Home grants Earn cash by making your own energy
Once you’ve ensured your home is as well insulated and as energy efficient as possible, you may want to consider generating your own energy using ‘green’ renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar power. This is known as microgeneration.
Most microgeneration technologies are expensive, but the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) can help with the cost. The FIT and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) have replaced grants that were previously provided through the government’s Low Carbon Buildings Programme.
In Northern Ireland, support for renewables is available not through a Feed-in Tariff, but through the Northern Ireland Renewable Obligation Certificate (NIROC).
The Feed-in Tariff
Households that generate their own electricity, using technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels, freestanding or roof-mounted wind turbines or small hydroelectric plants, can get a guaranteed payment for the next 20 years from the FIT's generation tariff for all electricity generated by the system.
In addition, any unused or excess electricity can be sold back to the national grid (known as the export tariff), and households will also benefit from bill savings made by not using mains electricity.
To qualify for FIT payments, your microgeneration equipment has to be certified by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and the installer has to be certified, too.
To find out more, read our guide to the Feed-in Tariff.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
A similar scheme to FIT launched in 2014 for heat-generating renewable technologies, such as solar thermal panels and heat pumps.
Owners of these technologies can receive a guaranteed payment for every unit of heat they generate and will also benefit from savings on their heating bill. As heat cannot be sold to other users, there isn't an equivalent to the FIT export tariff.
For a detailed guide to the RHI, see RHI explained.