Renewable heat soon to join the energy revolution
Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 6 November 2009 at 9:13 am
The reason for this is that solar thermal systems have always been the most efficient renewable energy systems. Solar thermal hot water systems directly convert the sun's infra-red radiation into heat. No other energy is needed apart from a small pump and there are no processes that reduce efficiency such as those involved in generating electricity from the sun.
However, in the last few months this has all changed with the proposed introduction of the feed-in tariff in April 2010. It will dramatically increase the use of renewable energy by providing a long term financial incentive for people to invest in generating renewable electricity.
Initially, the feed-in tariff will pay a higher amount for electricity generated than for heat. Although a solar thermal system produces more Kwh/£, the feed-in tariff effectively makes a solar PV system a better financial option as the energy produced by a PV system is worth more.
But not for long. The situation will change again in April 2011, when the government introduces the renewable heat incentive (RHI). The RHI is a ground breaking strategy to increase the uptake of renewable heat in the UK.
Heat is a huge part of household energy consumption and accounts for nearly half of Europe’s total energy demand. Until now this has been largely overlooked. We don't know yet how the RHI will be implemented or how the payments will be figured. We do know that all systems installed since 15 July 2009 will be eligible for the RHI.
Currently, the Renewable Energy Association is predicting that the RHI will pay about 16p per kw for heat generated by solar thermal systems.
It is clear that we are on the verge of a renewable energy revolution. Until now the biggest barrier for people wanting to generate their own renewable energy has been the up-front capital cost. With the introduction of the feed-in tariff and the renewable heat incentive the government is making renewable energy available to everyone.
Photo by maistora
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