Solar PV panels can be mounted on roofs or the ground in order to absorb as much solar radiation as possible. They convert this Solar radiation into DC electricity, and then AC electricity via an inverter. Solar panels are made up of smaller units known as solar cells, the most common solar cells are made up from a silicon, which acts as a semi conductor. Each PV cell can generate roughly 0.5 volts, but when you string them together into modules you can generate more power. To put it into perspective, 12 PV cells is typically enough to charge your smart-phone, to power an entire house, many more modules would be required.
Air Source Heat Pumps
An air source heat pump consists of two parts, and outdoor unit and an indoor unit, it functions in the opposite way to a fridge. They can either work as a heating only device or a heating & cooling device. The outdoor unit of the air source heat pump will take energy (heat) out of the ambient air by pulling the air through a fan. This outdoor air heats up a refrigerant to the point that is boils and turns into gas, thanks to its extremely low boiling temperature. Once boiled, the refrigerant is pushed through a compressor, which heats it further to temperatures of around 60-70degrees. This is then used to heat things like your hot water and radiators and underfloor heating.
Ground Source Heat Pumps
Ground source heat pumps work in much the same way as air source heat pumps, but instead taking energy from the air, they take solar energy which is stored naturally in the ground throughout the year. This energy is used to increase the temperature in your home. The heat pump uses pipe which is filled with a range of liquids to absorb the ground heat and transfer it indoors. This ground temperature heats up a refrigerant to the point that is boils and turns into gas, thanks to its extremely low boiling temperature. Once boiled, the refrigerant is pushed through a compressor, which heats it further to temperatures of around 60-70degrees. This is then used to heat things like your hot water and radiators and underfloor heating. Whilst this process does require some input of power, you can typically expect to get 4 units of energy out, for every unit you put in. Because of this cost effective ratio, ground source heat pumps remain one of the most efficient forms of renewable energy in the UK, especially when combined with solar PV.
Biomass is the name for a range of organic materials which can be used to produce energy, an example of biomass which are often used to generate energy is wood. As the biomass grows, it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere and traps the carbon in the tree. This is then harvested and burnt in a biomass boiler, in order to provide heat for a home. Because the carbon is being trapped, the CO2 emissions are minimal. Furthermore the the fuel is being replaced by new trees, making the process sustainable. The co2 emissions from processing and transportation can be offset by growing more biomass than is required for fuel.
Saxley Hill Barn, Meath Green Lane, Horley, England, RH6 8JA