British Gas is launching a range of wind turbines and solar panels that will allow consumers to generate their own energy, following a reduction in the amount of red tape surrounding the generation of power by private households, known as “microgeneration”.
British Gas will also offer products such as a fuel cell boiler, which it has the exclusive rights to sell through a 10% stake in the company that produces it, Ceres Power.
The products, which will be launched this week, can now be installed without planning permission due to changes in legislation that come into force on April 6.
The changes mean that householders will be able to take up microgeneration, within “sensible limits”, without applying for planning permission. It is part of the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006, which required the Government to review the system of permitted development with a view to sustainable energy generation in homes.
Director of British Gas New Energy, Gearoid Lane, says: “By introducing this legislation, the Government is making it easier for customers to choose these technologies.”
A normal boiler takes energy from the National Grid and uses it to heat the home. The fuel cell boiler from British Gas takes heat and power from the house and generates electricity.
The excess can then be sold back to the National Grid. British Gas estimates the boiler, which will retail at between £3,000 and £4,000, could be available by 2010. The company will also launch smart meters, which tell consumers how much energy they are using.