Which renewable energy source is right for my business?
With an increasing number of businesses considering installing renewable energy generation technology, and with many different types now available, it can be a daunting task. There is, of course, an upfront investment to consider with most technologies, but the longer term benefit of boosting a company’s green credentials is often overlooked. A good environmental policy can aid your business by broadening your recruitment pool, supplier network and customer base, ultimately raising your profile by showing a commitment to professionalism and good practice.
Opting to use renewable sources will also allow your organisation to reduce consumption and therefore its reliance on carbon fossil fuels. In turn, this will alleviate the demand for energy from existing non-renewable sources.
Before choosing a renewable supply, it is important to understand how renewables fit into the overall strategy of your business and whether you have an appropriate installation site available and a sufficient budget to invest.
What renewable energy systems are available?
There are a number of options to choose from:
Solar PV - photovoltaic panels (generating electricity from the sun)
You will need to consider how much energy you need and whether any excess can be sold back to the National Grid. This is a generally low maintenance option, though the ‘solar boom’ prior to 2008 led to many low-quality installations which may now need performance checks.
Solar thermal energy (using sunlight to heat the water stored in your hot water tank)
This option is easy to install, provides a boost to stored hot water and reduces the energy needed to fully heat the water.
- Biomass systems (generating heat from burning organic material)
It requires space and the use of certified fuel. Unlike solar it is controllable but is relatively maintenance heavy.
- Anaerobic digestion (breaking down organic material to produce biogas or biomass fuel)
Small units are suitable for businesses with high food waste or biogas can benefit those where there is a large supply of organic material.
- Geothermal, ground and air source heat pumps (using the ambient natural energy around us)
Heat is captured either from the air, ground or deep boreholes and used to heat a stored water system.
- Combined heat and power (a highly efficient way to use gas to generate both heat and electricity)
If your business has a need for constant heat as well as power this can be a sensible option.
- Hydroelectric power (constant, reliable energy from running water)
This option can have significant negative social and environmental impacts but is one of the more predictable and reliable sources of renewable energy with a longer lifespan. Any excess generated can also be sold back to the Grid.
- Wind power (using turbines to generate electricity as the wind blows)
Supply can be variable and installation is reliant on ample space being available.
Our Consultants at BCR-ECS understand that installation of a renewable energy technology is a long-term strategic choice for your business, ultimately dependent on your specific business goals and available level of investment. That is why we will help you evaluate your options and choose the right technology to take your business forward.