New gas-fired boilers now available to British homeowners can actually generate electricity as well as heat. This means homeowners in the UK will now be able to cut their electricity bills when they turn on the heat in the fall.
Called domestic combined heat and power units or micro combined heat and power generate a small amount of electricity. The electricity is generated by a device called a heat engine. The heat is created by burning natural gas in the boiler just like a regular boiler.
In addition to electricity these devices heat water for hot water heating and domestic use. This enables a family to reduce its electricity bill slightly by making use of natural gas for three different home purposes.
Same Size and Shape as Regular Devices
The combined heat and power boilers now being sold in the UK are about the same size and shape as a normal heating boiler. This means that they can fit easily into the average home.
The only drawback to this technology is its price, The Manchester Guardian newspaper reports that the first generation combined heat and power units for home use will cost about £5000 or $7834 US. This could put the devices out of the reach of some American homeowners.
There is no word on when this technology will be available in the US and Canada but it should be here soon. Since the ones in Britain operate on natural gas they should be of use in most American and Canadian homes which use natural gas or propane for heating.
Will Qualify for US Tax Credits
It should be noted that such a device would qualify for a federal home energy tax credit in the US. This means that homeowner would be able write about 30% of the cost of the device off of his or her taxes.
Unlike the tax credit for regular boilers, this credit has no limit so a person would be able to write a full 30% of the costs off of their taxes. This tax credit doesn’t expire until 2016 so Americans should be able to take advantage of it when the heat and power boilers appear in the US. Residents in states such as California should also be able to take advantage of state income tax credits on heat and power boilers as well.
Sell Electricity to Power Company
Another advantage to heat and power boilers is that the law in many parts of the US allows homeowners to sell excess electricity they generate back to the power company. This can reduce a person’s electric bill or in the best case scenario result in a check from the electric company instead of a bill.
When they appear in the US, heat and power boilers should prove popular. Especially with the tax advantages they create.