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Renewable energy

Renewable energy is clean, produces few waste products, and comes from sources like the sun or wind that won’t run out.

Some renewable energy technologies are well suited to domestic-scale use, particularly solar (either for heating water or for generating electricity), heat pumps and biomass. Others – hydro or anaerobic digestion – are too big for a single home, but may be appropriate for a community such as a village or a group of buildings such as an industrial estate or university campus.

And if you're thinking of investing in one of these technologies, it's worth finding out how each of them works and their associated costs. Click on the links below to find out more.

CSE has made a series of videos that introduce the main renewable energy technologies. Click here to watch them (and if you like them, please subscribe to our YouTube channel). This is one of our favourites:

Householders and communities can be paid to generate their own electricity from renewable or low-carbon sources, through feed-in tariffs. For the latest details about feed-in tariffs, check out the Department of Energy and Climate Change website.

Most domestic renewable energy technologies are now classed as 'Permitted Developments' which means you won't have to apply for planning permission, though certain conditions will still apply. Check our guide to permitted developments.

You may find yourself approached by a company or organisation that wants to install solar panels on your roof and offers an incentive such as some free or discounted electricity. Some offers may be good, others are likely to be a rip-off. CSE has produced guidance for householders that you can read here.

If you are part of a community that wants to explore the benefits of a renewable energy project then why not check out our PlanLoCaL project. The resources made available through this project are helping hundreds of communities up and down the country shape their own low-carbon future.

Need more help?

We can advise you about saving energy, or help you understand what grants and support you're eligible for:

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