Creating your own energy
There are many ways to create energy, from sunlight or
wind and heat from the earth, to air or water sources, plants grown
for fuel and the movement of water.
Why create your own energy?
By creating your own energy you will helping to reduce our
reliance on non-renewable energy sources and cutting your carbon
emissions. It can also save you money on your energy bills and
you could be paid for your electricity under the
Government's Feed-In-Tariff scheme or the heat you generate from
renewable sources under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
Is my home suitable?
The majority of homes are capable of creating energy by one
method or another, however there are some factors which could
influence which method is most appropriate for your property. For
example, which way your roof faces could have a significant
impact on your ability to generate energy using solar PV and
solar thermal systems.
The amount of space inside and outside the property could
dictate whether solar water heating, heat pumps or wood-fuelled
heating are possible. The proximity of your home to a river or
stream would dictate whether hydroelectricity was an option
and, for wind turbines, the average wind speed where you live
would be a factor.
What methods are there?
There are a variety of methods available to create your own
energy depending on whether you want to generate electricity, heat
or both. Micro-combined heat and power (Micro-CHP) generates both,
while hydroelectricity, solar panels (PV) and wind turbines
generate electricity and air source heat pumps, wood-fuelled
heating, solar water heating and ground source heat pumps generate
- Micro-CHP systems are powered by mains gas and generate heat
and electricity simultaneously from the same energy source. The
main output is heat, with some electricity. They are similar in
size to a standard domestic boiler and but can generate electricity
while heating water.
- Small hydroelectricity systems can produce enough energy for
lighting and electrical appliances in an average home. The systems
use flowing water to turn a turbine connected to a generator which
- Solar PV panels capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic
cells. The cells convert energy into electricity which can be
used to run household appliances and lighting.
- Small scale wind turbines use the power of the wind to generate
electricity. The UK is ideal for domestic turbines as 40% of
Europe's wind blows over this country and, in an exposed site, you
could generate electricity to run your household
appliances and lighting.
- Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air even
when the temperature is as low as -15. The heat can be used to
run radiators, hot water systems, under-floor heating or warm
air convectors in your home. They do require electricity to run but
the heat they extract is constantly being renewed naturally.
- Wood fuelled heating (or biomass systems) burn wood pellets,
chips and logs to power central heating and hot water systems or
provide warmth to a single room.
- Solar water heating systems use heat from the sun to warm
domestic hot water and can be used in conjunction with a
- Ground source heat pumps circulate a mixture of water and
antifreeze around a loop of pipes buried underground. Heat is
absorbed by the fluid in the pipes and this is passed through
a heat exchanger into the heat pump. This can then be used to heat
hot water, radiators, warm air heating systems and under floor
heating in the home.
How much could I save?
How much you could save varies from method to method as
does the cost of installation. As an example, solar PV panels
could save you more than £170 per year on your energy