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Renewable Energy

France - Renewable Energy

With more people becoming more environmentally aware, more homes in France are looking to do their bit for the environment and reduce expenditure at the same time by opting for a renewable energy source to power their heating, lighting and other appliances.

Heat pumps are becoming more common in homes in France and these fall into three categories. Air source heat pumps take the heat from the air outside and bring that to the inside of a building. If you have an air/water pump you will circulate hot water around the building either in radiators or through under floor pipes. If a cylinder is linked to the system it can also produce hot water for the home. A ground source heat pump is known as a geothermal system. This takes heat from underground and is more reliable in the winter months. This type of heat pump can produce hot water and even be used to heat a swimming pool. Tax credits are available for this type of heat pump. This system is quite popular as they are virtually silent to run and do not require a great deal of maintenance. You may also consider the water source heat pumps which extract heat from wells, lakes or ground water. This also uses under floor heating but requires permission from the prefecture before it can be installed.

Solar heating is commonly used to produce hot water for French homes. The year round good weather in many areas of the country means that this is a very cost effective option and there are some grants available to homeowners who want to convert to solar power. These systems are usually backed up by a standard power supply in the event that there is not enough sun to heat the water in the tank. This type of system can also be used to run a central heating system if there are enough panels installed. If you opt for solar power you can qualify for a tax credit of up to 50% on the cost of the panels and other equipment for installation.

Biomass is another alternative energy source which is becoming increasingly common. Wood burning stoves are the most common type of this type of energy production. There are three options here. There are the stoves which can be used to burn logs or granules, closed hearth fires (the standard log burning stoves which are common in many homes) and solid fuel burners which have a back boiler and which can be used to heat the hot water and run a central heating system too. Wood is a readily available type of fuel in France and many homes are taking advantage of this. Two thirds of alternative energy used in France is accounted for by biomass options.

The French government is actively encouraging homeowners to opt for this type of power as they want to ensure that renewable energies account for 20% of the country’s consumption by 2020. The target for solar power is for 5 million units to be operational by 2020 and 80% of these are to be in domestic homes. Solar power is increasing in popularity but it still lags behind other alternative energy sources.

Wind power is a very uncommon option but there are targets for this usage too. The French electricity company EDF is no longer prohibited from purchasing electricity from wind farms, so there is a great deal of potential here, but there is still some general concern about wind farms spoiling the look of the countryside.

In every area there are companies that can install different types of renewable energy sources. Solar Panels France has a website in English and gives information and advice on the installation of solar energy equipment. Eleceau is a company which specialises in biomass system for both commercial and domestic use and also has a helpful website in English. Other providers will be listed in the local yellow pages and you need to ensure that they have the proper accreditations for the work that they do as the work is not guaranteed if they do not. www.renewableenergyfrance.com has listings of installers as well as providing information on the different types of renewable energies for your home and supplying any equipment that you may need.

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Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

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