We understand there are a lot of options out there if you’re looking to invest in renewable and low carbon technology for your home, and it can be a bit confusing!

That’s why we’ve created this quick guide to give you an overview and help decide what might be the best thing for you and your home. If you need more information on these or any other low carbon tech, check out our online resources or call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2882 for impartial advice.

Solar panels

Solar panels, sometimes known as solar PV, are one of the most popular renewable technologies as it allows you to generate your own electricity, and they are quick to install. The amount of solar energy you can use depends on the time of day, season and location. They’re quiet, low maintenance, and can provide you with greater energy security.

The electricity generated gets used up when you use electrical items at home, and what electricity you don’t use is sent to the National Grid. This is where battery storage comes in.

Battery storage

Some solar systems come with battery storage, which is exactly as it sounds – a big battery that can store the energy you generate but can’t use immediately. That means you can use it over time and avoid expensive peaks. You can generate electricity during the day, and use it in the evening.

Heat pumps

Heat pumps are a renewable energy technology that convert energy in the ground or air into heat. A heat pump can provide all the heating and hot water you need for your home. A heat pump could be the ideal solution if you want to generate your own heat and potentially save money on your energy bills. There are two main types of heat pump: air source, and ground source. Heat pumps are low maintenance too, and can provide hot water as well as heating. They can also last a long time!

Air source vs ground source

An air source heat pump is usually placed outdoors at the side or back of a property. It takes heat from the outside air and boosts it to a higher temperature to heat your home and hot water. They can still function when air temperatures are as low as -15°C.

Ground source heat pumps use pipes that are buried in the garden to extract heat from the ground. This can then be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water in your home.


Biomass is energy generated from burning wood, plants or other organic matter, such as manure or household waste. Although it releases carbon dioxide, it is considerably less polluting than fossil fuels. Biomass heating systems can provide warmth in a single room or to power central heating and hot water boilers. It’s more affordable than traditional fuel, reduces landfill, and reduces the carbon impact of your heating.

Want more info? We can help

If you’re thinking of installing renewables in your home, there are a few things to consider first.

  • What is possible for my home? eg. solar panels won’t be suitable if you live in a flat.  
  • What is my motivation? Am I looking to be more energy efficient for environmental reasons, or do I want the technology that will save me the most money?
  • Which system will provide all my energy needs?
  • Will my system need to work with another system?
  • Is my home well insulated?

Home Energy Scotland can help answer all these questions and more. They can also provide impartial advice to help you decide which is the best technology for your property, budget and lifestyle, as well as see if there are any financial incentives available. Call their advice centre on 0808 808 2882. Changeworks delivers the Home Energy Scotland advice centres in South East Scotland the Highlands and Islands on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust.