What Types Of Microgeneration Systems Are Available?
Thanks to modern innovations in the world of renewable energy technology, there has never been so many renewable energy sources as there is today. Luckily, most renewable sources can easily be adapted into microgeneration systems.
Before you dive headfirst into the world of microgeneration, you will want to compare the different types available out there. As some options are better suited to particular locations, it can a great idea to research which is the right option for your energy needs.
So whether you want to take advantage of renewable heat technology or wind power, below are a few of the most popular microgeneration systems out there perfect for business use!
Solar panels, or photovoltaic cells, are easily one of the most popular renewable energy sources. As they don't take up much space and are rarely eyesores, solar panels are one of the best choices for businesses looking to generate their own energy and break away from the national grid.
In terms of installation, solar panels are extremely straightforward so you won't need to worry too much about seeking a specialist. As long as they are in an area that receives a decent amount of sunlight, you can expect high amounts of renewable energy.
Although you may expect them to only be viable in the Summer, modern renewable energy technology has enhanced their use in both the Autumn and Winter months. This makes solar panels an impressive renewable energy source.
Most energy suppliers as well as the National Grid will also buy your excess energy from a solar power system. Just make sure you get your microgeneration certificate as soon as possible so you can make a profit!
Domestic Wind Turbines
Wind turbines are another popular option for micro generation systems. As they solely rely on wind power they are perfect for the British climate. This is especially true if you live somewhere on heightened land such as many regions in Scotland and the Midlands.
One factor of wind power systems you will need to consider is whether or not you have room for this fantastic renewable energy source. Most wind turbines are luckily fairly thin, but they will need to be pretty tall to access the highest levels of wind power.
This means you may need to spend a little more than other renewable energy sources. However, wind turbines require minimal maintenance and can produce incredibly high levels of energy. So much so that you can expect to quickly gather a large amount of excess energy that you can export.
Just keep in mind that there are a few safety specifics you will need to be aware of before you install a wind power source. These are fairly simple installations, such as a manual disconnect switch, so they will rarely cost an arm and a leg.
Micro Hydro Systems
Although slightly rare than other renewable sources, hydro systems can still be an efficient choice for micro generation systems. This is especially true if your business operates on the coast or near a running water source.
With micro-hydro systems, you can expect anywhere between 5 kW to 100 kW of electricity, but this will depend entirely on the natural flow in your area. They also make great accompaniments to renewable heat technologies water tends to flow faster in the Autumn/Winter months.
Be sure to always check whether or not a hydro system is an ideal option for your business as they are extremely reliant on nearby water sources. But if you are lucky enough to operate beside a flowing river or coastline then be sure to take advantage of this!
You will usually need permission from your local government for almost any microgeneration system, hydropower systems especially. If the river running beside your business premises is not solely owned by you, you will need permission to build a hydro system.
Micro Combined Heat and Power
Micro Combined Heat and Power, or Micro-CHP for short, is an incredibly effective renewable energy method suited to microgeneration systems. A Micro-CHP system can generate both heat and electricity to your business premises, which can save you a fortune in the Winter and Autumn months.
Although they are more commonly found in domestic properties, a Micro-CHP can still be used to power your business and keep it heated. CHP systems can use a range of fuels to generate electricity including solar/thermal sources, natural gases and even vegetable oils.
Due to their use of typical waste goods, they can be an incredible alternative to a more traditional heating method such as a combi-boiler. If you mainly rely on natural fuels such as biomasses and solar/thermal power, they are superb at lowering your emissions and lowering your carbon footprint.
Micro-CHP systems are best suited to smaller businesses as opposed to larger businesses, however, with enough fuel, they may even be able to keep large properties running. Any company wanting to switch out their boiler to an environmentally friendly option should consider a Micro-CHP system.
Pros & Cons
Microgeneration has the potential to be the future of energy generation thanks to its vast range of benefits. But this doesn't mean any business owner should go ahead and install a renewable microsystem on their business premises without first weighing up the pros and cons.
Thankfully, we have considered what you can expect from a microgeneration system and what benefits and drawbacks you can expect below!
Benefits Of Microgeneration
There would truly be no reason to set up a microgeneration system on your businesses premises if there weren't any benefits to it. But what can you expect from generating your own energy, and is it truly worth the fairly costly installation costs below?
Check out the benefits of microgeneration systems below to see if switching is the right call for your business.
Save money on energy bills
One of the best benefits of microgeneration, and one that will entice most business owners is the reduced energy bills. Energy costs can quickly become one of the most expensive running costs associated with a business.
By choosing to install a microgeneration energy system onto your premises, you will be able to generate your own energy. This will allow you to completely negate monthly or energy prices and potentially save a large sum each year!
You will, however, need to consider the initial cost to set up your own on-site energy generation. But by taking advantage of the Feed-in Tariff scheme and through renewable energy, you can quickly start saving or even making money!
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
The Renewable Heat Incentive, or RHI for short, is a government-led initiative designed to incentivize businesses to switch to renewable heat technology.
Any domestic or non-domestic property owner who signs up for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme will earn money once every 3 months for the next 7 years. The amount paid is dependant on the amount of renewable and green energy the owner's microgeneration energy system produces.
But why would the government want companies across the UK to switch to renewable heat sources? Well, simply put, if a majority of businesses switch to renewable energy sources then the UK's greenhouse emissions will quickly drop!
Carbon neutrality is something that most countries are striving for, and the UK is no different. The Renewable Heat Incentive is a great initiative for both domestic and non-domestic property owners who are looking to switch to renewable heat energy sooner rather than later!
Feed-In Tariffs - sell excess energy back to the National Grid
An incredible benefit to microgeneration systems, and one that businesses of all forms can benefit from, is the ability to sell excess energy to the National Grid. The Feed-in Tariff Scheme, or FIT for short, is designed to offer business owners an incentive to switch to generating their own energy from renewable sources.
So not only will you be saving money and lowering your carbon footprint from a micro-generation set-up, but you can also make a profit. As long as your business has Microgeneration Certification, any excess energy can be sold back to the National Grid.
Once you have set up a micro-generation energy system be sure to earn your certification as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the sooner you can take advantage of the Feed-in Tariff and earn yourself a tidy profit!
Reduces Your Carbon Footprint
No matter whether lowering emissions is one of your businesses values or not, you really can't go wrong with lowering your carbon emissions. Not only is it far better for the environment, but it will also improve how the public perceives you.
We have already mentioned it a couple of times, but almost all microgeneration options focus heavily on renewable sources. This means you can quickly build up enough power to keep your vital operations running, without spreading toxic fumes into the atmosphere.
Even if you are unsure of whether or not a microgenerator system is right for you, you should consider switching to an environmentally-friendly supplier. Here at Business Energy UK, we are determined to offer you the tools you need to compare tariffs and find the right option for you in minutes.
All you need to do is enter your business premises postcode, and you will be shown a range of fantastic suppliers the operate within your area.
To find out more or to access or extremely accessible comparison tool, be sure to check out our Business Energy homepage.
Drawbacks of Microgeneration
Although the benefits of a microgeneration installation far outweigh the drawbacks, you should still consider them. Setting up a microgeneration system can be costly and most forms of renewable energy will require some maintenance.
These are the main drawbacks to microgeneration (But as you may have noticed, there are far fewer drawbacks than benefits!).
Perhaps the largest drawback to microgeneration for most businesses is the initial installation and set-up costs. This is especially true if you aren't already using renewable energy as you may need to overhaul your entire system.
However, this is also one of the drawbacks that can quickly become obsolete. As long as you have enough money to initially set up a micro-generation system, you can quickly start earning it back and saving on your bills.
Given enough time and through smart use of the Feed-in Tariff scheme, you will make back your initial costs. If you have enough profit to cover the initial set-up costs, then there are truly very few drawbacks to a micro-generation energy system.
Depending on the microgeneration system you choose, there may be a fair amount of maintenance that is required. Wind turbines and hydro systems perhaps require the most maintenance, whereas options such as solar/thermal panels can be left relatively maintenance-free.
Relying solely on the National Grid to power your business can be fairly stress-free. But by doing so, you may be missing out on incredible savings and a massive reduction in your greenhouse gas emissions.
Renewable energy generators are relatively easy to keep running, thanks to recent innovations. They are also far cheaper than relying on the National Grid as you don't have to worry about the general trends in the energy market.
Most maintenance required is thankfully cheap, but it will need to be considered if you want to get the most out of your energy generation. As long as you put in the effort to keep it churning, a business microgeneration method is highly recommended!
Unpredictable Energy Output
Another potential drawback to relying solely on a microgeneration system is that they are far less predictable than a National Grid supplier. As most micro-systems will use solar, wind or hydropower, it can be hard to truly gauge their energy output for the future.
This is especially true in the UK as the weather is unpredictable at the best of times. A day may be forecasted for bright suns and zero cloud coverage, however, this can quickly change and lower the effectiveness of a system such as photovoltaic cells.
Luckily, most renewable sources will still be incredibly effective, even on days where the weather is not in their favour. You can also install a combined microgeneration system, such as pairing up a solar panel with a hydro system.
This way you can be sure that your distributed energy remains the same, and your important tech will keep on running.
With renewable energy quickly becoming the main focus of the energy market, microgeneration has the potential to be the future. There has never been an easier time than now to set up your own independent microgeneration system that can keep your essential machinery running for years to come.
So whether you are familiar with the different systems out there, or you are considering installing a microgeneration system yourself, we hope we have helped point you in the right direction.
Be sure to keep our comparison tool in mind when you are next looking to switch business electricity suppliers or find a renewable source that's right for you.