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Information Guide to Microgeneration Technologies

Introduction

Microgeneration is the production of on-site energy using renewable or low-carbon technologies, generally using renewable energy sources. Renewable Energy is energy that is produced from natural sources such as the sun, the wind, water and sustainably grown wood fuel. The term Low Carbon Technology is used to describe technologies that if utilised well offer excellent environmental performance but could not be described strictly as renewable. Heat pumps are an example of a Low Carbon Technology.

Types of Microgeneration

There are a number of renewable and low-carbon microgeneration technologies that are now commercially available in the UK. These can split into two main areas: Heat producing technologies and Electricity producing technologies:

 

Heat Producing Technologies Electricity Producing Technologies
Solar Thermal Solar Photovoltaics (PV)
Biomass Wind Turbines
Heat Pumps (HPs) Hydro Turbines

Benefits of installing microgeneration systems

  1. Reduce your personal Carbon Footprint – Helping to reduce climate change

  2. Save money – You reduce your energy bills

  3. Make money – You can benefit from the Governments ‘clean energy cash-back scheme’

  4. ‘Feel-good’ factor – The comfort knowing you are using your own, clean, locally produced energy

  5. Energy security – You can become energy self-sufficient and help to secure your family or business against future fuel price rises.

Financial Incentives

Due to the low price of fossil fuels over most of the 20th and into the 21st centuries and the lack of knowledge and consideration for environmental problems caused by fossil fuels there has been little drive in the past to use renewable technologies except in very specific applications (e.g. in off-grid systems).

Only in the past few years have renewable energies become an economically feasible investment on a small scale for property owners. In April 2010 the Government brought in the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) in order to make investment into electricity producing renewable technologies an attractive proposition. In April 2011 they will be following suit with heat producing technologies with a similar scheme called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). We are now at a stage where it is more than economically feasible, it is economically attractive, to invest in renewable energy technologies on a small scale for homes and businesses.

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