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Author Topic: Which Renewable energy  (Read 6119 times)


  • Joined Apr 2012
Which Renewable energy
« on: April 07, 2012, 07:02:47 pm »
Hi All

I am currently looking at starting a smallhoilding with my wife and 2 children, i am looking for about 8 archers and want to keep pigs, chickens, goats and grow vegtables. I have found the house that i am going to get and it has a roof surface area of 67m2 which as its a new build i can put south facing and fill with solar pannles adjusted to the optimum 30deg. i was also looing at getting ground source heating to warm the house and the hot water (dose anyone have a rough DIY cost of installing either of these sytems?)

I was also looking into wind power but i am reading more and more that in Kent where i live the wind speeds are just not up to enconomicly using a turbine. Dose anyone use one? can anyone tell me if they are a good investement in low wind areas?

I am wanting to make my new home as eco as posible and only use the mains if really needed i would like to be 100% self sufficiant if that is possible, is anyone on here 100% self sufficiant.

Please give me any advice you can as i want to get this right.


« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 05:26:36 pm by Dan »


  • Joined Jan 2012
  • North Devon/ West Exmoor
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2012, 09:15:39 pm »
I would talk to a few local installers - find ones who do turbines and PV so you get a balanced opinion.  If your location is not outstanding for wind then PV would be a better option - especially in south of england (and kent has less rain than SW so should be plenty of sunny/bright days.  The installers have all the data and will do a forecast/return on investment as well (based on the FIT). 

You mentioned a new build / orientated south - you have to build as per your planning permission, so make sure your approved plans show the required orientation and roof pitch.
Traditional and Rare breed livestock -  Golden Guernsey Goats, Blackmoor Flock Shetland and Lleyn Sheep, Pilgrim Geese and Norfolk Black Turkeys. Capallisky Irish Sport Horse Stud.

Simple Simon

  • Guest
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 09:30:11 am »
There's a map of wind speeds at together with a pie of health warnings.  We looked into this and we're advised that we had nowhere near enough wind enough of the year to justify the cost. We are on Hertfordshire borders: a neighbour installed a small one a few years ago but took it down and sold it last year.

Last year our PV exceeded the forecast output by about 30%. FIT has fallen of course but install costs are now much lower.  Well worth it if your roof aspect is right

Most cost effective into build in energy efficiency into a new house.  And rainwater storage, esp for Kent


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 04:31:38 pm »
Thanks for the link, where I currently work we have just removed 3 1000ltr grp tanks which were due to be scrapped I have taken them to use for rain water collection  ;D


  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 09:33:34 pm »
Optimum angle for solar heating collectors is 50 degrees Oilybob -you need the heat in Winter. Electicity panels are 30 degrees to maximise return on investment. Important South face is uniterrupted, no trees or potential buildings. So basically you need to own it.

If you get a Wind Turbine get a good one, because you will only have one. Evance 9000 is a quiet high performance expensive unit and my only choice. Looks expensive now but when electricity is 5 x the price it is now? Talk to them and they will give projections for your area. If you want to be self sufficient is doesn't matter when it pays back.

Don't be temped by salemans claims on temperature output for heat pumps. Run at lowest possible temperature to maximise CoP (efficiency). This means no domestic hot water, use solar and bring to final temperature electrically. The required water storage temperatures of 60 -65 degrees is for killing Legionella. I don't advise running at lower and it's not legal anyway. All water contains Legionellas -25 plus varieties 3 with no known cure.

I've looked into all this in detail. Don't forget wood burner for backup, as your heat pump will break down and if your underfloor pipes freeze!! Have submitted my own plans on the basis of above.


  • Guest
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2012, 07:57:12 pm »
Great Post Rob,

We are contemplating an eco log home with additional farm shop instead of the garage(sophie- in our smallholding and was toying with the idea of solar panels,I really am uncertain about any of this and have not really looked into it in depth,to be honest I have no clue how it all works,I would like to be able to produce all my own power if it was possible.

We had decided to have a log stove/burner with back boiler for the water etc,but still need to delve deeper,as you say it would be really great to be 100% self sufficient.


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 04:21:52 pm »
1st rule of self suficiency is conservation - so insulate, insulate, insulate - if you're building a new house then it should be fairly well insulated.

Solar water heating is probably the next most cost-effective eco investment, and solar PV a close second.

If you have a good site for wind then that may be next.

I can't advise on GS heat pumps but was surprised at the cost of water pipe for burying in the ground so I'm thinking it may not be that cheap to install

As to how self sufficient you can be depends to a large extent of how much you're willing to endure/do before buying energy:
I managed the last 2 winters with  heating, water heating and fuel (incl grid electricity) bills of less than £40 for the winter quarter despite living in a very poorly insulated prefab cottage from the 1950's and having a hot bath every day. But to do that I generally wear 3 pullovers and a wooly hat whilst indoors, cut a lot of firewood, and micromanaged my 300W (off-grid) solar power system and made my own high efficiency LED lamps (only lighting the room I'm in), and using passive refrigeration to keep my food fresh.

If you want to use energy like normal people, then you need to spend a lot more on renewables to be self sufficient.



  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2012, 06:11:40 pm »
What are you going to use the 8 "archers" for ???

more seriously you are talking serious financial investment with all these planned gadgets... putting that together with a newbuild... just male sure you have got enough left over at the end to install fencing, get some animal housing and storage sorted too , polytunnel etc etc... it all adds up


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Two Retirees Start a New Life in Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2012, 07:41:48 pm »

I am wanting to make my new home as eco as posible

Insulation, insulation, insulation.

Put enough of the stuff in a new build and you'll hardly need to heat it.

Google for Passivhaus

Norfolk Newby

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • West Norfolk, UK
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2012, 11:16:14 am »
Others here know much more than me about renewable energy. However, I've been watching the development of solar electrical panels and there are some big improvements coming.

Research places like universities are now getting over 40% efficiency and the manufacturing techniques don't look expensive. At one time the only people who could afford even basic panels were the satellite builders. The current crop of panels get around 10% efficiency so you can see that for a given power requirement the size could drop to a quarter of what is installed today with the cost dropping similarly.

Obviously you could replace existing panels when these improvements come along but waiting a couple of years could see much better panels being available for domestic use.
Novice - growing fruit, trees and weeds


  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
    • Facebook
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2012, 12:31:36 pm »
We have a 4kW PV array and a ground source heat pump. Both were installed autumn 2010, and we're finding them to be a great combination.

We use the GSHP to provide domestic hot water and heating. To add to what chrismahon said, our pump has a periodic heat increase that takes the temperature high enough to kill Legionella, for normal use we find the standard settings are fine.

We have underfloor heating on our ground floor and radiators on our first floor. Insulation is absolutely the most important thing in this respect - we gutted our house (built 1887) back to the stone so had the opportunity to insulate to current standards, and since you're looking at new build that won't be an issue for you. We also have a wood burning stove in our lounge that we can light when there's a cold snap or we just want to enjoy it - I'd highly recommend this anyway as a backup. Since our entire house is electric only, the stove also gives us something to cook on should we have a long power cut.

Our Feed in Tariff payments more than cover our electricity bill, and that includes running our 12 acre holding and all the lighting, freezers, heat lamps and other paraphenalia that entails, and it looks like it will also cover the cost of power to our ancillary accommodation which is a one bedroom cottage that was built last year.

We were lucky enough to have the capital to pay for these installations, and to get the higher FiT, and to get an interest free loan for 2/3 of the PV, and to get a 25% grant for the GSHP. Our PV system cost £15k inc VAT, GSHP was £9k inc.

HTH, if you need any more info just ask.  :thumbsup:

Simple Simon

  • Guest
Re: Which Renewable engergy
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2012, 04:26:18 pm »
We have solar thermal panels integrated with a high efficiency Vaillant gas boiler and a 250 litre hot tank.

The control panel uses nested menus and icons and has a vast number of parameters which can be adjusted (including the obligatory Legionella setting).  No-one has ever adjusted it without reading the f***ing manual first.  The manual is badly written and does not contain the error codes which most commonly have you needing to read it.  More to the point it gives no advice as to the best way to set the brute up

Has anyone achieved the perfect set-up which maximises the solar gain while providing hot water when you need it and not heating with gas when the sun might come out?  We haven't:  admittedly the sun aint shining much but we seem to have to leave the water heating on standby most of the time


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