Types of renewable energy
Renewable or ‘green’ energy comes from natural resources that can be replenished. Examples are wind energy, solar energy, water power (hydroelectricity) and biomass.
The environmental benefits of using renewable energy over traditional fossil fuels are:
- no harmful byproducts
- fewer or no carbon emissions
Business advantages include:
- stable energy prices
- increased consumer and investor confidence in your brand
- being more attractive to buyers as they seek a greener supply chain
- preparation for future laws and regulations
How to switch
There are 3 ways to switch to renewable energy:
- Request a green tariff with one of the main energy suppliers.
- Switch to a specialist green energy supplier.
- Produce your own.
Green energy tariffs
All of the UK’s main suppliers offer green tariffs. Suppliers make sure energy is green by:
- producing renewable energy which they feed into the National Grid
- buying ‘carbon credits’ which fund renewable energy infrastructure or projects
- ‘offsetting’ carbon emissions by planting trees or investing in carbon reducing projects
While certain suppliers use more renewables, others will rely more on carbon credits or carbon offsetting.
Find out who offers the greenest tariffs and compare prices with Uswitch.
Specialist green energy suppliers
A growing number of suppliers offer 100% renewable energy. This is taken entirely from renewable sources such as wind, solar or biomass. Examples are:
Produce your own energy
Ensure your energy is green by producing it yourself. You can do this by installing:
Things to consider when deciding whether to install renewables:
- business size – can you afford it
- energy needs – how much does your business use
- location – might you need planning permission
- your premises – do they belong to your business, or are they rented
Find out more about installing renewables on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.
Design an energy system which is right for your business with the help of one of these certified installers.
The cost of using renewable energy is falling.
Green energy rates can now match rival ones. This is because of improving technology and greater competition in the marketplace.
If you’re producing your own energy, long-term savings could make up for the upfront installation costs. You can also sell your energy back to the National Grid under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).
Grants, loans and tax benefits
Across the UK local funding is available for businesses looking to improve energy efficiency. To see what’s available, check:
You can also claim 100% tax relief on renewable energy products such as:
- solar water heaters
- biomass boilers
- heat pumps
Climate Change Agreement (CCA)
Receive a discount on CCL (Climate Change Levy) taxes paid to your energy supplier by signing up to this voluntary agreement to use less energy.
What’s coming next
Solar panels are expected to become the world’s main energy source by 2050. They are becoming cheaper and more efficient every year.
As part of the government’s commitment to net zero, the UK is increasing its commitment to renewable energy. This will lead to a growing number of off-shore wind farms.
Find a breakdown of energy sources used in the UK on GOV.UK.
Find details of energy sources used by the UK’s main energy suppliers at Uswitch.
Discover how to further reduce emissions and costs by switching to electric vehicles (EV’s).