There are many renewable energy technologies that are suitable for our homes and depending on your circumstances maybe combining two technologies could make your home reach a greater energy efficiency, make your home more environmentally friendly, and reduce your energy bills further.
Which renewable technologies work together?
There are some combinations that are more effective together but a lot of the renewable technologies work well together. Some of the best partnerships are:
· Heat pumps and solar PV
· Biomass and solar thermal
Heat pumps and solar PV
Heat pumps and solar PV marry well due to heat pumps requiring a small amount of electricity to operate which makes them not 100% renewable if the electricity used to power it is not from a renewable source. So, by combining the heat pump with a solar PV system you can either use the electricity generated whilst the solar panels are generating the electricity and the heat pump is using electricity, or you can offset the electricity that the heat pump uses with the electricity generated from the solar panels.
The solar panels will also generate more electricity than what the heat pumps require so overall your home will benefit from low-carbon and free heating as well as generating free electricity. Both technologies are also eligible for the government’s renewable initiatives, Feed-in Tariff and Renewable Heat Initiative so they can also generate an income for you.
Biomass and solar thermal
Biomass boilers and solar thermal panels make a great partnership as they operate at their best at different times of the year. Biomass boilers can heat your home only or they can also heat your hot water, but some may require a back boiler to produce hot water. Therefore, biomass boilers are great at heating your home and hot water throughout the winter but during the summer wouldn’t it be great to not have to use the boiler as you can use the solar thermal panels to produce your hot water for free?
Solar thermal panels can produce hot water all year round, but they may require help in the winter to heat the water to the required level, therefore the biomass boiler can assist in producing the hot water instead during the winter months.
Again, both technologies are eligible for the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive so will generate an income too.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme offers financial support to homes installing renewable heat systems for seven years. Each technology has a different rate per kWh of energy generated.
The Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) scheme pays the owner of the technology for all electricity generated and an additional payment for electricity exported to the grid.
The RHI and FIT were created to assist the adoption of renewable technologies by making it more affordable and enabling them to become more mainstream.
Getting the basics right
It sensible to make your home as energy efficient as possible so that it reduces your energy consumption before you install renewable technologies. However, it may also be a requirement of the RHI or FIT that you improve the energy efficiency of your home first.
The rating indicated by your home’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) can impact on the amount of generation tariff you receive from the FIT so it’s worth improving the energy efficiency of your home first.
For systems such as heat pumps, you would need to insulate your property first to benefit from the lower temperatures that these systems run at and to be eligible for the RHI.
For help on insulating your home visit our insulation pages.
If you are thinking about combining different renewable technologies, you should do your homework first and see which technologies will suit you and your home best. If the technologies need to interact then it is worth seeking advice from an installer who can advise you on integrating these technologies.
To help homeowners who want to explore renewable technologies we have a quoting tool that will help you discover the cost of installing renewable technologies and put you in touch with local installers who can advise you about them.