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Solar PV Installers can benefit twice if they invest in training to be a Domestic Energy Assessor.

Posted by Pete Roberts on 14 May 2012 at 9:40 am

With the Green Deal starting in October this year and the new EPC requirements for the feed-in tariffs, there is now more reason than ever to diversify and train to become a Domestic Energy Assessor.

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) requirement for feed-in tariffs came into force on 1 April. To claim the full rate of feed-in tariff owners of systems installed after this date must prove that the building they are mounted on or wired to meet the EPC band D or above standard.

This banding is measured after the Solar PV has been installed and, in some instances, the installation of solar PV will take the property from a lower band into band D. If it does not, other measures will need to be taken before applying for the feed-in tariff.

If a feed-in tariff application is submitted showing an EPC below band D, the owner will receive a generation rate of just 9p/kWh. If the property is band D or above then the householder will receive the full 21p/kWh (for a system of 4kWp and below).

The most important thing to go through with the end user, when applying for the feed-in tariff now is to send in the final EPC certificate with the application. If the application is sent with an EPC showing that the property is below band D, the consumer will not receive the higher rate of feed-in tariff, even if they subsequently submit an improved EPC following home improvements. Therefore, if a customer is are thinking of making energy efficiency improvements to their property, they should wait until all the work is complete before making their Feed in Tariff application.

From October this year, the Green Deal will offer householders loans linked to energy savings, to finance home improvements such as cavity wall insulation, double glazing and Solar PV. This gives Solar PV installers a double incentive to qualify as domestic energy assessors. Not only will they be able to undertake EPCs for feed-in tariff customers, but following a Green Deal upgrade course, they will be able to apply to be Green Deal Advisors.

Green Deal Advisors will assess properties to determine the most appropriate energy efficiency improvements which will then be installed by the Green Deal Installer. By undertaking your training now you can ensure you are at the front of the pack when it comes to the Green Deal.

Photo by VoxPhoto

About the author: Pete Roberts is the Head of Mentoring for Easy MCS Ltd.

If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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8 comments - read them below or add one


johnbollinger2011Comment left on: 2 July 2012 at 11:33 am

Information provided here  about solar panel courses are quite interesting. For additional info visit at Solar panel courses

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paulmukComment left on: 18 May 2012 at 5:31 pm

If the FIT payments won't be allowed in the Golden Rule calculations, I wonder if the exported portion of the energy would be, and if so, at what rate. It could make all the difference...

Or, if the exported energy is totally excluded, then potentially you could install a store of energy such as a battery, or by linking the panels to your immersion heater to heat your water and capture all the excess energy generated.

If all energy is used, then the benefit is closer to £400 a year, which would be approximately £10,000 over 25 years, and therefore more than sufficient to cover a solar install.

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Cathy Debenham

Cathy DebenhamComment left on: 18 May 2012 at 8:35 am

I am pretty confident that FIT payments won't be allowed in the Golden Rule calculations!

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paulmukComment left on: 17 May 2012 at 9:53 pm

Does anyone know the retail price that a 4KW solar installation would have to be sold for in order to meet the golden rule, and therefore become eligible for the green deal?

Also, would it be eligible for a FiT payment alongside the green deal?

I'm not sure what interest rates will be charged under the scheme, or the assumptions they will use for the energy price inflation, but if we assume they cancel each other out, and exclude the FiT payments, then very roughly speaking...

A 4 kWp should produce around 3334.4 kWh per year (SAP calculations for south facing, unshaded roof - 0.8 * 4 *1042).

Assuming 50% exported, 50% used.... saving is around £200 per year - 1667.2 kWh * 12p (retail price of electricity)

So, over 25 years - you could pay back around £5000 out of savings. 

This isn't too far away from the current cost of an installation (I've seen some companies charging £7500), and if it the FiT payments could be included in the calculations, then I'm sure it would meet the golden rule.

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NorthGlosEPCComment left on: 15 May 2012 at 10:46 pm

I'm an energy assessor already and I had to laugh at a couple of the statements made in this blog.

Yes PV installer will save a fortune doing their own FiT qualifying EPC's won't they? Well apart from treading very close to the rules on conflict of interest they'll save about £50, minus of course the cost of the employee they actually get to do the assessment. So hardly a killing is it.

Now of course as an assessor I do have a vested interest. If PV installers do a DIY job it's less work for me but because I'm independant and completely objective no customer I've come across could ever claim mis-selling because an installer gave an "optimistic" EPC rating while under pressure to ensure the sale goes through. Now I'm sure most PV installers who become qualified and do their own EPC's will be completely honest and objective but temptation will be too much for some, but with so many assessors already out there and savings for the PV installer so small (if any) is it really worth it?

My recommendation to anyone thinking of PV is get your EPC from a local assessor before even talking to any PV installer that way firstly you'll get it at the best price and secondly nothing but nothing can go wrong with your FiT application and qualification.

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David Hunt

David Hunt from Comment left on: 14 May 2012 at 2:05 pm

Hi Pete, 

I wasn't making that accusation against you directly, or your company, apologies if it came over that way. I guess frustration just boiled over from all of the blaggers out there and people that are exploiting a situation. You are correct in the comments about being EPC accessors, and I hope that goes well for you, and anyone wanting to be self sufficient in that way. But green deal isn't the answer for solar companies, other than as a diversification as you say, but that isn't the message being put out there by many.

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Pete Roberts

Pete Roberts from Easy MCS LtdComment left on: 14 May 2012 at 2:00 pm

Hi David,

The article was aiming to highlight the potential of diversification into EPC's by installers training as domestic energy assessors, which will save Solar PV installers money as they will no longer need to bring in an outside organisation to perform EPC's. As you have said, the aim of the Green Deal is concentrated on other measures although Microgeneration technologies are listed. However, the point I was making was that training as a DEA allows Solar PV Installers to provide EPC's (now required for Feed in Tariff applications) and then they can look at becoming Green Deal Advisers (not necessarily Green Deal Installers) with additional training building on the DEA course. We have seen a number of Solar PV Installers who have seen a drop in installations, who have seen this as a seperate revenue stream which also covers their EPC requirements under FIT's and the foundation of becoming a Green Deal Adviser should they wish to do so.

Kind Regards 

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David Hunt

David Hunt from Comment left on: 14 May 2012 at 12:33 pm

Why oh Why oh WHY do training companies continue to hoodwink solar installers into taking training courses for the Green Deal. DECC made very clear from the start that Green Deal was not intended to support solar or renewable technology, saying ' The Green Deal and ECO are expected to drive very little additional take-up of micro-generation technologies, as these are driven primarily through the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and Feed in Tariffs (FiTs). Whilst solar and other renewables are on the list of eligible technologies none of them meet 'The Golden Rule', which is the over-riding principle on which loans will be based. I spoke about this at Green Build last week. I'm sick of solar installers who are suffering at present being targeted and misinformed in this way.

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