Renewable energy, as the name suggests, is derived from replenished sources such as hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, or wind energy. However, don’t confuse renewable energy options with green or clean energy. The latter is solely associated with natural resources that do not emit pollutants. You might be surprised to know that renewable energy resources can successfully cater to two-thirds of the energy demand globally. In the United States, residential renewable energy options have become popular in the last decade. 77 percent of Americans have realized the worth of renewable energy options over energy derived from fossil fuels.
Solar installation in Washington by Solgen Power
Until 2018, only 4 percent of the United State’s energy was derived from renewable energy resources. However, the United States is gradually shifting towards much cheaper and faster sources of renewable energy, particularly solar energy.
By 2035, the U.S. will be able to power all of its houses via solar energy. So yes, the trends are exponentially evolving, and the world is moving towards eco-friendly and sustainable energy resources. If you are thinking the same, then you’re at the right place because we have brought forward some of the best renewable energy options. Let’s discuss them one by one to find which option is a renewable resource that is cost-effective while benefitting the environment.
In the United States, hydropower energy comprises 31.5 percent of renewable electricity generation. Hydropower is one of the best renewable energy options for homes that converts the kinetic energy of running water into electrical energy. The energy generated via this process is stored in batteries and typically comprises a micro-hydro system. The system relies on small turbines that are connected to generators. Hydropower energy is not only storable but becomes readily available at the time of need.
If there’s running water like a river or stream near your house, then domestic hydropower might be a considerable renewable energy option for you. However, to ensure that domestic hydropower will be a worthy investment, you’ll have to consider the following factors:
The slope of running water shall be steep enough to ensure that friction within the pipes is adequately compensated.
The flow of water, i.e., the quantity of water falling at a time, must be adequate and uniform. If the water flow fluctuates, it’ll compromise effective electricity production.
Extreme weather conditions that can either dry up or cause flooding in the water stream are not suitable for an effective hydropower system. Flooding will devastate your entire system, and you’ll not have a source for energy production if the water dries up. So, it’s vital to consider both of these factors before installing a residential micro-hydropower energy system.
Even if the hydropower system is small-scale, it doesn’t mean that the investment would be small-scale too. So, to ensure that your money will not go to waste, always prefer hiring a professional who can assess whether or not your area and river stream would be suitable for a residential hydropower energy system.
The most advanced and exponentially growing domain of the best renewable energy options is residential solar energy. Solar energy relies only on sunlight to produce energy, making it clean and environment-friendly.
The installation of a solar energy system is not complex as it doesn’t require consideration of multiple factors like hydropower energy. It involves the installation of solar panels in a roof space from where they can absorb adequate sunlight. A photovoltaic cell system converts the energy absorbed from sun rays into electrical energy.
The produced electrical energy is either stored in batteries or transferred to the local power grid. That’s pretty much how a solar energy system works. Multiple factors and benefits are the reason solar energy is the most reliable and guaranteed renewable option, as discussed below:
Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy will never run out. We have more than enough solar energy that can meet the demands of the entire world.
There are little to no operational costs associated with residential solar energy systems as compared to other residential renewable energy options.
Going solar reduces energy expenditures by manifolds. The greater the size of your solar energy system, the greater the costs you will save on utility bills. On top of that, you can enjoy a 30 percent tax rebate by incorporating solar energy into your regular needs.
Solar energy system not only saves energy expenditures but it is a significant investment as well. It’ll increase the property value of your house. In short, solar panels offer a high Return on Investment (ROI) as they don’t have maintenance issues, and their demand keeps increasing.
Residential wind energy relies on harnessing the wind with either wind turbines or windmills to produce electrical energy. It is an excellent alternative for reducing energy expenditures and contributing to the environment by reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
However, installing a residential wind energy system might be more challenging than it sounds. Like residential hydropower energy, you’ll have to consider multiple factors to ensure that it’ll not be a waste of money. Those factors are mentioned below:
The wind speed in your area must comply with the cut-in speeds of wind turbines. So, a wind speed of at least 10 miles per hour is mandatory to make the residential wind energy system work. You can quickly get an estimate via the wind maps of your area. If wind speed is lower than required, the turbines will not generate the desired output.
You must have adequate space for the installation of the wind turbines. By sufficient space, we mean an area that is spacious and free from obstacles or turbulence. Anything that interrupts the passage of wind will adversely affect energy production.
Most communities have been assigned land permits that support residential wind energy system installation. You can refer to your area’s local zoning and permit departments to ensure that you are lawfully placing the wind turbines.
You must ensure the accessibility of a grid connection. Otherwise, you’ll have to build a power line to make the connections with your utility grid which is extremely expensive.
The United States holds the largest cumulative geothermal installed capacity in the world. The reason is the availability of vast geothermal resources across the country’s western areas. Geothermal energy comprises the production of energy from stored heat inside the Earth.
Stored heat within the layers of the Earth is a renewable energy option, making it an ideal alternative for heating and cooling houses compared with much moreexpensive furnaces and AC units. Residential geothermal energy involves the installation of an underground system of pipes, and an antifreeze solution runs through those pipes. The pipes transfer the heat or cool air from the Earth into the home, depending on the temperature.
Homeowners are now shifting towards residential geothermal energy because it is a worthy investment and has many benefits, as mentioned below:
Your utility bills will drop substantially because you’ll not rely on expensive energy utilization caused by air conditioners. On top of that, you’ll be saving maintenance costs because a geothermal system doesn’t require frequent maintenance, unlike heat pumps or central air conditioning systems. Although it saves bills, initial installation requires a significant budget. For instance, 2-7 million dollars are required to build a one-megawatt capacity.
The domestic geothermal energy system will not be a hassle for you because it won’t need a replacement until 15 to 20 years. There will be no need to spend extra money on additional purchases either because geothermal systems tend to last longer.
Global warming is surging substantially. The main reason is the replenishment of fossil fuels for energy production and carbon emissions. With a residential geothermal energy system, you’ll reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to a pollution-free environment.
Though it doesn’t release greenhouse gases, geothermal energy generation releases some other gases into the atmosphere. However, these are not as harmful as fossil fuel-based emissions, but we can’t call them the best renewable energy options for homes.
If you’re planning to sell your house in the coming years, you must know that installing a geothermal system will add to your property value. Eco-friendly energy consumption attracts modern buyers, and ultimately, it surges the value of a property.
Residential renewable energy options are a great way to reduce energy expenditures and global warming. Utilizing natural resources for energy production is an unparalleled way to contribute positively to this environment and cut utility bills. You might have considered installing one of the systems mentioned above, especially the solar system, given its benefits and ease of installation.