Page last updated at 15 June 2015 at 14:59
What is renewable energy?
Most of the UK's electricity comes from burning fossil fuels like coal and gas which were formed millions of years ago and cannot be replaced.
Renewable energy is generated from sources that are sustainable and the earth will replace like wind, water, sunshine and biomass.
The UK has committed to generating 15% of our energy from renewable sources by 2020 which can only be achieved by investing in a range of technologies. The Government incentivises domestic investment by offering cash payments for generators of electricity and heat.
If you are thinking about generating some of your own energy please read the information on our website and contact us or the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 for further advice, before going ahead.
The following technologies generate electricity and you will earn money from the government in the form of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT):
- Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels generate electricity from the sun which is either used in your house for free, or exported to the national grid. Read more from the Energy Saving Trust about solar PV panels.
- Wind Turbines generate electricity as the wind blows. Smaller turbines generally don't provide enough power to be worthwhile for individual properties but large scale community schemes are excellent and very efficient. Read more from the Energy Saving Trust about wind turbines.
- Hydro generates electricity from the flow of a river or stream. It is a constant source of energy as long as the level of the water doesn’t decrease too much during the summer months. Read more from the Energy Saving Trust about Hydroelectricity.
The following technologies generate heat for your home and you will earn money from the government in the form of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
- Solar Thermal Panels heat your water supply and should provide most of your hot water over the summer and to a lesser extent the rest of the year. Read more from the Energy Saving Trust about solar thermal panels.
- Ground or Air Source Heat Pumps to water work like fridges in reverse and extract heat from the air or ground which can be connected to radiators, underfloor heating and heat the hot water in your home. The ground source loop must be buried in your garden and requires a lot of space whereas the air source is a box that sits outside your house. They are most cost effective when installed in homes that are not connected to the mains gas network. Read more from the Energy Saving Trust about Air source and Ground Source.
- Biomass Heating burns wood, woodchips or pellets to heat your home, individual rooms or water. Stoves can be used to heat individual rooms and some can be fitted with back boilers for hot water or radiators in other rooms. Larger systems can run your whole house or community building. Biomass does produce CO2 but is counted as renewable if the fuel comes from local managed woods where new trees are planted when older trees are cut down. Read more from the Energy Saving Trust about biomass heating. Some areas of the UK are smoke control areas where restrictions apply.
Generate heat and power
The following technologies generate heat for your home and electricity. You will earn money from the government for the electricity you generate in the form of the FIT.
- Solar Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) Panels heat your water as well as generate electricity from the sun. They are not widely used yet so seek advice from the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 before going ahead.
- Micro CHP generates electricity and heat at the same time from the same energy source (usually mains gas or LPG), meaning less energy is wasted. Read more from the Energy Saving Trust about CHP.
Read more about the FIT and RHI schemes from the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (ofgem).
Visit our pages to see how Eastleigh Borough Council is investing in renewable energy to cut its carbon footprint.
Renewable energy in Eastleigh
Eastleigh Borough Council is keen to promote the uptake of renewable energy within the Borough on commercial buildings as well as residential properties. Please note that equipment should be sited to minimise effect on external appearance of the building and amenity of the area.
The Council is still considering more PV installations both for ourselves and in partnership with other organisations but will look at each proposal in detail to ensure it is financially viable.
Planning permission is not normally required for the installation of solar panels on a house as long as they adhere to these basic guidelines:
- the solar panels must not project any more than 200 mm from the existing roof plane
- the highest part of the solar panels must not exceed the highest part of the existing roof (excluding any chimney)
- if you live in a listed building or within a conservation area your permitted development rights are more restricted.
Other restrictions may apply. For up to date information visit our Planning Advice page.
The Green Deal
Most of these measures are available through the Green Deal which is the new way for owners and tenants to pay for energy-saving improvements to their home or business.
To find out more, contact Giles Gooding on 023 8068 8274, email email@example.com, Twitter @EcoEastleigh