What are the pros and cons of using renewable energy in your home?

Not so long ago, the thought of having renewable energy (such as water, wind and solar) at home was uncommon and quirky. Whilst there were some people making the move to go green, for the most part, it was easier and cheaper to stay on a traditional energy package.

But in recent years, energy sources like solar panels and heat pumps have become more popular, as people understand the importance of tackling climate change. They've also become more widely available and affordable, especially with the UK government creating financial incentives for heat pumps and other renewable heating schemes.

But what are the pros and cons of using renewable energy in your home? We take a look, so that you can decide what is right for you.

Pro: Helping to save the planet

The undeniable benefit of renewable energy is that it is much better for the environment than fossil fuels, both because it doesn't generate harmful carbon dioxide and because it won't run out. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which is contributing to the greenhouse effect that is warming the planet. Rising temperatures are causing extreme weather conditions which are ruining habitats and endangering lives.

Whilst it might not feel like it, switching to renewable energy at home can make a difference. 22% of the UK's carbon emissions are generated from homes, so if we all made the change, this collective effort would have big consequences.
Solar panels on a roof

Con: Installation and maintenance costs

There's no ignoring the fact that solar panels, heat pumps or at-home wind turbines are expensive to install, and so require a chunk of funds up front. Wind power is more efficient than solar, for example, but the Energy Saving Trust estimates that a domestic 5kW pole-mounted system can cost up to £34,000, so it's hardly a small-change investment.

You'll also need to consider the maintenance costs and effort that goes into the upkeep of these power sources, which are harvesting the elements. For example, you'll need to clean your solar panels so that they remain as efficient as possible, and any mistakes made by using abrasive materials or the incorrect soap can mean an additional expense for repairs. You're also likely to need to get on the roof to clean solar panels and check wind turbines, so you either need a head for heights or you'll need to pay a contractor to do this for you!
Roof with some solar panels mounted on it

Pro: Saving money in the long run

Whilst it might be hard to look past the initial cost of installing renewable energy, over time, it pays for itself in the money you save. In a time of rising energy costs, it's easier than ever to see how generating your own power, independent of any price fluctuations, might be a good thing.

You can also 'sell back' the energy you don't use to the National Grid, so that it's not going to waste. Investing in storage can be a crucial factor in deciding whether renewable energy is the right choice for you. Being able to store generated energy for when you need it is a much better option than only being able to benefit from it when you're at home.
Wind Turbines in a garden

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