted, which are 5-6kWp, or building mounted systems which are 1-2kWp.
Pole mounted systems cost between £9,000 and £30,000 for installation, but can generate up to 9,000kWh a year, annually saving 3.4t CO2. The building mounted systems are less efficient than this.
Renewable electricity and energy management
Managing energy as part of a renewable energy system can make a very big difference to the pay back of these systems. This is due to the difference in price which you as a consumer pay for electricity and what you as a supplier will be paid for selling your electricity into the grid. If you are able to use more of the electricity you generate, then the value derived from your system is maximised
As part of the management process, try monitoring your energy usage alongside your energy generation. This can make a big difference, and as a result you may wish to wash clothes or use a dishwasher during high output periods. You may also want to use your renewable electricity to heat your home, meaning that storage heaters or heat pumps may draw in energy during peak production periods.
It is also possible to store renewable electricity through battery storage or even through electric vehicles, with the potential to then sell this energy back to the grid.
Battery storage and renewable electricity
Most Solar PV systems result in around 50% of energy being exported, but by installing a battery you will use 80-90% of the energy created. Using the example above of a 4kWh system, you can use around £500 worth of the energy generated. You should note that this would mean the pay back from selling energy would come to you more slowly – for a period closer to 12 years. You would also have to install a battery, which carries additional cost.
There are numerous battery storage providers. Getting a battery that suits the usage of your house is important as most houses do not use more than 2.5kWh a day. Therefore a battery does not need to be much larger than being able to fulfil that requirement. The cost of installing a battery is between £4,000 and £7,500, with most only having a 10 year product warranty.
In most cases this makes installing a battery uneconomic. However, with battery storage costs falling, this is something worthwhile exploring when getting a quote for home renewable electricity systems.
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|Aissac Electrical & Solar||https://www.aissac.co.uk/||Aberdeenshire|
|AGMS Independent Energy||https://www.agmsenergy.com/||Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Northamptonshire.|
|Spirit Energy||https://www.spiritenergy.co.uk/||Berkshire, and South||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging, Consultancy|
|Micro-Renewable Solutions||https://www.microrenewable.co.uk/||Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Wiltshire|
|Cambridge Solar Ltd||https://www.cambridge-solar.co.uk/||Cambridge|
|Naked Solar||https://nakedsolar.co.uk/||Cornwall||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|ZLC Energy||https://zlcenergy.co.uk/||Cornwall||Solar PV, Battery Storage, Heating Systems, EV Charging|
|T4 Sustainability Ltd||http://www.t4sltd.co.uk/||Derbyshire||Solar PV, Battery Storage, Heating Systems|
|Sunfarming UK Ltd||http://sunfarming.co.uk/||Devon and South West||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|SunGift Energy||https://www.sungiftsolar.co.uk/||Devon and South West||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|Aran Services Ltd||https://www.aranservices.co.uk/||East|
|Eternal Energy Systems Ltd||https://www.eternalenergysystems.co.uk/||East|
|East Anglia Renewables Ltd T/A Eco East Anglia||https://ecoeastanglia.co.uk/||East Anglia|
|Greenscape Energy Ltd||https://greenscapeenergy.co.uk/||East Anglia|
|Solstice Energy Ltd||http://www.solsticeenergy.co.uk/?LMCL=PDRAIk||Gloucestershire||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|Green Shop Solar||https://www.greenshopsolar.co.uk/||Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|Solarkinetics Ltd||https://www.solarkinetics.co.uk/||Herefordshire||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|Solinvictus||http://solinvictus.co.uk/||Hertfordshire||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|Sunuser Limited||http://www.sunuser.co.uk/||Leeds and Surrounding Area||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|UK Alternative Energy||https://www.ukalternativeenergy.co.uk/||Licolnshire||Solar PV, Battery Storage, Heating Systems, EV Charging|
|Treadlighter||https://treadlighter.co.uk/||London||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|So Go Solar Ltd||https://sogosolar.co.uk/||London and South East||Solar PV, Battery Storage|
|Solar Star Power Limited||https://solarstarpower.com/||Midlands||Solar PV, Battery Storage|
|Peak Power Systems Ltd||https://www.peakpowersystems.co.uk/||North|
|AR POWER||http://www.arpower.co.uk/||North East|
|Pure Solar Ltd T/A Pure Renewables||http://purerenewables.co.uk/||North East|
|Athena Electrical Ltd||http://www.athenaelectrical.com/solar-pv-installation.html||North London|
|Perfect Sense Energy||https://perfectsenseenergy.com/||North West|
|Hero Renewables Ltd||http://herorenewables.co.uk/||North West|
|Exeo Energy Ltd||https://www.exeoenergy.co.uk/||Oxfordshire|
|Sims Solar Ltd||http://www.simssolar.co.uk/||Oxfordshire||Solar PV, Battery Storage|
|Oxford Solar PV||http://www.oxfordsolarpv.co.uk/||Oxfordshire||Partner of Better Century: Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|R-ECO The Renewable Energy Co-operative||http://www.r-eco.coop/||Oxfordshire|
|AD Heating Ltd||http://www.adheating.co.uk/||Scotland|
|Anderson Floor Warming And Renewables||https://www.andersonfloorwarming.co.uk/||Scotland|
|Navitas Solar Installations Ltd||http://www.navitas-solar.com/||Sheffield||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|The Solar Electrician Ltd||https://the-solar-electrician.com/||Solihull, West Midlands||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|Total Renewable Solutions||http://www.totalrenewablesolutions.com/||Somerset||Solar PV, Battery Storage, Heating Systems|
|GenFIT c/o PV FIT Ltd||https://www.generationfit.co.uk/||South|
|The Good Heat Company||http://www.goodheat.co.uk/||South Devon||Solar PV, Battery Storage, Heating Systems|
|Chelsfield Solar||http://www.chelsfieldsolar.co.uk/||South East||Solar PV|
|Ecovolt Environment||https://www.ecovoltenvironment.com/||South East|
|Solarfit||https://www.solarfit.net/||South Wales||Solar PV, Battery Storage, Heating Systems|
|Current Energy Solutions Ltd||http://www.currentenergysolutions.co.uk/||South West||Solar PV|
|Rudge Energy||https://rudgeenergy.co.uk/||South West||Solar PV, Battery Storage|
|Mole Energy||https://www.moleenergy.com/||South West||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|1 World Solar||http://www.1worldsolar.co.uk/||South West|
|MIG Renewable Technologies Ltd||http://migrenewables.com/||South West|
|Navitas Sustainable Heating Systems Limited||http://www.navitassystems.co.uk/||South West|
|H2ecO Ltd||https://h2-eco.com/||South West|
|Ecocetera Limited||https://www.ecocetera.com/||South West, Wales||Solar PV, Battery Storage|
|Solar Voltaics||https://www.solar-voltaics.com/?doing_wp_cron=1576509220.4467060565948486328125||Sussex||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|Solar UK Ltd||http://www.solaruk.com/||Sussex||Solar PV, Battery Storage, Heating Systems|
|Sussex Solar||http://sussexsolar.com/||Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire||Solar PV, Battery Storage, Heating Systems|
|Super Homes||http://www.superhomes.org.uk/||UK Wide||Provide case studies of amazing homes|
|Parity Projects||http://www.parityprojects.com/||UK Wide||Provide consultancy and advice on retrofitting buildings|
|Green Building Store||https://www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk/||UK Wide||Partner of Better Century: Products and support for energy efficient homes and buildings. Triple glazed windows & doors, MVHR ventilation, airtightness & insulation.|
|Energy Saving Trust||http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/about-us||UK Wide||Impartial advice to save energy|
|Save Money Cut Carbon||https://www.savemoneycutcarbon.com/||UK Wide||Partner of Better Century: The go-to people for homes and organisations to reduce energy and water bills.|
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|Tonik Energy||https://www.tonikenergy.com/||UK Wide||Partner of Better Century|
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|Solarsense UK||https://www.solarsense-uk.com/||UK Wide||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging, Heating Systems|
|Synergy Power Ltd||http://www.synergypowerltd.co.uk/||West Midlands||Solar PV, Battery Storage, EV Charging|
|PV Renewable Energy LTD||http://pvrenewables.co.uk/||Witham, Danbury and Maldon Essex|