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Proud owner & retrofitter of Superhome 59

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Power by the People

Photovoltaic Panels

Microgeneration or "homepower" is any form of Power Generation or Energy Supply from within a Domestic residence. This can replace a supply from the outside, ie, from large Power Stations. Microgeneration is a subset of our the Post-Carbon Living "Substitute" step as we are substituting external power generation or energy supply with our own. However, it sits in a class of its own because there is a difference: Simple substitution involves replacing the inefficient with the efficient and is a passive measure reducing Consumption. Microgeneration increases and redistributes Supply by capturing energy from the environment at point of demand. It also requires more capital expenditure.

 

Currently there are only 3 significant 'homepower' options: wind turbine, photovoltaic and combined heat/power (CHP). Read on.....

 

 

Resource

Your Next Ten Steps

To Do List
  • Organise
  • Powerdown
  • Recycle
  • Substitute
  • Stay
  • Generate
  • Grow
  • Invest
  • Make
  • Community

The Coming New Reality

In the USA the cult of "homepower" has its own web sites and magazines. That culture is rich in the frontier spirit and bands of survivalists who feel empowered by their 'off-grid' independence. Here in the more cramped quarters of Northern Europe the culture is something different. People may go to the beach at the weekend rather than their hideaway somewhere up in the mountains.

    

Instead we live in small houses and our outlook is orientated around 'home-improvement'. If we are lucky enough to have a house. Many live in apartments or rented accommodation. For them this is a moot topic. Although landlords are willing to entertain their tenants making such an investment it is hard to imagine anyone other than homeowners indulging in home generation. This narrows the audience somewhat - for now. Things will change and we deal with that in our "Move" step.

Solar Thermal    

For now - just assume you are a home owner in Europe. What to do? The price of power is spiralling. Gas an oil are running low. Vast quantities of energy are wasted in the national grid transporting power from Power Station to your home. You are starting to experience power blackouts. So why not generate it yourself? Unfortunately the economics are not in your favour because the enormous subsidy that Fossil Fuel currently receive because their true costs are externalised. Peak Oil essentially does that job for us and internalises that cost. Very rapidly. You MUST be ready.

    

We recommend that all our Post-Carbon Living friends need to get in on the ground floor before the production costs rise out of your reach. Some European Governments are offering Grants to householders to encourage the industry. This is patchy around Europe, often too little and often misplaced. The UK Government's endorsement of largely useless domestic wind-turbines is a good example. Home insulation and solar thermal should be promoted over and above photo-voltaics but they are not for odd political reasons. The industry is also dominated by the large generators and is orientated around their needs. In the UK this means that your own power generation must be switched off if the Grid-supplied power goes down. Ironic isn't it? Free EnergyThis is supposedly for safety reasons. If you want to be genuinely 'off-grid' then you will have to sever your links to the grid or operate a dual circuit around your home.

    

So please study our guides to each technology and judge for yourself. The good news is that for less than the outlay for a good new family car you can equip your house with Power generation equipment that reduces your energy bills and carbon footprint by 50%. It is relatively easy and they can be applied to most houses. So what are you waiting for?

 

The future of energy supplies will be local. Globalised and centralised power supply systems have had their day. In future all power will be driven my local power nodes much as the Internet is.

Conclusion

Low Carbon Man

  • Too much bother and inconvenience.

  • A car depreciates quickly but micro-generation systems will earn you money and save you money. Invest wisely.

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References Notes