Things to Consider When Choosing an Energy Supplier

When taking global warming into consideration, providing affordable and sustainable energy is a step towards a better future; however, the idea of spending energy differs from person to person. It is important to find an energy supplier that can meet an individual’s energy requirements.

Creating a strategic partnership with the right supplier can also help you deal with costs and improve the efficiency of your energy supply. Here are a few things you should consider beyond price while choosing an energy supplier.

what to consider when choosing an energy supplier

Sustainability options

A credible energy company will help you boost efficiency and choose the best energy supply alternatives. This can vary from Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) to in-house generation and tailor-sourced renewable energy.

Choose a supplier like Origin Electricity/Origin Energy. Origin Energy has the expertise to seamlessly integrate renewable sources into your existing energy portfolio. Origin Energy can also assist you in achieving a sustainability certification. Often, these brands are committed to lowering (if not eliminating) the negative impact energy production has on the environment. Depending on the supplier, you can source between 25% to 100% of your electricity usage from renewable sources.

Contract

Nobody likes to read through lengthy contracts, but we also want to have the terms of the contract explicitly mentioned. Whenever you choose an energy supplier, ask them to mention all the essential points and keep the paperwork minimal. Make sure the provider explains how demand and supply components will impact your energy bills.

The best energy supplier will compare the cost imputation of pass-through elements and find the best fit for you. The best supplier will allow you to choose between a fixed rate, a market-based rate, or a calculated mixture of both. Some suppliers will also allow you to buy electricity monthly. Knowing the contract terms will enable you to understand the variable components of energy prices.

Credibility

A customer must know if the provider they are choosing is financially stable, reliable, and credible. A financially sound supplier ensures that they will be there to supply you with energy, even during the ups and downs of the market.

The price will vary, it is inevitable, but the energy supply should not be ceased. A credible supplier must have business longevity, a reputation, a credit rating, and good customer reviews.

Customer service

Look for an energy provider that provides reliable customer service and replies promptly to queries. Make sure that the company offers excellent post-sale customer service. A proficient supplier will help you know about fluctuations in energy supply, prices, and deals (which happens quite frequently). Choose an energy company that proactively suggests savings opportunities and programmes related to energy effectiveness.

Licensed supplier

First identify what energy (solar, renewable, electric, or natural gas) your home will require. Afterwards, you must look for a supplier that offers those energy sources within your region. Try to figure out if the price includes taxes such as a state sales tax, fees, or charges. All the crucial facts must be available readily and transparently. Check if the company has a licence to serve your locality. If the company is licensed, then the licence number should be easy to find in your state utility committee.

Ways to Make Your Business More Eco-Friendly

Industry suppliers

If selecting an energy provider for business purposes, your energy company should understand your business needs based on its size and industry. The energy provider should have experience assisting businesses like yours to succeed.

A total electricity management technique incorporates several energy resolutions with guidance from energy experts to create a personalised strategy that helps customers take advantage of both demand and supply-side elements.

Final Thoughts

While choosing the best energy supplier for your home or business, look for these factors listed above. Find a well-rounded company that prioritises your requirements and helps streamline energy success.

A Beginner’s Guide to Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is all around us; we just need to figure out how to use it in our daily lives. We’ve all heard about renewable energy and the numerous benefits of switching from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas to wind power, solar power, biofuels, hydroelectricity, and hydrogen fuel cells. But what is renewable energy? And where does it come from?

Well, not only can you harness renewable energy through wind turbines and solar panels on your own home or business, but you can also benefit from the fact that companies are required to generate a certain amount of their electricity by using clean sources of power.

beginners guide to renewable energy

Even if your utility company doesn’t offer a “green” program yet, you might be surprised at how easy it is to reduce your carbon footprint by simply changing what type of light bulbs or appliances you use. The first step in understanding renewable energy is learning about how it works. So, here is our guide on renewable energy for beginners.

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy is a type of energy that can be replenished easily, unlike fossil fuels. Renewable sources include sun, wind, geothermal heat and water. Non-renewable sources include coal, oil and natural gas.

Renewable sources of energy

  • Solar Energy: the conversion of sunlight into electricity by photovoltaic cells or thermal radiation collectors (solar panels) used in solar heating systems.
  • Wind Power: generation of electricity by harnessing wind power through wind turbines.
  • Hydroelectricity: the production of electricity from falling water or moving water used as an energy source.
  • Biomass Energy: biomass includes plant matter such as agricultural crops and trees used to generate energy by burning them for their chemical components like ethanol.

How To Use Renewable Energy At Home or Work

Solar panels

You can make use of solar photovoltaic panels that you have installed on your roof to generate electricity for your home or office. These panels work by harnessing the sun’s rays and converting them into electricity, which can then be used for heating or powering lights and appliances.

Solar panels generate electricity during the day, even if it is an overcast day – although they do generate more power on sunny days. You can then store this electricity in batteries, which means you will still be able to use the power generated during the day at night.

You can save an estimated £700 a year by making use of solar panels and being less reliant on the national grid.

Solar heating

Solar heating also makes use of solar panels which have been adapted to generate heat in water stored in a hot water cylinder above the solar panel. You will require a few hours of direct sunlight to get really warm water, which can then be used to heat your building or for hot water in the faucets.

Heat pumps

Air source heat pumps use heat from the outside air to provide homes and businesses with heating and hot water. Heat pumps work in all temperatures – kind of like a reverse fridge.

green heating and cooling technologies

Air source heat pumps are much more sustainable than traditional heating systems and can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and make your home much more energy-efficient.

Despite high initial installation costs, this type of heat pump can save you more than £1000 a year on heating.

Wind turbines

Small wind turbines are available for homes and offices and can either be installed on a standing pole or on the roof of a building. When the blades turn, an internal turbine is activated, which generates electricity.

Biomass

Biofuel systems burn organic material to generate heat and provide hot water. Burning biomass (like wood chips or pellets) has a much lower carbon footprint than burning fossil fuels – it is estimated that burning wood in this manner only releases as much carbon as the tree absorbed during its life, making it a carbon-neutral heating solution.

IT in the bioenergy sector

Hydroelectricity

If your home or office is located near a flowing stream, you can use a small-scale hydroelectricity plant to generate power for your building.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy

Advantages

  • Clean source of energy.
  • Sustainable energy solution.
  • More affordable than fossil fuels.

Disadvantages

  • Not as cost-effective at producing electricity as fossil fuels.
  • Can be unreliable – for example, on many subsequent rainy days or days without wind, your solar panels and wind turbines will not be effective.

Final Thoughts

We hope this overview has given you a good background on renewable energy. Utilising renewable energy is a great step to reducing your carbon footprint and harnessing the power provided by nature.

Everything You Should Know About Electricity

Electricity, we use it every day but what is it? The dictionary defines it as a form of energy resulting from the existence of charged particles (such as electrons or protons), either statically as an accumulation of charge or dynamically as a current. This may sound confusing, but by breaking it down we can understand how it works. Electricity is used for many everyday things but breakthroughs of how to use it have resulted in many cool inventions, some of which you can explore on thehomesecuritysuperstore.

A Closer Look at Atoms

So, what is electricity? To understand how electricity works we have to break it down, starting with the charged particles. Everything is made of atoms, and these atoms are mostly empty space. Moving around in the empty space are electrons and protons. These each carry an electric charge, electrons being negative and protons being positive. These opposite charges attract each other. The atom is in balance when there are an equal number of protons and electrons. The number of protons determines what kind of element the atom is, and these numbers and elements are shown on the periodic table.

Imagine the atom as having rings around the nucleus, the center of the atom. These rings can hold a certain number of electrons which move constantly around the nucleus which holds the protons. When the rings hold electrons that are attracted to the protons the strength of this attraction can push an electron out of its orbit and even make them shift from one atom to another. This is where electricity occurs.

Traveling in Circuits

Now that we know the basics of electricity, we can look at how it works. For a basic understanding of how electricity travels through circuits and how we use electricity we will look at batteries and light bulbs. Batteries can produce electricity through a chemical substance called an electrolyte.

The battery is attached to two metals, one on either end, and produces a negative charge in one metal and a positive charge in the other metal. When the battery is then connected on either end by a conductor such as an electrical wire the electrical charge is balanced. If you were to attach a light bulb to the wire in between the sides of the battery, the electrical current would then travel through the light bulb to get to the other side of the battery and thus powering the light.

LED-lighting-workplace

Electricity moves through electrical circuits and must have a complete path for the electrons to move through. The switch or power button on electronic devices opens and closes this path. When you turn on the light switch the circuit is closed and electrons can move freely to turn on your lights. When you turn off the switch it opens the circuit not allowing the electrons through and turning off your lights. When light bulbs burn out the small wire connecting the circuit inside the light bulb breaks and stops the flow of electrons.

Final Thoughts

Energy flows through our entire world and understanding how electricity works is just the beginning. Of course, most of the electricity in your life is not connected to a single battery as in the example above, but the understanding on a basic level is very interesting.

Electricity literally powers everything in our lives and a world without it would be very different. Understanding how these things work lets us enrich our knowledge of the world around us and provides us with practical information we can use in our everyday life. Electricity is all around us and is used in more interesting ways than just light bulbs and batteries.

5 Aspects to Consider Before Switching Your Electricity Supplier

Opting for an electricity supplier with cheaper rates or monthly plans is not always a good idea. An affordable plan can help you save money without compromising usage, but you may miss out on several other benefits by focusing solely on cost.

For example, Rhythm is a Texas electricity provider that offers 100% renewable energy plans, which can benefit you and the environment. Below, we have compiled this guide to help you look closely at what aspects you must consider before making the switch.

Points to Consider Before Switching Your Electricity Supplier

1.    Renewable Energy

Green or renewable energy is the most crucial aspect to consider if you want to play your part in preventing global warming. Opt for an energy supplier that offers 100% renewable energy. The electricity they provide should be generated from solar energy, wind energy, or renewable biogas.

This will ensure that you will get an electricity supply that does not release toxic gasses and fumes into the environment upon production. Not using fossil fuels also means you will get a consistent electricity supply for a very long time.

2.    Excellent Customer Care

Electrical wiring and supply can get damaged and may require maintenance over time. You must opt for an electricity provider that offers excellent customer service to ensure that all your queries and issues are handled promptly and efficiently.

An excellent way to see whether a company’s customer care is up to par is by looking at annual reports and the company’s legitimacy. You can do so by searching for complaints to see how well the company handled them. You could also check Feefo, Trustpilot, and Google Reviews for customer feedback.

3.    Multiple Fuel Types

Some suppliers may offer both gas and electricity connections. Opting for a company that offers dual fuel will reduce the hassle of dealing with another company for a gas supply. However, you can also opt for separate plans if that seems more affordable or if you are being offered discounts. It is important to note that working with two companies can be a lengthier process as you will have to get two separate installations.

4.    Online Services and Rewards

If you like the idea of online services that allow you to monitor your electricity supply right from your smartphone, choose a company that offers an app or website to aid this. You will be provided access to an individual consumer account where you can get the latest information and check your billing status. The graphs, charts, and usage data on an app can help you become energy-smart and balance out daily consumption.

Opt for a supplier that offers loyalty points and rewards if you wish to avail discounts. This can make electricity even more affordable, and you may also get your hands on a few new electrical devices to help you achieve this.

decarbonize global energy system

5.    Pricing and Plans

Some companies offer monthly or yearly plans, while others offer a fixed rate. Choose an electrical energy supplier that allows you to cover the energy consumption of your house at an affordable rate. You may also want to pick between fixed rates or variable rates.

A fixed rate will not lower costs or offer discounts. A variable rate might fluctuate over time and become costly but may offer discount plans. You must research before you opt for any package or plan.

Endnote

Doing your research and assessing beforehand will allow you to pick a supplier that will provide you with ease of mind for a long time. You will not have to compromise on usage, won’t have to pay large bills, and will also be contributing to the environment by picking 100% green electricity.

Tips for Using Green Energy to Power Your Life

Are you interested in using more eco-friendly technology to power your life? And are you trying to find greener methods of energy that are just as efficient as coal, oil, or gas? If so, read on!

Using Green Energy to Power Your Life

Use Green Charging and Power Stations for Your Devices

Think of all the times you charge your phone, plug in a lamp, or plug anything else in. What do you usually plug each of those into? You likely plug it into an outlet in your wall in your home. And unless your home is powered by renewable energy, you’re increasing your carbon footprint every time you plug into the wall.

Though these methods are convenient, they are not the most environmentally friendly. However, there’s a simple alternative if you just grab the right equipment. For example, portable, clean energy power stations, such as a solar powered generator, is ideal for lowering your dependency on carbon-powered electricity. This way, you can do anything from charging your phone to powering a lamp or a box fan while using clean energy.

Using this small green solution is a good starting point for someone environmentally conscious and looking to start making a difference without making a significant investment.

Use Solar Panels to Power Your Home

If you are like most Americans, your house is probably powered by some natural gas, coal, or oil. However, you can flip that all around with an investment in solar panels.

Depending on the sun for power may sound inefficient and unreliable, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Over the years, the capability of solar panels has only increased and become a more dependable solution for homeowners.

Studies have shown that the most efficient type of solar panels to use are ones with N-type or P-type silicon energy cells and are panels that meet the Standard Test Conditions (STC). Thankfully, there are many solar panel manufacturers, so you will have plenty to choose from.

Some outside influences can affect the efficiency of the panels. These panels generally work best when the temperature is between 60 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Though they are made to be durable in colder or hotter temperatures than these, they just will not be as efficient.

Invest in an Electric Car

Though it can be costly, buying an electric car is a great way to be green. You can charge your electric vehicle by simply plugging it into your house. This may cause your electricity bill to go up. However, if your home is solar-powered, it will not cost anything to charge your vehicle.

benefits of switching to EVs

Electric cars produce almost no emissions and do not require gas and oil to be drilled up from the ground. Thus making them greener than gas or diesel-powered vehicles.

Most are subject to the rising and falling prices of gasoline. But using an electric car that does not require gas will be cheaper for you when prices are high. The monthly cost of extra electricity will not come nearly as close to the current monthly average for gas prices.

Going Green for the Planet

Every day, carbon emissions are doing more damage to the planet. So while depending more on green energy and less on fossil fuels will help the environment, you’re also doing your part to ensure a better future for you and your family.

You won’t be able to reduce your carbon footprint to nothing overnight, and not all solutions you’ll find out there are budget-friendly. However, if you do what you can, you can set your mind at ease knowing that you’re doing your best.

4 Ways Off-Grid Solar Systems Benefit Today’s Eco-Conscious Families

Within the past decade we have been hearing more and more about global warming and the need to invest in alternative sources of energy. We have been hearing about the need to reduce our carbon footprint to what is being termed as Net Zero, especially in corporate and government environments. They’ve set a target date of 2050 which is less than three decades from now but is that a realistic goal when little is being done to reduce the carbon footprint within the population at large?

Do we have sufficient sources of renewable energy to meet those goals? As it stands, probably not. This is why it is so important for today’s homeowners to understand all the benefits of alternative power such as off-grid solar systems. They provide benefits above and beyond sustainability. Here are the benefits of adopting off-grid solar systems:

benefits of going off-grid

1. Beyond the Conservation Concept

Today’s eco-conscious families have been told over and over to conserve energy. We are sold energy-efficient appliances and lighting solutions. Even so, those still draw energy from the grid and that means fossil fuels are still being utilised in some way. According to Arizon Australia, an off-grid solar system provider, if every home in Australia had renewable energy, then conservation would no longer be an issue in terms of electricity.

2. Less Dependence on the Rising Costs of Fossil Fuels

If you have recently noticed your power bill on the rise, it is almost certainly the result of the high cost of crude. While reducing your dependence on power generated all, or in part, by fossil fuels, you will be saving your family a healthy amount of money over time. Just the savings on the rising cost of fossil fuels is a major savings in itself because the prices power companies pay for crude are on the rise. Actually, you are paying for that with those higher bills!

3. No More Power Bills!

You might want to, at this point, calculate what you spend on electricity in a year’s time and then weigh that against the cost of an off-grid solar system. Within a short period of time, you will be realising a 100% savings in electricity because the sun doesn’t charge you!

Once the cost of that system is paid in full based on what you would have been spending on power, you are going forward into your future never again being billed for electricity!

Trends in Solar Energy Technology

4. Safe During Blackouts on the Grid

There is always a danger of hackers with nefarious intent shutting down the grid. It has happened and it will continue to be a concern because hackers seem to stay one step ahead of computer security software. Then there are natural disasters that can take down the grid for an extended period of time while lines are replaced, best case scenario. What happens when the power plant itself sustains damage that will take months to bring up to its current level of operation? No, it isn’t something out of a dystopian sci-fi flick. It’s a real concern that isn’t easily addressed.

Today’s homeowners are left vulnerable in a number of ways, the greatest of which is probably cost and second to that uninterrupted service. While doing something to reduce our carbon footprint you will realise benefits above and beyond what you had imagined. Isn’t it time you invested in your family rather than Big Oil in which you will get no return on your investment? We believe it is.

How to Become More Energy-Efficient at Work?

Nowadays, smart business owners are taking steps towards making their company more efficient in every way. By establishing more efficient processes, these businesses are capable of getting more done in a shorter amount of time, and they’re also saving money along the way. But, beyond helping their employees perform better, business pros are also working on implementing tools and strategies for becoming increasingly more energy efficient so that their business can be greener and so that they can save money on their energy bill.

save energy concept

If you are ready to take your basic eco-friendly office to the next level, keep reading for some helpful information on how to become more energy efficient at work.

1. Make the Switch to Laptops

Desktop computers that are always plugged in are always consuming some level of energy, even when they are turned off. Unless you have all of your electronics plugged into a power strip that is turned off at the end of every workday, those devices will continue draining energy, and you will see it on your energy bill. For this reason, a lot of businesses are opting to make the switch to using laptops rather than desktops.

Laptops only need to be plugged in when they are in need of a charge; the rest of the time, they use a built-in battery to function. This can help you save quite a bit of money on your energy bill, and it can also help you save much-needed space because laptops are smaller than desktop computers with separate monitors. This is one of the easiest ways to make your office more energy efficient, and your employees will likely welcome the change to laptops as well.

2. Purchase Products Having Energy Star Seal

Another way to save money on your energy bill while making your office more energy efficient is by switching to Energy Star appliances and office products that will use up far less energy than their counterparts. Properly dispose of old appliances, such as your office’s refrigerator and microwave, and replace them with Energy Star appliances so that you can start to save money and allocate it towards more important aspects of your day-to-day operations.

Beyond appliances, office products like printers, scanners, copiers, and computers can also come with the Energy Star seal, so be sure to stick with those as well. Because you use these products every day, and for hours on end, making the switch to energy efficient office equipment is wise.

3. Get Smart About Lighting

Another way to become more energy efficient at work is by focusing on the lighting throughout your office. It is important to replace outdated light bulbs that are less efficient than modern options. So, for example, you could replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, which do not contain the harmful mercury that compact fluorescent light bulbs contain. Beyond that, you can check to see if there are any light fixtures that you do not really need to have in place after all. Plus, simply turning the lights off when you leave a room can be a great way to save money really easily.

LED-lighting-workplace

You can even opt to install light fixtures that use sensors to determine when there are people in a room, thereby allowing the lights to turn on and off automatically. And, finally, whenever possible, take advantage of natural light during the day so that you can rely less upon artificial, energy-consuming light.

4. Keep Your Staff Comfortable, but Save Money Too

What temperature is your office thermostat currently set to? Do you think that you can maybe tweak the temperature a bit so that you could save money, while also keeping everyone comfortable? Many times, office thermostats are set at temperatures that end up costing the business a lot of money. Small changes in temperature can make a big difference in your energy savings, but your staff are not likely to notice the changes because they will still feel comfortable while they work.

To keep the workers productivity high enough, you should definitely keep your office warm with the minimum cost incurred. It is more reasonable to use the energy efficient radiators that enable you to control the heating easily from anywhere you want. For instance, you can use BestElectricRadiators to not spend much money and keep the heating as well as the productivity of the workers.

eco-friendly-business-practices

For example, you can save money during the summer by setting the thermostat to 78-80°F. When the workday is over, you can allow the office to reach 80°F because no one will be there anyway, so you don’t need to bother keeping the air conditioner going. In the winter, on the other hand, you can keep your thermostat set anywhere from 65-68°F, and you can let it drop to 60°F overnight when no one is in the office. Go ahead and change the temperature setting by a degree or two for a month to see how much you can save.

Conclusion

It is pretty clear to see that it is very important to become more energy-efficient at work. The first step involves setting up an eco-friendly office. But, once you have set the foundation, you can go even further by becoming energy efficient for the planet and for your bottom line.

The Issues and Impact of Energy Storage Technology

Renewable energy has taken off. Wind and solar in particular had grown rapidly, since they can be installed on a small scale and connected to the grid. This has created a number of problems for utility companies while failing to deliver the promised benefits because energy storage technology has not caught up. Let’s look at some of the issues with renewable energy before explaining how advances in energy storage technology will ease these concerns.

The Instability of the Power Grid

The rapid growth of renewable power has added to the instability of the power grid. First, the introduction of many variable power sources forces utilities to deal with varying power supply relative to demand. Second, the relative lack of energy storage systems means there is far more wasted energy than before. When there is a spike in solar or wind power, they can’t store most of it for future usage. This adds to the instability and risk of failure of local portions of the power grid.

If we had more widespread, efficient energy storage, energy producers could save power above the expected power created locally instead of leaving power companies to turn on and off natural gas turbines to meet variation in demand. It would also eliminate the need to build natural gas turbines as backup power sources for when new renewable power sources aren’t meeting expectations.

The Lack of Backup Power

Solar power has long been a source of power for off-the-grid properties. However, this is dependent on having energy storage on site, typically batteries. Yet many solar roofs were set up to minimize cause and maximize tax credits to the detriment of home owners. We can look at the multiple disasters that hit California along with their wildfires. Utility companies couldn’t raise rates to pay for more fire-resistant infrastructure. They could be sued for any new wildfires blamed on the power equipment. The utility company’s only solution as to turn off power to areas that were burning or at risk of catching fire, if they didn’t want to be shut down entirely.

Many homeowners and businesses that have shifted to solar power have been left wanting because of the government’s lack of initiatives when it comes to energy storage solutions. Experts suggest that if you are looking to install solar panels on your roof or campus, you need to make sure that you go for the best energy storage solutions in the market. This not only helps reduce dependency, but also ensures that you are getting uninterrupted power and electricity for your home and office using solar power. There is a misconception that energy storage solutions are expensive, when it reality they are not. If you are looking to go for one, you should view website.

California has one of the highest rates of solar roof installations in the world. Unfortunately, most of those solar roofs were connected directly to the power grid, and the home owner receives power from the grid. This minimized how much equipment had to be installed while giving them the ability to sell power to the grid and get power from the grid. The problem is that they couldn’t get power from the grid when the power grid was shut down unless they paid several thousand dollars extra for renewable energy storage; note that less than two percent of customers did this. That hurt the broader power grid, as well, since solar roofs couldn’t deliver power to the power grid when the power grid was shut down.

The greatest irony was suffered by electric car owners. Imagine being told that you need to flee the wildfires, and all you have is an electric car that you can’t charge. A few homeowners made matters worse by tapping into their Tesla car battery to try to power their homes for a while, draining it dry.

Yet those few people with battery storage systems were fine. Their homes were wired in such a way that they could pull from the battery power when the power grid was down, assuming they were ever connected to the grid. They could continue to run their air conditioners and other appliances though no one else had power. For those that had solar roofs connected to the grid and energy storage systems, the grid being down means all of their power went into the battery. That energy wasn’t wasted, and the family could use it.

Biomass Cogeneration Systems

Biomass fuels are typically used most efficiently and beneficially when generating both power and heat through biomass cogeneration systems (also known as combined heat and power or CHP system). Biomass conversion technologies transform a variety of wastes into heat, electricity and biofuels by employing a host of strategies. Conversion routes are generally thermochemical or biochemical, but may also include chemical and physical.

The simplest way is to burn the biomass in a furnace, exploiting the heat generated to produce steam in a boiler, which is then used to drive a steam turbine. Advanced biomass conversion technologies include biomass integrated gasification combined cycle (BIGCC) systems, cofiring (with coal or gas), pyrolysis and second generation biofuels.

Biomass Cogeneration Systems

A typical biomass cogeneration (or biomass cogen) system provides:

  • Distributed generation of electrical and/or mechanical power.
  • Waste-heat recovery for heating, cooling, or process applications.
  • Seamless system integration for a variety of technologies, thermal applications, and fuel types into existing building infrastructure.

Biomass cogeneration systems consist of a number of individual components—prime mover (heat engine), generator, heat recovery, and electrical interconnection—configured into an integrated whole. The type of equipment that drives the overall system (i.e., the prime mover) typically identifies the CHP unit.

Prime Movers

Prime movers for biomass cogeneration units include reciprocating engines, combustion or gas turbines, steam turbines, microturbines, and fuel cells. These prime movers are capable of burning a variety of fuels, including natural gas, coal, oil, and alternative fuels to produce shaft power or mechanical energy.

Key Components

A biomass-fueled cogeneration facility is an integrated power system comprised of three major components:

  • Biomass receiving and feedstock preparation.
  • Energy conversion – Conversion of the biomass into steam for direct combustion systems or into biogas for the gasification systems.
  • Power and heat production – Conversion of the steam or syngas or biogas into electric power and process steam or hot water

Feedstock for Biomass Cogeneration Plants

The lowest cost forms of biomass for cogeneration plants are residues. Residues are the organic byproducts of food, fiber, and forest production, such as sawdust, rice husks, wheat straw, corn stalks, and sugarcane bagasse. Forest residues and wood wastes represent a large potential resource for energy production and include forest residues, forest thinnings, and primary mill residues.

combined-heat-and-power

Energy crops are perennial grasses and trees grown through traditional agricultural practices that are produced primarily to be used as feedstocks for energy generation, e.g. hybrid poplars, hybrid willows, and switchgrass. Animal manure can be digested anaerobically to produce biogas in large agricultural farms and dairies.

To turn a biomass resource into productive heat and/or electricity requires a number of steps and considerations, most notably evaluating the availability of suitable biomass resources; determining the economics of collection, storage, and transportation; and evaluating available technology options for converting biomass into useful heat or electricity.

Solar Panels – The Advantages and Disadvantages for Homeowners

Solar panels are seeing a huge surge in uptake, with around a million roofs of UK homes now being adorned with them. One of the main reasons for this surge is the interest in renewable energy and climate change. Before you decide to go solar, take time to check out the main advantages and disadvantages as discussed below.

energy efficient technologies

The Advantages of Solar Panels

There is no doubt that one of the biggest advantages of solar panels is the potential to save money on your energy bills, something that is highly attractive when consider alongside the increased cost of living. According to the Energy Saving Trust, Most solar panel owners can make savings of between £250 to £600 a year, location-dependent, and will be able to sell any unused energy back to the grid for other users.

Another potential advantage is the ability to sell any unused energy back to the grid via the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). The SEG allows suppliers to buy any unused energy direct from solar panel owners in return for a cash payment. This not only helps your finances but also supports the demand for renewable energy and lower carbon footprints.

Finally, the other main benefit of installing solar panels is that it is a no-fuss solution that will not need excessive maintenance, nor will it make any noise when they are in use. Plus, most installers offer a 25-year guarantee on all the panels in case of any issues.

The Disadvantages of Solar Panels

Despite offering so many benefits, there are disadvantages that you will need to consider before forging ahead with solar panel installation. The first one is the initial cost of the system that you will need to invest in to get your solar panels up and running. Most homes can expect to pay over £6500 for solar panels even with the ongoing drop in prices as they become more popular.

Next, you will need to be realistic about the amount of energy your solar panels will create with the British weather. Solar panels are always going to work better on bright sunny days, meaning that your production will slow on cloudy days and through the winter and produce less energy for you to send back to the grid.

solar energy diy

Finally, solar panels are not suitable for every home, and you may find that your roof does not face the right way or have the right angle to accommodate the panels. Even if you do have the right roof, your solar panels will take up lots of space, so you will need to work out if your roof is big enough to offer the supply that you need.

Solar Panels – a Summary

Getting to grips with all the pros and cons can be daunting, so we have summarised them below for quick reference:

Pros Cons
Offers a genuine saving on energy bills Takes a long time to make any money back
Reduce your carbon footprint Can be expensive to install
Simple to maintain Hard to move once installed
Range of financial support options Weather can reduce performance
Several types of panels to choose between Can look unattractive
Make cash from the energy you do not use Needs lots of space
Noiseless once installed Not suitable for all roofs

If you are keen to proceed with solar panel installation, then take the time to search for the best deals and check out all the financial support packages that may be open to you as this will help you get the best return on your investment for years to come.