The UK's position in the world makes it one of the best locations for using renewable energy – we certainly get wind and occasionally some sun!
Why waste our time digging for coal and pumping for oil when we have the biggest power station in the universe right above our heads?
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Nobody likes a windy day, but when it is blowing a gale outside why not make the most of a brilliant opportunity to generate your own green energy.
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Water and Electricity working in sweet harmony, sounds bonkers doesn't it? If you live near running water, then you'd be bonkers to miss out.
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The use of solar power became very popular in the 1970s, but has fallen in and out of favour since depending on the potential savings when compared with fossil-fuel energy costs.
The photovoltaic effect is when photo cells convert sunlight directly into electricity - this has been used for sometime to power certain calculators, for example. Photovoltaic cells (PV's) can be used as roof tiles. They cover the roof of a house and take advantage of the light coming from the Sun. This is trapped by the cell and turned into electricity.
A more common method in the UK is using the benefits of the sun to heat our water pipes. Painting the thin pipes black and putting them in a 'greenhouse' type insulator can heat our water supply and therefore reduce the cost of using electricity to heat it.
Want to know more? Visit our friends at the Energy Saving Trust
Wind turbines use large blades to catch the wind. When the wind blows the blades are forced round, driving a turbine which generates electricity. The stronger the wind, the more electricity produced.
There are two types of domestic-sized wind turbine:
These are free standing and are erected in a suitably exposed position, often around 2.5kW to 6kW
These are smaller than mast mounted systems and can be installed on the roof of a home where there is a suitable wind resource. Often these are around 1kW to 2kW in size.
If your small wind system is connected to the National Grid then you can make money by selling any generated electricity to an electricity supply company.
Learn More about Wind Power - Courtesy of the Energy Saving Trust
Hydro power systems use running water to turn a small turbine which generates electricity. The faster the water flows and the more water there is, the more electricity can be generated. The amount of electricity a system actually generates depends on how efficiently it converts the power of the moving water into electrical power.
Costs for installing a hydro system vary a lot, depending on the location and the amount of electricity it can generate. A typical 5kW scheme suitable for an average home might cost £20,000 - £25,000 including installation.
Savings depend on the amount of hydroelectricity that is used in place of electricity bought from another source. If the hydro system replaces electricity bought from the National Grid then typical savings could be substantial. Hydro systems are also eligible to receive generation and export payments through the Feed In Tariff. A 15kW system or smaller could get up to 19.9p/kWh generated.
Learn more about Hydro Power