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Growing YOUR green energy business
There are five types of renewable energy which you may be able to install in your home.
Also known as 'alternative energy' these sources will allow you to save money on your household bills by providing you with warm water and heating for free or by generating free electricity to use in your home, or even sell back to the supply grid.
These five renewable energy sources are considered to be types of clean energy because they run using fuels which do not emit new carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, unlike the 'dirty' fossil fuels coal, gas and oil.
The renewable energy types which may make sense for your personal circumstances are:
Scroll down to read more detail about each renewable energy type, discover their advantages and disadvantages, watch a video about how they work, and see if they might be the right one for your home.
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Reach out to me at: Adam@AdamKirkWriter.com
They are supplied as large, flat panels which are normally mounted on the roof of your house, although they can be mounted on the ground if there's enough space available. Ideally, your roof will be generally south facing to get the most daylight to them.
PV cells are only light-dependant, so they don't need heat to work, just daylight.
They work best when the sunshine is brightest - so blue skies are better than cloudy - and when days are longer - you'll get more electricity produced by them in summer than winter.
Solar panels connect into your home's electricity systems to supply power directly. On days when they produce more power than you need (e.g. when you're at work on a sunny summer's day) you can store the excess in batteries or get paid by power companies for sending it into the grid.
Video produced by SolarDirect.com
Advantages of Solar Power
Disadvantages of Solar Power
I found this article from Renewable Energy World helpful in putting this information together.
Like solar panels, solar heating users power from the sun to run, but it is quite different in that it's a much simpler (and cheaper) system designed to produce hot water, not electricity.
All solar heaters have a similar design in that they are a simple box with a clear front and a black back with pipes running between the two.
The clear front lets sunlight in and the black back absorbs the sunlight and gets hot. Solar heaters then warm your home's water in one of two different ways :
Water can be moved around the system passively, but it is more usual to use a powered pump.
For most of the year solar heating will produce all the hot water you need but, in winter, you'll probably need a powered back-up source to get enough hot water.
Video produced by RevisionEnergy.com
Advantages of Solar Heating
Disadvantages of Solar Heating
Wind power, as its name suggests, is a way of generating electricity from the wind.
To do this, you need to install a wind turbine on your property. Turbines create electricity when wind turns their blades, which turns a shaft in a generator and the generator produces power.
There are two different kinds of wind turbine:
Like solar power, there is the potential for any excess any you produce to be fed back into the grid and for you to be paid for it. The electricity your turbine produces can be stored in batteries for later use, but you'll need to buy an inverter (which is not cheap) to do that.
Video produced by OriginEnergy.com
Advantages of Wind Power
Disadvantages of Wind Power
I found this article from Which? helpful in putting this information together.
The ground about 6-10 feet below your feet maintains a constant temperature all year around of about 50 degrees.
An installation called a ground source heat pump uses this heat to warm your home in the winter (when your home is cooler than the ground temperature) and cool it in the summer (when it is warmer).
To do this, liquid-filled pipes are laid a few feet under your lawn/garden and connected to your heating system.
As it's pumped around the pipes, the liquid absorbs heat from the ground and radiates it in your cold house.
In the summer, the reverse happens: the liquid in the system absorbs heat from your home and radiates it into the cooler ground (see the video below for more).
Up to 75% of new homes in Sweden and Switzerland are built with this system in place; it is simpler to install with a new home. However, modifying existing properties can be done and many homeowners benefit from doing so.
Video produced by DTEEnergy.com
Advantages of Geothermal Heating
Disadvantages of Geothermal Heating
Biomass, in the context of heating, is organic matter which is burnt to produce heat.
In the home this usually means a form of wood, either logs, chips or pellets.
Biomass heating is different from the other four types of renewable energy we've looked at so far because the fuel is not 'free' like the wind, sun or heat from the ground. Instead, it has to be grown and then manufactured into a suitable fuel source.
It is 'green' because the carbon released by burning the wood is not new carbon being released, i.e. burning it only releases what the trees stored as they grew. Growing replacement trees for those we burn will, in theory, lock up that carbon dioxide again.
There is a counter-argument however: the energy required to create pellets or chips through harvesting, cutting and drying, in addition to the fuel used to transport them to where they are burned, outweighs the environmental benefit of burning sustainably grown trees.
This discussion is not a settled one, and is outside of the scope of this post, but it is worth noting that biomass heating is arguably a lot less environmentally sound than the other renewable energies discussed above.
Video produced by HappyEnergy.com
Advantages of Biomass Heating
Disadvantages of Biomass Heating
You've now got a good overview of the most common types of renewable energy available for your home.
For powering your home, solar panels have the best potential to provide your electricity needs, and are significantly more likely to be suitable for you than wind turbines.
We've also looked at the three alternative technologies for heating your home: solar, geothermal and biomass.
It seems that biomass is not really viable for the average home and, if you are committed to environmental health, there are still arguments about the green credentials of biomass heating.
That leaves solar heating and ground source heating to go head-to-head.
Solar is definitely going to be easier to install than a ground source heating system. But, if you have the land, then your payback from geothermal will almost certainly be shorter than solar... and you get home cooling thrown in!
In the end, whichever of these five renewable energy types you decide to install, you will make a positive contribution to both your bank account (in the long run) and the environment.
If you enjoyed reading this and would like me to research and write something similar for your business, then please reach out to me at: Adam@AdamKirkWriter.com