Generation predictions for both Solar PV and Wind Turbines are easy to do and give a fairly accurate estimate of the likely returns. The renewable industry is obliged to use government set figures for annual sunlight and wind levels, so estimates tend to be quite accurate if a little pessimistic. We are finding that 90% of our installations are out performing the pre-installation estimate.
So before making the final decision, compare the cost/payback estimates for several alternatives.
If you are considering an installation on a domestic property then there is little choice; provided you have a suitable South facing roof a 16 panel 4kW system is the best value for money. Provided you are not a listed building or in an area of ‘outstanding beauty’ you do not require planning permission, but you do need building regulation approval. If you don’t have a suitable roof and you have space then a ground mounted PV system could be the answer, or even a small sun tracker, which follows the sun during the day and generates 40% more electric than a static system.
Unfortunately there are no small wind turbines which are approved for ‘Feed in Tariffs’, which could be installed at domestic locations.
As you might expect it all depends on your location and your buildings
The first choice for best value is still solar PV, but you do need a shade free, South facing roof, preferably with a 30% slope and strong enough to take the solar panels. Roofs slightly off South facings can still be viable so it is worth getting a returns prediction. If you have ground space, then a ground mounted PV system can be installed at the perfect angle. Planning permission is not required for roof mounted systems but is required for ground mounted.
For many commercial applications where it is not possible to mount panels on the roof a sun tracker can be an ideal solution. They can be installed in car parks or yards and generally don’t present any great problem with the planners. A 36 panel 9 kW tracker would produce a return of £3,000 a year from an investment of £26,000. Multiple installations of these trackers are commonplace on the continent.
However, if you are located in a windy area then certainly wind turbines could be for you. Returns can be sensible for small turbines on sites with average wind speeds in excess of 4 m/s or 9 mph, investments start at £33,000 for a 6 kW, but if you have £250,000 plus to invest and the right location then the returns are substantial.
Apart from finding the investment cash, the biggest problem with wind turbines is obtaining planning permission, so be prepared for a 6 to 12 month struggle with the planners before getting your answer.
Hadrian Electrical Engineering provides a free of charge, no obligation, site evaluation survey, which provides you with a ‘cost/payback/returns’ estimate for all the above systems as well as guidance on system sizing and planning issues. Give us a ring on 01434 602402 to arrange this free survey.
How efficient is your home. If you have a good thermal envelope which includes a good level of insulation but you are still spending a lot of money heating your home, Renewable Heat Technologies can offer the solution to abundant renewable energy. Using renewable energy to heat your home can heavily subsidise your fuel costs and provide a clean and abundant source of heat whilst attracting the government incentives to also offer a return on your investment. Renewable Heat technologies include Heat pumps, Biomass boilers and Solar Thermal systems to supply you with hot water and central heating. With the launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) you can also attract a profitable income stream whilst saving on your fuel bills.
Electricity Producing Renewable Technologies
These include wind turbines and solar panels to provide clean, renewable energy to your home or business.“The Government wants at least 30% of our electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020.” Installing solar panels or wind turbines can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and save you money on your electricity bill whilst attracting up to 15% return on your investment from Government incentives. In addition, you won’t see a 5% – 7% rise in fuel price when your fuel of choice is free and clean energy from renewable energy sources.
There is a wide variety of energy saving tips and technologies that can help you manage and reduce how much you spend on energy. Some low cost options include changing habits to switch off lights and appliances when you leave the room to only filling the kettle with as much water as you need. Some slightly more expensive options include loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, new heating controls and LED low energy lights. For in depth Energy Savings advice visit the Energy Savings Trust to see how you could improve your energy savings! See the top ten tips for Energy Saving.
Top Ten Tips from the Energy Savings Trust:
- Turn your thermostat down. Reducing your room temperature by 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10 percent and typically saves around £75 per year. If you have a programmer, set your heating and hot water to come on only when required rather than all the time.
- Is your water too hot? Your cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C/140°F.
- Close your curtains at dusk to stop heat escaping through the windows and check for draughts around windows and doors.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Don’t leave appliances on standby and remember not to leave laptops and mobile phones on charge unnecessarily.
- If possible, fill up the washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher: one full load uses less energy than two half loads.
- Only boil as much water as you need (but remember to cover the elements if you’re using an electric kettle).
- A dripping hot water tap wastes energy and in one week wastes enough hot water to fill half a bath, so fix leaking taps and make sure they’re fully turned off!
- Use energy saving light bulbs. They last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs, and using one can save you around £45 over the lifetime of the bulb.This saving could be around £60 over its lifetime if you’re replacing a high wattage incandescent bulb, or one used for more than a few hours a day.
- Do a home energy check.
The Carbon Factor
One of the biggest benefits to our environment when using renewable energy sources is the amount of Carbon Dioxide displaced when versed with Carbon based fuel sources. When carbon based fuels (Petrol, Diesel, Gas, Oil, Coal) are used to heat our homes, run our vehicles and fuel our power stations, Carbon Dioxide is released into the atmosphere. It is the addition of this Carbon Dioxide to the atmosphere as well as other greenhouse gases that contributes toward global warming and climate change. These gases create a greenhouse effect in the atmosphere that trap the suns heat and prevent it escaping the stratosphere which contributes toward global warming.
H E Servicing provides a free of charge, no obligation, site evaluation survey, which provides you with a ‘cost/payback/returns’ estimate for all the above systems as well as guidance on system sizing and planning issues. Give us a ring on 01434 602402 to arrange this free survey.