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A crazy end to a crazy year for solar PV

Posted by Howard Johns on 23 December 2011 at 4:01 pm

A crazy end to a crazy year for solar PV

2011 has been a crazy year to be working in PV in the UK. Massive growth in the sector, 2,500 new companies, 100,000 installations, huge cost reductions and three reviews of the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme; with the most recent proposing to shut the industry down to 5 per cent of what it has been t…

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Buyer beware as high court judgement on solar PV leaves consumers in limbo

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 December 2011 at 11:57 am

Buyer beware as high court judgement on solar PV leaves consumers in limbo

The way the cuts to the solar PV incentive were introduced has been judged 'unlawful' by the High Court. Friends of the Earth, Solarcentury and HomeSun took the government to court, because the cut off date for the changes to to the feed-in tariff rates was before the end of the consultation period.…

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What we want for Christmas from Santa (aka Greg Barker)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 December 2011 at 11:07 am

What we want for Christmas from Santa (aka Greg Barker)

This week has got progressively worse and worse for DECC (the department for energy and climate change) as all its green policies came under fire. First, Adair Turner, the chair of the Committee on Climate Change published an open letter to Energy Secretary Chris Huhne criticising the low ambitio…

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Solar will exert a downward force on electricity prices

Posted by James Page on 22 December 2011 at 10:09 am

Solar will exert a downward force on electricity prices

There is still a day left to submit responses to the consultation on solar feed-in tariffs.  Which is just as well as those in the industry have been a tad busy until now.    Ironically my submission will centre on a point I also made in relation to nuclear power four years…

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Secondary glazing for sash windows cuts cost and increases comfort (Revised)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 December 2011 at 2:50 pm

Secondary glazing for sash windows cuts cost and increases comfort (Revised)

Winner of our Keep Warm: Spend Less competition 'I bought my existing house in 2009 and, although the walls had been well insulated in 1994 by the developer with 100mm expanded polystyrene fitted between the studs, there were improvements that could be made,' writes Brian John Griffiths, o…

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Solar feed-in tariff consultation is a sham, say YouGen users

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 December 2011 at 12:26 pm

Solar feed-in tariff consultation is a sham, say YouGen users

Disingenuous. Suspicious. Untrustworthy. These are just some of the words used by respondents to our recent survey (pdf) to describe the government's consultation on the feed-in tariff (FIT) review. By setting a cut off date for installations that is before the end of the consultation the governm…

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Does cavity wall insulation cause damp & condensation?

Posted by Tim Pullen on 19 December 2011 at 3:58 pm

Does cavity wall insulation cause damp & condensation?

Q: I am considering having cavity wall insulation but have read that it can cause damp and condensation. Would be interested in your views. A: Cavity wall insulation is a great idea if you have a clean cavity. It is true that filling the cavity with insulation can cause damp and this is usu…

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Solar hot water: readers' tip of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2011 at 2:34 pm

Solar hot water: readers' tip of the month

My wife and I have been considering installing some form of renewable energy for several years. With teenagers in the house, a boiler and hot water tank that needed replacing we opted to install a solar heated hot water system. Since the installation of a 30 tube collector and a 300 litre dual co…

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Vote for your favourite

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2011 at 12:18 pm

Vote for your favourite

We asked for your stories on how you've managed to keep warm at home while spending less. This week we published the five shortlisted stories, and we're asking you, our readers, to choose the winner (they will get a Black & Decker thermal heat detector). These are the blogs: DIY double gla…

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DIY double glazing solves chills in a Victorian semi

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2011 at 9:33 am

DIY double glazing solves chills in a Victorian semi

'My wife and I moved into our new home with baby and toddler in tow some six years ago,' writes Dan Saniaszek. 'I say “new”, but in reality it was a late Victorian semi.  Thankfully, not a draughty and cold horror story, but still a long way from being energy efficient.  Over the years…

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Barker confirms 21p FIT rate: could this spark another mini solar boom?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 December 2011 at 10:21 am

Barker confirms 21p FIT rate: could this spark another mini solar boom?

In an uncertain world even a little bit of clarity is good, so we welcome energy minister Greg Barker's confirmation that, whatever the outcome of the consultation, the 21p rate of feed-in tariff (FIT) is fixed for the period from 12 December 2011 to 31 March 2012. That means that all systems instal…

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Secondary glazing for sash windows cuts cost and increases comfort

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 December 2011 at 9:55 am

Secondary glazing for sash windows cuts cost and increases comfort

'I bought my existing house in 2009 and, although the walls had been well insulated in 1994 by the developer with 100mm expanded polystyrene fitted between the studs, there were improvements that could be made,' writes Brian John Griffiths, one of our shortlisted contributors. 'Firstly, I topped …

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How we reduced electricity consumption from 10,000 to 1,500kwh a year

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 December 2011 at 8:40 am

How we reduced electricity consumption from 10,000 to 1,500kwh a year

"Around the time our second one was on his way and my office at home needed to get converted back to a bedroom for his sister, I was struck by how much energy I was wasting," writes Damon Hart-Davis, one of our shortlisted contributors. 'The single biggest improvement in energy efficiency that I …

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Suffolk community take action to reduce heating costs

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2011 at 11:39 am

Suffolk community take action to reduce heating costs

'We live in Walpole, a small village in north Suffolk. It has approximately 240 residents, but lost its pubs, shops and village school years ago,' writes Anne Thomas, one of our shortlisted contributors. 'About 2 years ago, the Parish Council (for Cookley and Walpole - Cookley has approximately 8…

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How the non-domestic RHI (renewable heat incentive) works: your questions answered

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 December 2011 at 3:58 pm

How the non-domestic RHI (renewable heat incentive) works: your questions answered

Can anyone in the UK benefit? No – just non-domestic installations in England, Scotland and Wales. A domestic version is expected to start in October 2012. Installations completed and commissioned on or after 15 July 2009 can apply as long as they meet the eligibility criteria. Those installed pr…

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Freezers: out of sight, out of mind, and eating electricity

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 December 2011 at 9:49 am

Freezers: out of sight, out of mind, and eating electricity

'Now here is a serious energy saver,' writes David Ham, one of our shortlisted contributors. 'For years we have run without question - out of sight out of mind - two modestly sized freezers purchased probably 15 years ago. Over the summer with no heating on I questioned why our utility room always …

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Help us choose the best energy efficiency case study

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 December 2011 at 2:18 pm

Help us choose the best energy efficiency case study

Next week we will publish the five shortlisted stories in our competition for the best practical energy efficiency stories submitted by a YouGen visitor.  We’ll post a new one up each day, and we hope you will let us know which you think deserves to win. You can do that by adding a comment be…

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Solar is not just about the feed-in tariffs

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 9 December 2011 at 9:57 am

Solar is not just about the feed-in tariffs

There has been much talk and debate about solar panels recently; most of it about solar PV and the Feed-in Tariffs (FIT). However, there is another game in town and it is potentially far larger than solar PV. Space and water heating in buildings accounts for nearly 70% of the energy consumed by the…

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£30m of new funding for energy efficiency in communities and public sector

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 December 2011 at 9:13 am

£30m of new funding for energy efficiency in communities and public sector

The good news: there's £10m worth of funding for local communities to use to assess the potential for energy efficiency and local renewable energy generation. The bad news is that the deadlines for applications are tight, and the work must be finished by the end of March 2012. There is also £20…

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'World's first RHI' launch over-shadowed by FITs debacle

Posted by Stewart Boyle on 7 December 2011 at 10:08 am

'World's first RHI' launch over-shadowed by FITs debacle

The long-awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) officially ‘opened for business’ on 28th November. With £864 million available for the cashback scheme to support biomass boilers, solar water heating systems, heat pumps and bio-methane projects, it should have been a day of great celebration…

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