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Home Energy Generation

If a substantial number of UK homes were fitted with micro energy generating equipment such as solar panels and wind turbines it could generate as much electricity as five nuclear power stations. So concluded a report commissioned by the governments' Department for Business, Energy and Regulatory Reform (DBERR)
This could be achieved through a combination of loans, grants and incentives and could lead to nearly 10m microgeneration systems being installed by 2020, and could save 30m tonnes of CO2 – the equivalent of nearly 5 per cent of all UK electricity.
Here is a selection of Home Energy Generation Technologies:

• Solar thermal
Solar thermal panels are the most popular green technology in Britain. They use sunlight to directly heat water flowing through a network of tubes across the surface of the panels. Fitted to roofs they can provide cheap, carbon neutral hot water.

• Combined heat and power units
The basic principle behind combined heat and power units, is that by generating your power requirements 'on-site' you are able to utilise waste heat from the energy generation process, for heating and hot water etc. See Combined heat and power units for more information. Combined heat and power units can be very eco friendly if the technology used to create the electricity produces very little carbon such as a biomass boiler or stove (see below).

• Biomass boilers and stoves
Biomass boilers and stoves burn wood chips and pellets to provide heat and power.

• Heat pumps
Heat pumps utilise the difference between underground temperatures and those in buildings to act like a fridge in reverse. Heat from underground is transferred into the home. Heat pumps are common in Scandinavia and the technology is growing fast in the UK.

• Micro-hydro
The ancient technology of the water wheel is coming back into common usage with energy from running water converted to electricity. These units are being fitted to old mill races, and are being installed in rivers. Depending on flow, they can provide enough electricity for hundreds of houses.

• Solar photovoltaic panels and film
Solar photovoltaic panels and film convert sunlight directly into electricity. The technology is developing rapidly as billions of dollars are invested in it in the US. It is hoped that the price of solar panels will fall as China takes over production lines and economies of scale in production become possible.

• Micro-wind
Small scale wind turbines can generate enough electricity for companies and householders to become self-sufficient. An attractive proposition as electricity prices rise.

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