Renewable Energy: Harnessing the Power of a Greener Tomorrow

Have you ever dreamed about using your home appliances without worrying about the electricity bill? You aren’t alone.

Moving to cleaner renewable energy is an international quest. With climate change concerns, the scarcity of fossil fuel, and increasing prices, the world is currently working on developing and implementing techniques to use solar, wind, and other forms of renewable energy. 

But that’s not all. On the individual level, using cleaner energy options comes with significant cost savings. This guide will shed light on setting up renewable energy systems and the challenges that should be considered.



  • With the increase in greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of climate change on the ecological balance, switching to renewable energy has become necessary.
  • Luckily, there are several types of clean sustainable energy that we can benefit from on the individual and industrial levels. These include solar, wind, hydro, biomass, and geothermal energies.
  • For successful renewable energy implementation, site assessment, getting the necessary permits, and proper installation are essential. Regular maintenance is also needed to guarantee your renewable energy setup operates well.
  • Despite the promising future, some challenges should be considered. Economic and technological challenges can slow down the implementation of clean energy applications. There might also be some societal or environmental issues that make them less appealing.
  • However, the world is working on solutions to make these energy applications more feasible.

Introduction to Renewable Energy

So, what is renewable energy? 

In simple words, renewable energy is energy that comes from sources that are regularly replenished. Renewable energy sources won’t run out no matter how much we use them, unlike fossil fuel supplies. 

A study by C2ES showed that renewable energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the United States, increasing 42% from 2010 to 2020.

There are several renewable energy types that people use to generate electricity to run machines and appliances. These include solar power, wind energy, hydro energy, biomass energy, and geothermal power. 

According to a study by IEA, renewable energy supply from solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and ocean rose by close to 8% in 2022. In this section, we’ll briefly explain how each one works.

Solar Energy

Solar energy comes from the sun and it’s the most widely used renewable energy source. History books show that people started converting solar energy into another energy form as early as the 7th century when a magnifying glass was used to concentrate the sun’s rays to make fire. 

Over the years, people tried to explore the potential of solar energy until they managed to generate electricity from solar energy in the 19th century. 

Solar energy is utilised using two technologies. The first one is photovoltaic solar technology, which is more common. This technology directly converts the sunlight into electricity using solar panels made of semiconductor cells.

The second technology is solar thermal technology, which changes the sun’s heat into electricity using mirrors and reflectors.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is the oldest source of renewable energy. In the 2nd century, people were already using wind-powered water pumps and windmills to grind grain. 

Today, people use wind turbines to generate power by converting the kinetic energy of the wind into electric energy. Several wind turbines set up at the same location make a wind farm. 

Onshore wind farms are located on land and were first used to produce electric power. About 100 years later, people started building offshore wind farms in the sea or ocean. These offshore farms produce more electricity than those that are onshore.

Hydro Energy

Hydro or water energy relies on using fast-moving water to generate electricity or power machines. This energy relies on using dams or diversions on rivers to capture the potential of falling or fast-moving waters. 

Water can be stored behind a dam in a reservoir. Then, it’s released to move through a tunnel, creating pressure. At the end of the tunnel or penstock, the water spins an underwater pinwheel. The rotational energy powers a generator, which changes the mechanical energy into electricity. 

Among all types of renewable energy, this source is one of the most reliable and sustainable. Solar and wind-powered electric generators rely on the availability of solar and wind energy. But with hydro-powered generators, you can release water from a reservoir to create electricity on demand.

Biomass Energy

Biomass energy is derived from organic materials. It’s one of the renewable sources that depend on animal and plant waste. 

This energy source is different from fossil fuels that took millions of years to form because biomass energy is generated from recently dead organisms. 

Types of biomass renewable resources include wood, wood waste, fast-growing plants like willow, food crops like corn, farm waste like crop stalks, animal waste, and municipal solid waste like yard waste and food scraps.

Setting Up Renewable Energy Systems

Renewable power-generation capacity statistics are released annually in March. According to a recent study by the IEA, China continues to lead in terms of renewable electricity capacity additions, with 160 GW added in 2022. 

Recent studies show that more than 256 GW of capacity was added in 2020, an increase of nearly 10% in total installed renewable power capacity.

Reliable energy systems need to be installed properly to generate electricity from a source of renewable energy. The following section highlights these systems.

Solar Panel Installation

Solar panel installation allows you to use solar energy to generate electric power. Successful installation should involve the following steps: 

  • Proper site assessment to ensure that it meets the industry standards for structural integrity and sunlight exposure. Otherwise, the solar panel installation project won’t lead to the desired ROI. 
  • Getting a solar permit – or MCS Certification. This is a government-issued document that authorises the installation of solar panels. Soly is 100% MCS Certified!
  • Adequate installation by hiring a professional to guarantee your solar panel is properly connected to the grid. 
  • No cleaning is required with Soly solar panels. This allows our clients to reduce their maintenance costs significantly.

Wind Turbine Installation

Apart from large-scale wind farms, private homeowners can install a single wind turbine on the roof of their house, as long as they live in a detached home surrounded by other detached homes. Moreover, the installation process should meet the Microgeneration Certification Scheme standards. 

You can install a wind turbine by following these steps: 

  • Identify areas with consistent wind speeds of at least 12 to 14 km/h to operate a wind turbine. A high speed of 50 to 60 km/h will allow the turbine to operate at full capacity. 
  • Get a permit from the local planning authority if you’re planning to build a wind farm. A standalone turbine on your roof doesn’t require such a permit. 
  • Hire a professional company to install your wind turbine and connect it to the grid. 
  • Regular maintenance and inspection are needed to keep wind turbines operating efficiently.

Policy and Incentives

Governments issue policies and incentives to encourage people to switch to renewable energy and use renewable energy systems to generate electricity. The 2024-25 Budget will invest the equivalent of US$15 billion over a decade to boost clean power generation according to Oil Price

For example, in 2022, the UK Government introduced a time-limited zero-rate VAT for installing energy-saving materials to use a renewable source of energy in residential buildings. 

It also introduced the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive through the Boiler Upgrade Scheme or BUS to encourage households on and off the grid to switch to renewable heating systems. According to BUS, consumers can get a grant of £7,500 when they purchase and install an air source heat pump and £5,000 when they purchase and install a biomass boiler. 

The Smart Export Guarantee or SEG is another government benefit, allowing low-carbon generator owners to export energy to the National Grid and make money. As a result, people who own solar PV systems can make money by switching to renewable energy. 

This was implemented in response to the European Union’s intent to accelerate solar PV and wind deployment in response to the energy crisis according to the IEA.

Real-World Applications

In an attempt to decrease greenhouse emissions, leave a smaller carbon footprint, and save money, residential and industrial applications of renewable energy are becoming more popular. According to IEA, the world is on course to add more renewable capacity in the next five years. 

Renewable Energy for Homes

Solar generation (including distribution) made up 3.3% of total U.S. generation in 2020 according to C2ES

Apart from industrial-level applications, using renewable energy can deliver massive benefits in home applications. Today, many homes switch to solar, hydro, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy to generate electricity and power home appliances. 

Solar Rooftops

Solar rooftops can generate electricity to power your house and home appliances. In addition to providing electricity, these renewable energy systems can offer the following benefits: 

  • Installing the right number of solar panels on your rooftop can result in major cost savings in the long run. 
  • You can make money by selling the excess clean energy you generate at home. 
  • Installing solar rooftops makes your home greener, reducing your carbon footprint. 
  • Homes with installed solar rooftops have a higher market value. 
  • You gain energy independence as you don’t rely on the national grid, which might experience outages. 
  • Solar batteries can save energy to generate power during electricity disruptions and inconsistent sunlight.

Small Wind Turbines

Small wind turbines represent a reliable energy source for homes with no access to sunlight. In windy locations, these turbines can generate enough electricity to power your entire property. 

Small-scale wind turbines are specifically designed to power homes, with a capacity of up to 10 kW. In most cases, they’re designed to be mounted on your rooftop and they don’t need any government permits. 

If you live in an area with strong consistent winds, these turbines will be an excellent option. However, a consultation with a wind resource professional is essential to evaluate the feasibility of installing this device on your rooftop. 

In some areas, companies will purchase the excess energy produced. For example, on a Finnish wind farm, Helen will purchase around 50% of the wind farm’s electricity production until the end of its life cycle.

Just like other renewable energy systems, small wind turbines provide these benefits: 

  • They decrease your reliability on the national grid which might not provide consistent services in remote areas. 
  • During periods of power outage due to bad weather, wind turbines can power your home. 
  • You can save money by generating your own electricity.

Renewable Energy in Businesses

Using renewable energy in business applications started earlier. Many plants have considered switching to renewable energy to overcome the shortage and price increase of fossil fuels. 

As early as the 19th century, people started using hydro energy from dams to generate electricity for industrial use. The first European plant to use geothermal energy to operate was founded in 1904. 

According to C2ES, renewables made up nearly 20% of utility-scale U.S. electricity generation in 2020. China continues to lead in terms of renewable electricity capacity additions, with 160 GW added in 2022, according to IEA.

As for the UK, in 2020, 43% of electricity generated was sourced from renewables. This was a significant increase from 37% in the previous year and put a spotlight on the UK’s energy mix.

Cost Savings

Renewables are currently essential for the success of any business. Relying on renewable energy sources makes a company greener, which is more appealing to environmentally-conscious consumers. 

But that’s not all. Using renewable energy can provide businesses with several financial benefits: 

  • Unlike the fluctuating prices of fossil fuels, businesses can accurately assess the cost of energy needed for their production. As a result, they can improve pricing, budgeting, and financial planning. 
  • Many governments offer incentives, tax reliefs, and grants to support switching to green energy. 
  • Renewable energy systems represent a long-term investment with a satisfactory ROI. 
  • Implementing clean energy solutions increases the brand’s market value and loyalty. It also improves the brand’s image. 
  • Compared to traditional power generation, clean energy systems require less maintenance, which results in lower costs.

Sustainability Goals

Clean energy sources have low to no impact on the environment. They’re also widely available and continuously replenished.

All these factors allow companies and plants relying on renewable energy to meet their sustainability goals. A better brand image and increased brand loyalty are associated with brands that rely on green energy. 

Moreover, as governments are becoming more aware of the shortcomings of fossil fuels, companies can guarantee to stay in compliance with any updates or regulations that might restrict using fossil fuels in the future.

Regulatory Compliance

Governmental entities are currently more focused on implementing sustainability practices to combat climate change. By switching to renewables, companies can adopt a proactive approach to compliance, moving ahead of any restrictions or regulations that might impact production practices. 

Investing in clean energy shows that the company is doing a detailed market search to predict any factors that might affect production and distribution. At the same time, governments will support such practices.

But that’s not all. Companies can also avoid non-compliance issues that might halt operations or result in legal liabilities and financial penalties. 

Moreover, they can benefit from government incentives. For example, Australia will allocate funding to support innovative technologies, including green metals, batteries, and low-carbon liquid fuels.

Large-Scale Renewable Energy Projects

According to C2ES, renewable energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the United States, increasing 42% from 2010 to 2020. According to IEA, in 2025, renewables will surpass coal to become the largest source of electricity generation. 

Large-scale renewable energy projects play a significant role in reducing the grid’s reliance on fossil fuels. Wind farms, solar parks, and hydropower dams are the most significant ones to be considered.

Wind Farms

Fortum and Helen Oy have completed a 380MW wind farm in Finland. A wind farm is made up of multiple wind turbines set up on land or offshore. Each wind turbine looks like a giant pinwheel with giant blades that rotate when the wind blows due to the created lift. 

The rotating blades are connected to a gearbox inside the turbine, increasing the speed of an internal shaft until it powers an electric generator. This generator changes the kinetic energy to electricity. 

Unlike onshore wind farms, offshore farms offer special benefits: 

  • They can benefit from stronger and steadier winds over open waters. 
  • They have a reduced visual impact on the coastline. 
  • Building offshore farms utilises unused spaces and saves more land. 

However, they’re more expensive to build and maintain.

Solar Parks

A solar park, garden, or farm is a large-scale grid-connected photovoltaic power system. When sunlight hits the PV cells, it changes into an electric current, generating a decent amount of electricity when all the cells work together. 

Locations with abundant sunlight and a lack of overcast days can benefit significantly from installing solar panels. Sunny regions will experience more electricity production, maximising the energy output. 

This is the most common source of renewable energy in sunny regions for the following reasons: 

  • Solar panels generate clean and affordable energy. 
  • Solar systems are scalable and can be built in any size to suit various needs. 
  • Building solar parks reduces the reliance on the national grid in areas that experience regular outages.
  • People can benefit from government incentives and sell the excess energy.

Hydropower Dams

Hydropower dams use the power of moving water to generate electricity on a massive scale. These renewable energy sources are used on a national level to provide electric energy to power residential and industrial areas. These dams represent a crucial source of baseload power, generating clean electricity. 

These dams are built on rivers to block the moving waters. The water is stored in a reservoir behind the dam, creating a difference in the height between the water behind and in front of the dam. With a higher water elevation, there’s a bigger potential to produce electricity. 

When water is allowed to move, the fast movement will lead to the production of electricity. The water gains speed due to gravity, spinning a turbine, which is connected to a generator. The movement of the pinwheel forces the generator to produce electric power.

Challenges and Solutions

Renewable power in the form of direct electricity use or indirect use is expected to displace the majority of fossil fuels use in end-use sectors according to IEA. Oil Price stated that the government has earmarked funding for a national hydrogen strategy to make Australia a global hydrogen leader by 2030.

Despite all the benefits of green energy, switching to a renewable source to generate electricity faces some challenges.

Technological Challenges

In 2024, wind and solar PV will generate more electricity than hydropower, according to the IEA. Inadequate energy storage, grid integration, and intermittency are among the most common challenges that people deal with when they consider switching to clean energy. 

Nevertheless, developers, scientists, and governments are currently working on solutions to make green energy more feasible.

Energy Storage

Storing energy produced from renewable sources is one of the most common challenges. Solutions guarantee that this clean energy won’t go to waste, and you can still have access to electricity when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow. 

Solar batteries, pumped hydroelectricity energy storage, liquid-to-air transition energy storage, and compressed air energy storage can reserve clean energy.

Grid Integration

Although renewable energy sources are abundant, integrating them into the current grid is still considered challenging. The variability of solar and wind energy can disrupt proper integration, making energy storage solutions crucial. 

Moreover, advancement in grid infrastructure by investing in smart grids to optimise energy flow will guarantee consistent electricity production.


Intermittency or inconsistency in renewable energy can impact electric energy production. When the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, the grid can experience several imbalances that damage it permanently or affect its reliability. Energy storage solutions play an essential role in increasing the grid’s reliability.

Economic Challenges

The European Union is accelerating solar PV and wind deployment in response to the energy crisis, according to IEA. As a result, renewables made up 29% of global electricity generation by the end of 2020.

Yet, despite all the known benefits of green energy, some economic constraints can hinder the implementation of clean energy solutions, like the installation cost. However, government funding and long-term cost savings make these technologies more affordable.

Cost of Technologies

The initial cost of implementing a clean energy solution can be substantial compared to the traditional grid. These costs can include assessment, building, and installation costs of solar systems, wind turbines, and geothermal power generators. 

Moreover, regular maintenance adds to the overall costs of this energy solution. However, as clean energy is becoming more popular, you can find more customisable solutions to generate clean energy. Also, the long-term cost savings offset the initial costs.

Funding Solutions

Public and private funding can help make clean energy more affordable. These include initial reduced costs, government incentives, tax exemptions, private entity investments, and loans that can support the installation of small and large-scale clean energy generators. 

For example, Australia will allocate funding to support innovative technologies, including green metals, batteries, and low-carbon liquid fuels according to Oil Price.

Economic Benefits

Sources of renewable energy have several economic benefits as they reduce the reliance on the national grid, which means you’ll receive lower energy bills. They also provide several economic benefits: 

  • Switching to clean energy creates more jobs. 
  • Energy independence reduces the pressure on the national grid. 
  • People can export the excess energy they produce. 

Social and Environmental Challenges

Renewable energy is the fastest-growing energy source in the UK, increasing from 6.9% in 2010 to 43% in 2020. In that same time period, the UK was able to decrease the contribution of coal to electricity generation from 43% to just 1.7%

However, there are currently some social and environmental challenges associated with switching to renewable sources to produce electricity. 

Some projects like big wind farms can be less accepted by the public, due to land allocation and impacting views. Some areas might be negatively affected by the inefficiency of solar panels, for example, due to inconsistent sunlight. 

Also, land allocation for hydropower dams and wind farms can result in claiming the ownership of private lands.

Conclusion: How Soly Can Help

If you’re considering switching to solar energy, Soly can help you. Soly is on a mission to make solar energy accessible to everyone, helping you to build customised solar panels to suit your needs. You can also install a solar battery to save the excess energy for future use or to be exported back to the grid. 

You can join Soly today and become a member of a community that contains more than 31,000 households. Contact us to reduce your carbon footprint and switch to solar energy today!

Final Thoughts

The whole world is walking steadily towards one that is no longer powered by fossil fuels. Luckily, there are several renewable energy solutions to consider if you want to save cash, reduce your carbon footprint, and make use of green energy. Soly solar panels convert solar energy into electricity. Save money, energy, and reduce your carbon footprint!


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