Renewable energy is the key to economic growth and sustainable development in all countries around the world – but how can you make your community or country more energy self-sufficient? This article takes a look at some of the best ways to do just that.
The five techniques covered are:
(1) Wind power
(2) Micro hydropower
(3) Solar PV power
(4) Solar thermal electricity generation
(5) Biomass gasification combined heat and power system.
It’s important to note that these are not the only methods for harnessing renewable energy. For example, there are wave systems out there, but they’re still at an experimental stage – too early to consider building one yourself! The same goes for tidal currents, geothermal heating systems, and many other technologies. These are all viable options, but it’s much more efficient to focus your efforts on a few essential techniques to make significant progress. So this article will stick to the five methods mentioned above.
STEP 1 – Consider The Local Geography
The first thing you need to consider when designing a renewable energy system is the local geography.
Having all this information at your disposal will help you decide where to put each element of your project. For example, if there are no hills or gorges where decent wind speeds can be captured, putting up a couple of wind turbines might not be advisable! Similarly, building a biomass gasification plant in arid regions could prove highly costly without ready access to large quantities of wood for fuel.
STEP 2 – The Lay Of The Land
The second thing to consider when designing your renewable energy system is the lay of the land around you. This involves finding out information about your property or properties if you plan on building a network of separate facilities. For example, suppose your home is located right next to a fast-flowing river. In that case, you could put in a micro-hydro installation without too many problems as long as it’s not an environmentally protected area.
STEP 3 – Cost
The third thing to consider when designing your system is likely to be cost, which can often depend on where you are located geographically. Suppose your region is blessed with abundant sunshine.
STEP 4 – Confirm Potential Outputs
The fourth thing on our list is the most important. No matter how much money, time, and effort you put into building your renewable energy project, if its potential output doesn’t stack up against other options, your efforts will be wasted. The best way to determine this is by calculating what’s known as ‘energy payback’ for each type of technology used at your site.
STEP 5 – Keep A Close Eye On Your Energy Bills
When designing your renewable energy system, the final thing to keep in mind is perhaps the most important in making sure it works in the long term. The trick here, or at least one of them, is to make sure that any money saved by running your new system should exceed the cost of buying power from the utility. If you do this, then over a typical year, your energy bill should be less than it would have been if you had kept on buying power from the utility.
Another way of looking at this is that if after installing your renewable system, your energy bills are higher than they were before, then for some reason or another, you’ve made a mistake and need to find out what it was and rectify it!