modern and sustainable house

Home Owners Turn to Renewable Energy as Utility Bills Rise in the Recession

Electricity Meter


Drastic rises in gas and electricity prices have left millions of households across the U.K. feeling the squeeze when it comes to energy bills. Last year alone saw a shocking £224 added to the average household’s living costs; an increase made even more daunting by budget and wage cuts made during the recession. Simply put, people are seeing more money go out and less money come in. In these times of hardship, it’s no wonder that cost-effective alternatives to big utility suppliers, like renewable energy and solar panels, have become popular.

You might be surprised to discover that when you create your own renewable electricity, through a system such as Evoenergy Solar Panels or wind turbines, not only are you saving money, but you can also receive money from the energy that you create. The government-run Feed-In Tariff Scheme (FIT) rewards you for using your own energy, and purchases any surplus energy from you. This means that your energy supplier actually pays you, rather than the other way round. Under this scheme, a typical 3kWp solar electricity system would save you roughly £670 a year; £100 of this saving comes from a reduction in your electricity bills, while the other £570 is actually paid directly to you through the FIT scheme.

If you’re worried about the initial investment costs involved in setting up renewable energy equipment, Renewable Heat Premium Payments are also available to subsidise these costs. Starting at £300, and extending up to £1250, these one-off grants are designed to help you offset any costs you may incur when making your switch to renewable energy.

When deciding which form of renewable energy system is right for you, there are a lot of options available. First you need to decide how much money you are willing or able to invest. All renewable energy systems become profitable over a length of time, often around the five-ten year mark, but committing £20,000 or more for a large wind turbine or hydroelectricity system can be a daunting prospect. A better solution for those looking to alleviate some of the pressure caused by monthly utility bills would be to consider a smaller investment. A typical-sized Evoenergy solar thermal system can be installed from £4,000, with an immediate £300 rebate from the Renewable Heat Premium Payment scheme. These systems provide an average of around £1,000 of annual benefit, though this can vary depending on the size of the system. With such a high return, not only will this system help you to repay your investment within four-five years, but it will actually earn you money after this period.

For those in suitable locations, a roof-mounted 1kW micro wind turbine can be installed for around £2,000, providing an average of £500 back each year through the FIT scheme. Even taking into account the yearly maintenance costs of around £100, after 4 years you could be generating a significant profit.

Regardless of what model you choose, whether it’s wood-fuelled heating, ground and air source heat pumps, or a solar panel, renewable energy is not only great for the environment, but financially beneficial. The long-term return can provide a great way to cut down on your monthly bills and put a bit of money back into your pocket in a tough economic climate.

pic via Creative Commons by James Burrell


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