Struggling To Keep Warm? Gas Not An Option?

2 in 5 homes in Rural Areas are not on the gas grid, Government figures show

In hard to reach, remote areas of England, many people do not have the option of utilising gas to heat their water or homes. Alternative fuels, such as oil, can cost a fortune, not to mention the upkeep of the machinery that supports it. So what other alternatives do these people have? 

Luckily, there are a few environmentally  methods that can pay the owner back in dividends.

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive opened in April 2014, since then thousands of people from rural areas have joined the scheme and have been benefiting from payouts from the government, equivalent to the amount of renewable energy that they have produced.

There are four main renewable sources that UK citizens can use to be applicable for the scheme – with a few fair use policies attached to each one:

1) Biomass only boilers and biomass pellet stoves

Bio mass boilers are far and away the cheapest alternative to non-renewable sources. Installation of these burners is simple and the fuel, which you can buy online from vendors such as Liverpool Wood Pellets, is relatively cheap as well.

In order to be applicable for the scheme you must burn the wood pellets to heat space, rather than cook food. If you’re using a boiler, then they must be designed to use solid biomass fuel only.


2) Air source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps function with a small amount of electricity, so that they are not completely sustainable. They can be expensive to install, costing anywhere between £7,000 and £11,000, you’ll also need a fair amount of space (preferably a warm, sunny wall) to place it.

To be eligible for RHI payments, the heat must be sourced from the air and not from an appliance or a building that is already generating heat. The pump must also use a compressor driven by electricity and meet a minimum seasonal performance factor (SPF) of 2.5.


3) Ground source heat pumps

A ground source pump works on the same principal as an air source heat pump. Using a small amount of electricity, the pump is instead laid underground to collect the ambient heat energy from beneath the earth. A large back garden is generally needed to install a system like this – they are, however, a great deal more expensive at a costly £11,000-£15,000.

If you want to receive RHI payments from the government, you’ll need to be able to prove that you’re the only person using the system – you can’t share it with other properties. Once more an SPF of 2.5 is also required.


4) Flat plate and evacuated tube solar thermal panels

Solar panels, often situated on the roofs of homes, are far and away the most popular option for renewable energy installations. They’re relatively cheap to install, with 16 panels (which will provide a good amount of energy, even during the darker winter months) costing as little as £5,000.

The one draw back of using solar panels is that you’re restricted to how use the energy. Electricity harnessed from solar power must only be used for the heating of domestic water, which means that you can’t get money back for heating your outdoor pool or generating domestic electricity for home use.