Beyond Solar | Other Forms of Residential Renewable Energy

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Defending your castle with a sovereign and sustainable energy supply is no longer an uphill struggle, mired in the Dark Ages of early development, or the Wild West of bootstrap energy start-ups. The New Renaissance is upon us, decades-long research efforts are paying off, providing unprecedented opportunities for homeowners, and the cost of securing your stake in the off-grid energy future has finally become affordable – and a wise investment.


According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the cost to install solar has dropped by more than 70% over the last decade alone, and the price of an average-sized residential system has halved, which is why investments in solar installations have seen average annual growth rates of 49%, driven by federal tax policies that have helped 16 million homes break from the chains of the moribund industrial age.


This revolution has brought new options to the table, as solar successes continue to power innovation, but homeowners are now weighing the financial and practical benefits of the four other major categories of alternative residential renewable energy:


  1. Wind Turbines


  1. Air Source Heat Pumps & Geothermal Energy Stores


  1. Biomass Systems


  1. Hydroelectric & Tidal Systems


Wind farms have helped ranchers ease the burden of their energy consumption, but they’re better deployed in rural areas, where their associated noise pollution and perceived unattractiveness are less impacting. In higher altitudes, weather currents are more likely to generate enough electricity to make the installation of wind turbines cost-effective. Although wind turbines are not as efficient at providing heating, as other renewable options, they remain a viable all-year solution for rural homesteaders, who benefit from almost zero ongoing running costs.


Air Source Heat Pumps & Geothermal Stores are two emerging ways to fill the heating and hot water vacuum left by wind power. Heat pumps exploit the temperature differential between internal and external environments to provide heat, a little like a fridge, but working in reverse. Although an excellent replacement for oil and gas-fired boilers, as silent-running cost savers, heat pumps only solve part of the overall household energy puzzle throughout the year – and they must be used in tandem with other systems. All-year geothermal stores bridge this gap between heating and electricity, by extracting energy directly from the warmth of the earth, but this solution is not widely applicable in areas with negligible underground geothermal activity.


Biomass energy is generated from organic waste, a welcome innovation that came to prominence in the agricultural industry, as a feasible replacement for carbon fuels. While research continues into residential applications for this technology, the concepts behind it remain controversial, in regards to hygiene and environmental pollutants. These systems require the handling of potentially hazardous waste and release carbon chain gases. Concerns have also been raised over the fact that biomass crops take up acreage and may drive up the cost of foods, with economic and social consequences worldwide.


Hydroelectric and Tidal Systems, which are 80% efficient, can be accessed by residential homes through an energy supplier, as an excellent way to bring down monthly costs and support the worldwide effort to reduce our global carbon footprint. However, they do not offer the possibility of selling energy back to the grid, as an independent residential energy generator – and they’re not available inland. With tidal powerplants remaining expensive and disruptive to marine environments, it is unlikely that this solution will play a significant part in the future of energy production.


On balance, given the collapsing cost of solar installations and the bright long-term future for the most abundant energy source on earth, choosing an affordable solar solution, to forever end monthly bills, remains the global gold standard of the residential renewable energy revolution. Our bespoke installations are the perfect way to lock in your home’s value through any economic conditions – and ensure that when the next generation inherit your achievements, they’ll be living in a better world.


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