Perhaps you grow your organic vegetables, and like myself, have great pride in the fact you can prepare a meal without a visit to the super market, you use biodiesel in your car and re use and repair everything you can.
Or on the other hand you may have a passing interest in eco living, sometimes buy ethical cleaning products, and have a window box of herbs, and although you realise it is important to be ethical, you find it too time consuming or expensive to do the eco thing all the time. Either way, the option of producing your own electricity and selling the surplus back to the grid should be considered a realistic option and a fairly easy to implement idea.
Achieving true independence from the national power grid and actually profiting from it maybe as great as a fisherman catching the elusive Moby Dick, or Hansel and Gretel’s escape from the evil candy giving witch. While this is certainly a most green thing to do and will give you full appreciation of electricity as a commodity, what are the cost implications?
Currently to make a financial profit is a long term venture and is dependent upon many things such as the type of generator you get, natural variables such as wind and sun and your electricity usage. Typically a PV electric solar panel may cost £11,000, until April 2010 there is a £2500 grant from the government if you are lucky enough to get one, which brings the cost down to £8500. This should take around 10 years to pay off and start to make a profit; also it will increase the value of your home, is maintenance free and has around a 30-40 year lifespan. This is suggesting that the price of electricity is similar in 10 years as it is now, however, if the price of electricity goes up substantially you may find the installation of a green generator to be fairly lucrative.
Should you want to go ahead with your own electricity supply, you’ll need to decide what source to go for, wind, water, solar etc. Solar seems to be the easiest as you don’t need planning permission (unless you live in a listed building) and it only takes a few days for installation. Also, unlike a wind turbine there is no negative impact on your view. With any of these, you’ll need a converter to sell back to the grid, but with power companies having to supply 10% of their energy via renewable sources they are more than happy to buy it from you, you will have to sell it to the company you buy it from however.
Your own green power, not only a long term investment, but a great way to have clean energy and gain real independence from the power companies, and given the expected increase in power prices you may be wise to look at getting a grant to help with cost before they are gone in April 2010.