What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is generated from natural resources such as the sun, wind, and water, using technology which ensures that the energy stores are naturally replenished.
Instead of buying all of your energy from suppliers, you can install renewables technology (also called micro generation and low-carbon technology) to generate your own.
What are the benefits of installing renewables?
There are lots of good reasons to use renewables. You will be:
- making use of secure and local resources
- reducing your dependence on non-renewable energy
- helping to reduce the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
- creating new jobs in renewable energy industries
- reducing your energy bills. In some cases you can generate income by selling your surplus energy back to your energy provider.
How do I generate my own electricity?
How do I generate my own heat?
Where do I start?
If you're thinking about a home renewables system, here are some important things to think about:
Ensure your home is as energy efficient as it can be
This will help you get the most out of your new system. Think about insulating your property wherever you can, and using your appliances, lighting and water more efficiently.
Find out the options for renewable technology in your home
Some technologies have specific requirements for installation:
- Solar PV and solar thermal depends on the way your roof faces.
- Solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass require space inside and outside.
- Hydro requires a nearby stream or river.
Use our renewables selector tool to help you find a suitable technology for your home.
Be clear on what you want to achieve with your renewable technology
This will influence which technology is most appropriate for you. Many people want to save money and reduce their emissions, and it is becoming more possible to achieve both. Other factors can have an impact, for example:
- If you need to replace your boiler or central heating system, installing a new biomass boiler or heat pump becomes more cost-effective.
- If your priority is to save carbon dioxide, consider wood-fuelled heating, a large wind turbine or a large solar PV system.
- If you want to do a bit for the environment but have limited funds, think about a cheaper option such as solar water heating.
- If you live in an isolated rural property with no mains electricity, you may get the most reliable off-grid supply from hydro or from a mixture of wind and solar PV.
Narrow down the options
Once you've thought about which technology would best suit your home and your needs, you can start to research the options in more detail. Weigh up the products that are available, their costs, the size of systems and any special requirements for installation.
It's worth talking to or visiting homeowners in your area who have installed similar technologies. If you live in Scotland, refer to our Green Homes Network.
If you decide that a renewables system would be right for you and your home, the next step to consider is installation. Read our useful guide to help you get started.