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Blog Post 28 January 2020 Updated 12 April 2024

Could you generate your own renewable energy?

When you think of renewable energy, what comes to mind? Towering wind turbines, visible from miles around? Or rows and rows of solar panels, stretching as far as the eye can see?

Renewable energy is certainly booming. In 2023, 47% of UK energy came from renewable sources, according to a GOV. UK report

As you’d imagine, much of this low carbon energy is produced by wind and solar farms. But it doesn’t have to done on such a huge scale. It’s possible to generate electricity and heat from renewables at home. Here’s what you need to know.

Generate electricity with solar power

Solar panels capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells. They don’t need direct sunlight to work (thankfully for us in the UK). Ideally you’ll have a roof that faces south (more or less) and isn’t shaded.

The PV cells convert sunlight into electricity, which you can use for your household appliances and lighting. You can also heat your hot water with the sun’s energy using solar thermal systems.

So what are the benefits? Solar energy is 100% renewable and doesn’t release any carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases.

Solar energy can also save you money. Sunlight is free, so your energy bills will be reduced. 

What size of system do you need? You should first think about how much energy you use in your home, and how much of it you want to generate with renewables.

You can use our solar panel calculator to work out what size solar panel system is right for you.

Generating electricity with wind power

When the wind blows on a wind turbine, the blades are forced round, driving the turbine that generates electricity. The faster the wind, the more energy produced.

Domestic wind power probably isn’t suitable if you live in a built up area. But if your house is in an exposed or isolated spot, it could bring you great benefits.

Just like solar power, wind power will cut your carbon footprint. 

It can also reduce your energy bills, after you’ve paid for the initial installation. The costs will depend of the size on the size of the turbine and its location. 

Generate heat with a biomass system

Another popular source of renewable energy is a wood-fuelled heating system, also called biomass.

It involves burning wood pellets, chips or logs to power your central heating and hot water boilers. You can also use it provide heat in a single room.

You’ll need some space for the system, so it’s normally suitable if you have a larger home or you live in a rural area.

Once installed, you could make big savings on your heating bills.

Helping you go green

There are plenty of other options for you to join the green energy revolution.

You can use a micro-combined heat and power unit to generate heat and electricity at the same time. Or you could produce more than enough electricity for lighting and household appliances through hydropower.

We understand that generating your own energy seems like a big step, so we’re. For more information on what options are available, check out our guide to renewables.

If you live in Scotland, you can also have a chat with Home Energy Scotland. Their expert advisors will offer you free and impartial advice about renewable energy for your home. And they’ll even help you apply for grants and loans.

Good for your wallet and the planet

Powering your own home with renewables won’t just save you money on energy bills. You could also benefit from some pretty decent financial incentives.

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) is a government scheme that pays people to export renewable electricity to the grid.

You could benefit if you export electricity using your own:

  • solar PV system
  • wind turbine
  • hydropower system
  • micro-combined heat and power unit

Under the SEG, it’s up to the energy suppliers to decide how much to pay you as an exporter. There are no set tariffs, and the only requirement is that the tariff must be greater than zero at all times.

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Last updated: 12 April 2024