Renewable energy for existing homes

Increasingly householders are coming to understand the financial and environmental benefits of integrating renewable energy technologies within their homes.

We are all now aware of the need to cut back on carbon emissions, and it is because of this that the government is offering significant financial incentives to those adopting renewable energy sources.

Most homes are suited to some or all of these technologies and it is the wise investor who takes advantage now of the government incentives on offer, for installing systems that will save significant energy costs in the long term.

You can read a brief outline on each of the technologies we install below. To discuss installation in your home please get in touch.

If you invest in a Solar PV system for your home, you get free electricity and can sell your surplus generation to the National Grid; plus the government pays you the Feed-in Tariff just for generating that electricity. Combine all these and typically the rate of return on your investment is 8%-11% tax free, index linked and guaranteed for 20 years. Where else can you find an investment like that while you help save the planet? And with electricity prices set to increase by around 10% each year, the benefit of your PV system will stretch long into the future.

  • Solar PV attracts the Feed-in Tariff, which is paid for all the electricity you generate
  • A Solar PV system will give you significant electricity savings and add to the value of your home
  • SYstems can be roof-mounted or ground-mounted
  • You don’t need a South-facing roof; Solar PV will work on roofs facing South of East or West
  • If you are re-roofing, roof-integrated PV systems are less obtrusive than conventional panels and save on roofing materials
  • Discreet solar slates and tiles are available
  • Modular systems that combine Solar PV and Solar Thermal technologies are available that will form complete roofs

Several products have recently entered the market which help people with PV systems make the most of their generated electricity and minimise the payback time of their system.

Heat water using excess energy from your PV system

apolloThe Apollo GEM is an electronic device that constantly monitors the electricity generated from your PV system and diverts any surplus to an immersion heater. Further to this, if water in your tank is already hot another load, for example a storage heater, electric under floor heating or panel heater, can be switched on.

The unit can be installed as part of a new system, as well as retrofitted, making it ideal for customers who already have a PV system installed but who aren't using solar thermal.

The PowerRouter

Powerrouter -smallThe PowerRouter product currently installed in two of Solarsense's PV installations is from Dutch electronics engineering firm, Nedap. The PowerRouter controls whether to use the generated energy immediately, store it in batteries or feed it back to the grid. No additional inverters or cables are required: just connect the solar panels, batteries, loads and grid to the PowerRouter, in place of a traditional inverter*.

The PowerRouter also acts as a battery backup, maintaining the house electrical supply in the event of a power cut. On our own properties, use of energy from the grid has reduced and with the included monitoring software we can see exactly what has been generated and what has been stored and to date.

Contact us to see how you can optimise the power from your PV system.


*PowerRouter is currently only available as a retrofit option for systems above 3.75kWp.

Why use oil or gas to heat your water when you can heat it free using the sun’s energy? A Solar Thermal system will provide most of your hot water from May through September and significantly reduce the cost of heating water during the six months of winter. In addition, under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) the government will pay you for seven years just for installing this technology in your home.

  • Will attract annual payments from the RHI
  • A solar thermal system will provide most of your household’s hot water needs May through September
  • Reduces dependency on oil or gas
  • Excellent for low temperature heat systems such as underfloor heating
  • Can be combined with heat pumps / biomass boilers
  • Easy to incorporate on most roof types with a wide orientation tolerance 

The installation cost for a typical domestic solar thermal system is around £4-£5000. Exact prices will be site-specific and dependent on a (free) site survey. 

A typical, correctly sized) domestic solar thermal system will provide around 70% of annual domestic hot water demand, generating savings on heating bills of £3-400 each year. The greatest savings are realised for larger homes and those with oil fuelled heating. Solar thermal can also be used for eficient heating of swimming pools. WIth fuel costs continuing to rise a solar thermal systems will pay for itself many times over its 20 year design life.


Many people are justifiably concerned about the escalating cost of oil and gas. Heat pumps and pellet boilers mean you need no longer be dependent on expensive fossil fuels and running either of these technologies will save you around 40% over your old oil bill. And in Spring 2014 the government is introducing the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) that will pay you a fixed amount annually for seven years, according to the amount of fossil fuel you displace by using your renewable heat source. (The RHI will be is available on equipment installed post July 2009.)

Heat Pumps:

  • Will attract annual payments from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
  • Will save 40% over the running cost of a conventional oil-fired boiler
  • Reduce dependency on oil or gas
  • Are environmentally friendly
  • A very large area of land is required for ground source heating
  • Heat pumps are not as quiet as conventional boilers so are best installed in a plant room
  • The heating circuit operates at a lower temperature, so you need 25% larger radiators
  • Combining a solar thermal system will reduce summer use of the heat pump to almost zero