Seven ways to power your home with renewable energy

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Why is it important to consider renewable energy for your home?

Choosing renewable energy sources for your home electricity and heating is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, make your home more sustainable, and potentially lower your energy costs. The advantages are certainly significant.

What's more, renewable energy is the energy of the future and switching now can mean you’ll help lead the smart and sustainable energy transition.

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is power that is generated from natural sources, such as the sun, wind, biomass and water. And these renewable energy sources are naturally replenished.

It's also often referred to as "green energy" and "clean energy" as the process of generating energy from these renewable sources emits no or hardly any greenhouse gases – unlike fossil fuels like coal and oil. Moving away from these traditional sources of energy is a key step in our efforts to combat climate change and help clear the air we breathe.

Best ways to power your home with renewable energy

1. Solar power

You can use the sun to generate electricity for your home through solar photovoltaic panels that are installed on your roof. These panels take the sun's rays and convert it into electricity that you can use to warm your home and power your devices.

The panels can generate power during daylight hours and it doesn't have to be sunny in order for them to work, although they do generate more power on sunnier days. The power generated during daylight hours can be stored in batteries so you still use electricity after the sun goes down. Any excess power you don't use can be sold into the national electricity grid as part of the as part of the Government's Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

Generating your own clean electricity with solar panels gives you the power to improve your home’s sustainability, one of the main advantages of solar energy. And solar panels can also help you reduce your reliance on the grid and even cut your electricity bills. With our solar panels, you can save £400 a year on average on your electricity bills1. And even better, you can spread the cost with different ways to pay.

Find out more about the advantages of solar energy to see if it could be right for your home.

2. Renewables-backed electricity supply

A quick and easy way to make your home greener and more sustainable is to choose an energy supply that is backed by renewable sources.

All of the electricity we provide our customers’ homes is backed by 100% renewable sources such as wind, biomass and solar2. And we’re now helping our customers be even more sustainable with our Go Green gas option – you can offset the carbon generated by the gas you use for an optional extra £2 a month.

And it’s not just our customers’ homes that benefit from 100% renewables-backed electricity2, eligible small business customers also get renewables-backed electricity when they sign a contract directly with us3.

3. Wind energy

Wind turbines are not just for the big wind farms you see in wide open spaces. Smaller wind turbines are available for homes, either as a free-standing pole or installed on the building directly. They generate electricity by the wind turning the blades, which drives the internal turbine and creates power. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that a 6kW pole-mounted turbine could save you around £250 a year on electricity bills as well as earning about £440 per year in SEG payments4.

4. Air source heat pumps

An air source heat pump is a renewable energy system that uses the heat from the outside air to provide you with heating and hot water – working in a similar way to a fridge but in reverse.

This clean and environmentally-friendly source of heating is virtually silent when operating and can save you up to £360 a year on your heating bill compared to an oil-fired system5.

5. Biomass systems

Biomass heating systems burn organic materials, such as wood pellets, chips or logs to provide heating and hot water. This is a lower carbon way of heating compared to fossil fuels like coal and oil as the wood burned in these systems only emits as much carbon as the tree absorbed during the months and years that it was growing. What’s more, it's estimated that a biomass system can save you up to £700 a year compared to an old electric heating system6.

And biomass plants can also provide a renewable energy source for businesses, helping them to reduce their carbon emissions and make a significant contribution to the UK’s future heat and energy generation needs.

6. Solar heating

Solar energy can also be used to provide hot water and heating all year round. Solar heating systems use solar panels that can be fitted to your roof, mounted on a free-standing frame or even hung from a wall. The power they generate heats up water that is stored in a hot water cylinder - you’ll need approximately five square metres of space that receives direct sunlight for the main part of the day. If you want to use it to power your heating too then you'll need larger panels, the size of which will be determined by the size of your home.

7. Hydroelectric systems

This renewable energy source uses water flowing downhill to generate electricity - so if your home is close to a lake or river it could be a great option for you. There are many large scale hydroelectric power plants in operation but you can also get small scale ones for your home. These can generate enough electricity to power a home on a river that has a one-meter drop.

While these are all excellent options for your home, it doesn't stop there. All of these renewable energy options can also be suitable for your business too, and there are also lots of community energy schemes running where neighbourhoods come together to connect to a renewable energy scheme.

So why not take the first steps to make your home, business or community cleaner and greener today.

     1. These are example figures only. Savings are based on a south-facing property in central England with a 40-degree roof tilt and no shading, with electricity consumption of 4,900 kWh. Saving assumes fitting 14 x 305W panels and a 9.0 kWh battery and an electricity cost of 15p/kWh.

     2. Electricity sourced from E.ON’s renewable generation assets, supply agreements with independent UK wind generators and the purchase of renewable electricity certificates. The electricity supplied to your homes comes from the National Grid. Find out more at eonenergy.com/renewable

    3. SME customers that sign a contract directly with E.ON. Electricity sourced from E.ON’s renewable generation assets, supply agreements with independent UK wind generators and the purchase of renewable electricity certificates. The electricity supplied to homes and businesses comes from the National Grid.

    4. Energy Saving Trust: Wind turbines

    5. Based on a four-bedroom detached house which uses an estimated 20,000 kWh per year.

    6. Energy Saving Trust: Biomass