Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Micro CHP (micro combined heat and power)

This week I will be reviewing micro CHP systems (also known as cogeneration systems or micro combined heat and power systems) as a cost effective way of providing energy for your home.

Whilst not strictly a renewable energy generation installation, these systems deserve attention as they are highly efficient and can substantially reduce your energy costs.  Industry experts expect micro-CHP systems to replace the humble domestic boiler and become the norm in our homes over the coming years.

How does micro CHP work?
Using gas or LPG as a fuel, micro CHP installations provide both heat and electricity for your home.  Micro CHP installations look just like normal boilers. However, unlike ordinary boilers they will generate electricity at the same time as heating the water.

How much energy will a micro CHP system generate?
The actual amount of electricity generated will depend on how long the installation is set to run.  Typical set-ups will generate up to 1kW of electricity.

What are the advantages of micro CHP?
  • The installations will deliver both heat and electric power.
  • You will be paid for the electricity you generate from the installation under the Government's Feed in Tariff Scheme.
  • Any electricity you generate and do not use can also be sold back to the Grid through the Feed in Tariff Scheme.  
  • Micro CHP systems are straight-forward and non-intrusive to install and do not take up much space (make sure you use an approved installer).

Are there any constraints?
  • Micro CHP installations can be inefficient if they are only being used for short periods.
  • There are a number of technologies on the market, some of which are unproven.

What consents will I need?
The installation of micro CHP is usually considered to be "permitted development", which means that planning permission is not required subject to certain conditions and exclusions.  However, if the installation requires an outside flue, depending on the size and location of the flue, it may require planning permission. Check out the Planning Portal Website for further advice.

Micro CHP systems will have to comply with the Building Regulations.

How much does a micro CHP system cost?
Expect to pay at least £5,000 to £6,000 (including installation costs).  Make sure you use an approved installer.

Are there any grants or other funding support available?
The Green Deal scheme may be able to help you pay for the upfront costs of the installation through Green Deal financing.  The installation costs will then be paid back over time, with interest, through your electricity bill.

Micro CHP systems qualify for 10 years of tariff payments from the Government under the Feed in Tariff (TIF) Scheme.  Find out the current tariff payment rates at

  • If your old boiler is coming to the end of its life, it is worth considering replacing the boiler with a micro-CHP installation.  
  • CHP systems are straight forward and non-intrusive to install (but make sure you use an approved installer)  
  • You can earn money from your CHP installation for any unused electricity that is fed back into the Grid under the Government under the Feed in Tariff (TIF) Scheme.
Further Information
For further information and for details of approved installers check out


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