Microgeneration involves installing a small generator powered by either a renewable source such as wind, solar or biomass or using combined heat and power (CHP) technology. It allows consumers to generate their own electricity. The primary driver of microgeneration should not be the export of electricity to the grid – it should be minimise any imports of electricity from the grid.
The most common options available for home consumers are as follows:
- Wind turbines produce electricity from the wind. The blades of a wind turbine drive a generator that produces electricity.
- Photovoltaic Cells (PV) cells convert daylight falling onto them into electricity through the use of semi-conducting material. PV cells are most commonly situated on the roofs of buildings.
- Hydro power converts the flow of water into electrical energy. The water flowing along rivers or from a reservoir can turn a generator which will then produce electricity.
- Micro Combined Heat and Power (CHP) devices can produce both electricity and heat for a house. They can be fuelled by gas, diesel or biomass. A CHP unit is essentially an engine in which the waste heat is recovered and used to heat water or for space heating. The engine itself drives a small electricity generator.
Additional information on this topic is as follows:
SEAI primer on microgeneration
CER information on micro-generation
Intertrade Ireland report on microgeneration
Micro Electricity Generation Association (MEGA) promoting the development and expansion of a world class state-of-the-art micro electricity generation industry in Ireland http://www.megamicro.org