What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is generated from natural resources such as the sun, wind, and water, using technology which ensures that the energy stores are naturally replenished.  

Instead of buying all of your energy from suppliers, you can install renewables technology (also called micro generation and low-carbon technology) to generate your own.

What are the benefits of installing renewables?

There are lots of good reasons to use renewables. You will be:

  • making use of secure and local resources
  • reducing your dependence on non-renewable energy
  • helping to reduce the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
  • creating new jobs in renewable energy industries
  • reducing your energy bills. In some cases you can generate income by selling your surplus energy back to your energy provider. 

Find out the options for renewable technology in your home

Some technologies have specific requirements for installation:

  • Solar PV and solar thermal depends on the way your roof faces.
  • Solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass require space inside and outside.
  • Hydro requires a nearby stream or river.

Use the renewables selector tool on the energy saving trust website to help you find a suitable technology for your home.  

Be clear on what you want to achieve with your renewable technology

This will influence which technology is most appropriate for you. Many people want to save money and reduce their emissions, and it is becoming more possible to achieve both. Other factors can have an impact, for example:

  • If you need to replace your boiler or central heating system, installing a new biomass boiler or heat pump becomes more cost-effective.
  • If your priority is to save carbon dioxide, consider wood-fuelled heating, a large wind turbine or a large solar PV system.
  • If you want to do a bit for the environment but have limited funds, think about a cheaper option such as solar water heating.
  • If you live in an isolated rural property with no mains electricity, you may get the most reliable off-grid supply from hydro or from a mixture of wind and solar PV.

*Information adapted from The Energy Saving Trust