Renewable energy for your home in Notting Hill
With gas boilers increasingly in the crosshairs in our fight to reduce carbon emissions,  we thought it might be a good time to take a look at some more eco-friendly options for heating and powering our homes.

There are five main categories of renewable energy sources and these are wind turbines, solar power, micro-hydro power, ground source heat pumps and biomass fuels. Each one has a different set of requirements and the location or orientation of your property has a serious bearing on which of them are suitable for you.

We’ll start with solar power and the first thing to note is that there are actually two different types of solar power systems. Some generate electricity and some just heat water. In basic terms, both devices use the power of the sun to generate either heat or electricity. The latest generation of panels don’t need constant sunshine in order for them to work but, ideally, you need a south facing roof. It is sometimes possible with an east of west facing one, but not if it’s north facing. In England, most solar power systems don’t need planning permission, but your roof will need to be able to support the weight of the panels. Additionally, a water tank is required for the water system and a battery is recommended in order to store excess power from the electricity generating systems.

Installing a solar hot water system in your home will cost between £4,000-£5,000, depending on the size of the property and the energy requirements. They do not tend to produce dramatic savings, but you can expect to reduce your annual bill by around £60 per year compared to a gas system (Energy Saving Trust –

The good news is the price of electricity generating (photovoltaic) solar panels has fallen dramatically in recent years – down 82% since 2010. The cost of installing the average 3.5kW system is now around £4,800 and will reduce your household’s carbon emissions by over a tonne a year. It will save you money, too. If you’re home all day you and are selling any excess capacity back to the grid, you could save around £300/year, or £220 for nine to fivers. At those levels, it will take between 16 and 23 years to recoup the installation cost.

Wind power also comes in two different forms, building-mounted or, the more powerful, mast mounted turbines. Clearly, one of the key issues is whether you have enough wind to power it. You can do this by going to and entering your postcode. Turbines work much better in more exposed areas with consistent wind. You will almost certainly need planning permission and it is recommended that you also store excess electricity from a windy day in a battery linked to the system. Mast mounted versions are more expensive and require considerably more space. For a 6kW pole, the average installation cost is between £23,000- £34,000. It would typically generate savings of about £250/year and cut carbon emissions by 2.5 tonnes. In addition, you could  earn up to £440 per year in Smart Export Gurantee payments (