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Zero Net Energy - Alternative Energy

Star Generating your own energy to offset your energy usage. 

Alternative energy systems

Photo Voltaic Panels

This technology is getting better and less expensive all the time.  That's great but it does mean that if you buy panels now they might soon be outdated and you will have paid more for them now than in the future.  That's just the way it goes, so you just need to bite the bullet and go for it.

The best place to put solar panels is on your roof, but the downside is that currently they look really ugly.  I care about house styling and have lots of land so I am currently more in favor of a separate array.

Given that you need overhangs to make passive solar work properly, one idea is to use PV panels above windows to act as a shade as well as an energy generator.  Again I have style worries with doing that.

My design for off-line solar is here.


It's a sensible idea to use the stored energy in the ground to heat your house via a heat pump.  The problem is the large capital outlay to implement such a system together with the ongoing maintenance costs.  The payback time for a well insulated well sealed house is likely to be very long.  I'm not a big fan.

Wind power

Not many places have a reliable steady wind.  If most of the time there is not much wind then you will not generate much power.  If you have a wind storm then it could well wreck the windmill.  Maintenance is a problem because the thing is way up in the air.  I'm not a big fan.