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View blog posts for category: Solar electricity

How to ensure your renewable energy installation is done safely - Competent Persons Schemes and Building Regulations

Posted by Jordan Willis on 26 September 2017 at 5:01 pm

How to ensure your renewable energy installation is done safely - Competent Persons Schemes and Building Regulations

As with any change to your home, you want to ensure the installation of solar panels is an easy process that is carried out safely and securely. While there are measures and regulations in place to make sure that these installations are done safely and by qualified personnel, often prospective bu…

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I'm selling my house with solar panels - how do I get the most value?

Posted by Jordan Willis on 5 September 2017 at 2:23 pm

I'm selling my house with solar panels - how do I get the most value?

Solar panel installation is a commitment in more ways than one. While the initial cost of installing solar PV onto your home is often repaid in energy savings and a Feed-In Tariff, a second sense of commitment comes from necessary time spent in one house to see a return on your investment. The li…

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I want to install solar panels on a listed building - how do I proceed?

Posted by Jordan Willis on 24 August 2017 at 11:05 am

I want to install solar panels on a listed building - how do I proceed?

With over 376 buildings belonging to the Church of England now sporting solar panels, including many protected churches (and even one cathedral), one may be forgiven for thinking that installing solar PV onto a listed or protected building is a straightforward affair. While installing solar panel…

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New tax break could make solar energy more affordable at home

Posted by Jordan Willis on 8 August 2017 at 10:36 am

New tax break could make solar energy more affordable at home

The Solar Trade Association (STA) marked a significant victory for solar PV and solar storage systems last week by securing a 5% rate of VAT on battery storage for householders who are installing a solar storage system alongside a new solar PV system. This is set to significantly improve the …

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Should you buy a battery & how do you choose the right one?

Posted by Ollie Gibbs on 20 July 2017 at 5:06 pm

Should you buy a battery & how do you choose the right one?

Why should you buy a battery? If you have a well-designed PV system you’ll probably have noticed that on some days your system is exporting large amounts of energy back to the grid. This is because your system’s generating more energy than your home is using at that particular tim…

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Can you switch energy supplier without it affecting your FiT?

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 11 July 2017 at 12:40 pm

Can you switch energy supplier without it affecting your FiT?

We have recently heard from readers with concerns about how switching energy supplier might affect their Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments. From personal experience I can confirm that this is not an issue, although it might help to explain why this is the case. Firstly, everyone receiving FiT pay…

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Why buy a hybrid inverter for your solar PV system?

Posted by Aderanti Kudehinbu on 21 June 2017 at 9:45 am

Why buy a hybrid inverter for your solar PV system?

The initial cost of a hybrid inverter is quite high, but this is offset by the ability to use your generated power more flexibly, rather than having to buy energy from the grid when the solar panel isn’t generating. Hybrid inverters have proven reliability across various grid types. Modern …

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Greener than most by leaving a lighter footprint

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 19 June 2017 at 3:01 pm

Greener than most by leaving a lighter footprint

Have you ever considered the carbon footprint of a funeral? You may be thinking this is a bit of morbid topic for a YouGen blog, but believe it or not 0.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions are due to a variety of modern day funeral methods. Although the environmental impact is likely to be the …

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Solar Chimneys: Passive solar ventilation and electricity generation.

Posted by Alex Barrett on 7 June 2017 at 3:15 pm

Solar Chimneys: Passive solar ventilation and electricity generation.

The solar chimney is designed to harness the fact that hot air rises, providing passive ventilation for a building. A solar chimney can be used to cool a house during warm weather, and generate heat during cold times of the year. There have also been efforts to build industrial scale solar chimne…

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Exciting battery storage trial for Milton Keynes estate residents

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 30 May 2017 at 10:40 am

Exciting battery storage trial for Milton Keynes estate residents

Everybody loves a freebie right? Especially when it involves sustainable energy. Western Power Distribution’s (WPD) Low Voltage (LV) Connect and Manage project is currently offering a free trial to residents in Furzton, Milton Keynes to help develop battery power technologies. Some hous…

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Are sunnier days always the best for solar PV generation?

Posted by James Page on 28 April 2017 at 11:35 am

Are sunnier days always the best for solar PV generation?

People often remark that solar panels do not need a sunny day to generate. Turns out a cloudy day can sometimes generate more than a sunny one. Three years ago, JoJu Solar installed a 10kW flat roof system on Artsadmin in Central London. It was the first project with panels facing East and We…

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Sunny weekend breaks UK solar record

Posted by Chloe Lloyd on 5 April 2017 at 12:59 pm

Sunny weekend breaks UK solar record

With days becoming longer and sunnier afternoons on the rise, now is the perfect time to be generating electricity from your solar PV panels. Cast your minds back to the weekend of the 25th March 2017, temperatures were rising and you were dusting the cobwebs off the barbeque. However, that weeke…

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Is it a problem that my solar PV reads 280 volts?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 17 March 2017 at 4:50 pm

Is it a problem that my solar PV reads 280 volts?

Q. I have 12 solar panels, six facing east and six facing west. I have two inverters, one of which is a 'Sunnyboy', but I don't know which model. It was checked today and I was told its voltage is 281 when it should be around 240 volts. Is this a problem? Do I need something to reduce…

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What should you consider when going off the grid?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 13 March 2017 at 10:45 am

What should you consider when going off the grid?

Every wanted to cut your ties with the electricity grid and rely entirely on renewable power? In this article we’ll consider a few of the things to consider before setting up an off grid system. The first thing to consider is why you want to go off grid in the first place. Off grid syst…

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Solar PV-T systems - what are the pros and cons?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 March 2017 at 10:45 am

Solar PV-T systems - what are the pros and cons?

There are two main ways to collect energy from sunlight. Both have their advantages and both are increasingly being used by households and industry across the world. A hybrid or PV-T system combines the two approaches into the same panel. Solar PV Solar Photovoltaics (Solar PV) are possib…

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Can nanotechnology make solar PV 80% efficient?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 28 February 2017 at 10:05 am

Can nanotechnology make solar PV 80% efficient?

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems are a great way to produce renewable power by converting the energy in sunlight into electricity. However sunlight comes in a wide range of wavelengths, both visible and invisible. The current generation of solar panels are only able to harness a fraction of the po…

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Solar PV made my electricity meter run backwards

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 3 February 2017 at 1:50 pm

Solar PV made my electricity meter run backwards

They found me, I don’t know how, but they found me.  Yes, I know, it’s a quote from Back to the Future and of course I do know how they found me. My energy supplier finally worked out that my meter was running backwards because I have a PV system.  I had a 3.01kWp sy…

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Will tomorrow's solar panels generate electricity from rain?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 24 January 2017 at 10:15 am

Will tomorrow's solar panels generate electricity from rain?

There are potential sources of energy all around us. Any natural system contains energy and in theory we can tap into that energy to generate electricity or work. Something that we don’t currently harness is rain. Unfortunately rainfall doesn’t generate a sufficient volume of water to…

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Why is energy storage difficult?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 27 September 2016 at 12:25 pm

Why is energy storage difficult?

Our ability to generate renewable energy is increasing all of the time. It provides a great, green supplement to conventional power generation technologies. However if renewables are to one day stand on their own then there is an important issue that needs to be considered; Energy Storage. So…

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Can we manufacture renewables without fossil fuels?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 20 September 2016 at 10:05 am

Can we manufacture renewables without fossil fuels?

In order to capture energy from renewable sources we need the right technology. But solar panels and wind turbines are very energy intensive to manufacture. Unfortunately the energy that is used to make renewable systems usually comes from fossil fuels. So can we produce enough renewable electric…

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Are solar tiles a worthwhile investment?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 6 September 2016 at 12:45 pm

Are solar tiles a worthwhile investment?

Roof mounted solar panels are an increasingly common site on buildings across the UK. Most of these systems are attached to the roof by means of a frame. However many people would prefer that solar panels were integrated seamlessly into their house’s design.  The solution is the roof i…

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New solar PV accreditation scheme from BRE

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 18 August 2016 at 1:55 pm

New solar PV accreditation scheme from BRE

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) launched their new voluntary Solar PV Certification Scheme at their Solar Summit on the 19th July 2016. Although applicable to all solar projects, its target is solar rooftop installations over 50kW (approx. 350m2) which is above the threshold for install…

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Will battery storage affect my feed-in tariff payments?

Posted by Sandra Hayes on 16 August 2016 at 3:45 pm

Will battery storage affect my feed-in tariff payments?

Q. Will battery storage affect my FiT payments? A. A recent question from a YouGen reader about the impact of battery storage on Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments for solar PV got me thinking. My initial reaction was that FiT payments wouldn’t be affected by storage as FiT payments are made…

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How long do solar PV panels last?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 26 July 2016 at 5:05 pm

How long do solar PV panels last?

It can take years for a solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) array to “pay back” its installation cost, so you want the panels to last as long as possible. So just how long do solar panels last? And how does their efficiency decrease across their lifetime? The aging of solar cells can be…

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Is the future high speed internet with solar panels as receivers in remote areas? Li-Fi rather than Wi-Fi?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 July 2016 at 10:15 am

Is the future high speed internet with solar panels as receivers in remote areas? Li-Fi rather than Wi-Fi?

There is a new way of transporting data on the horizon and it's Li-Fi (Light-Fidelity). Boasting speeds 100x quicker than traditional Wi-Fi connections, Li-Fi has a theoretical top speed of 224 Gbps. To put that in perspective it means you could download 10 DVD quality movies, 1600 songs and …

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Will floating solar PV catch on?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 29 June 2016 at 11:05 am

Will floating solar PV catch on?

Large scale solar installations can generate large quantities of green energy for use in industry. However the question of where these power plants should be constructed can be a hot topic. Floating solar panels are becoming increasingly popular, with a large number of new projects being built ar…

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Share Solar offers cashback to early adopters of solar PV and Feed-in Tariff

Posted by Alex Barrett on 17 June 2016 at 12:05 pm

Share Solar offers cashback to early adopters of solar PV and Feed-in Tariff

“Share Solar” is a new scheme from Abundance, a company that promotes itself as an “ethical investment platform”. They are offering a cashback scheme for early adopters of solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) technology. The investment company will buy the rights to the Feed-in T…

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Why it pays to use a recommended solar panel installer

Posted by Alex Barrett on 10 June 2016 at 4:05 pm

Why it pays to use a recommended solar panel installer

When you invest in solar panels, you want to know that you will be getting a good deal. Most installers deal reputably with their customers, but there will always be a few who do not. Sometimes a company might not be reliable, other times the deal they offer might actually be a con. Three fra…

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Updated feed-in tariff guidelines for school and community installations (2016)

Posted by Alex Barrett on 7 June 2016 at 1:55 pm

Updated feed-in tariff guidelines for school and community installations (2016)

Ofgem has published an updated set of guidelines for schools and community organisations applying for the renewable energy feed-in tariff (FiT). There have been a variety of changes to this scheme over the last few years, so this document sets out the current procedure for these organisations…

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Can we develop solar panels that work at night?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 18 May 2016 at 11:55 am

Can we develop solar panels that work at night?

The main limitation of renewable energy technologies is their intermittency. At some times they produce more than enough energy to serve our needs, but this is very dependent on conditions of weather and light which are out of our control. These periods of intense energy production do not always …

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Smart Power: Government to invest £50 Million in energy storage innovations over next 5 years

Posted by Alex Barrett on 28 April 2016 at 1:35 pm

Smart Power: Government to invest £50 Million in energy storage innovations over next 5 years

The National Infrastructure Commission has recently completed a study into the UK’s energy sector. The Smart Power report, published in March 2016 sets out a series of recommendations to replace aging UK infrastructure with “smart technologies” aimed at balancing supply and dema…

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How green are solar panels?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 25 April 2016 at 12:05 pm

How green are solar panels?

Renewable energy is an important tool to build a more sustainable future, and solar power is central to our green energy arsenal. But can anything be truly green? What impacts do solar panels have on our environment? And what are the costs of manufacturing these devices? First things first, i…

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Solar impulse: Flying round the world using only renewable energy

Posted by Alex Barrett on 22 April 2016 at 8:10 pm

Solar impulse: Flying round the world using only renewable energy

An ambitious project is underway to test the limits of solar powered transportation. The aim of the Solar Impulse project is fairly straightforward: Circumnavigate the Earth in a plane powered only by solar power. Completing that goal has required an astounding feat of engineering. The Solar …

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Battery storage guidance for solar PV installers and sellers

Posted by Anna Carlini on 22 April 2016 at 12:45 pm

Battery storage guidance for solar PV installers and sellers

More and more installers are receiving interest in incorporating battery storage into packages with solar PV systems. Following the recent cuts to the solar PV Feed-in Tariff (FiT), the previously niche area of battery storage has become a popular option for consumers looking to use more of the p…

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Is solar wallpaper on the way thanks to graphene nanotechnology?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 18 April 2016 at 10:20 am

Is solar wallpaper on the way thanks to graphene nanotechnology?

What if we could put solar panels everywhere in the form of solar wallpaper? At the moment installing solar photovoltaics (Solar PV) requires carefully positioning the solar panels to get as much sunlight as possible. Tracking systems can be set up so that the panels follow the path of the su…

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Battery storage for solar PV: Which battery to choose?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 30 March 2016 at 12:55 pm

Battery storage for solar PV: Which battery to choose?

Battery storage bolt-on options for existing renewable energy generation systems are now becoming the next 'must have' for people looking to either reduce their energy bills or increase their energy security at times of power cuts. I have been providing different types of battery syst…

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How do solar panels work?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 29 March 2016 at 10:30 am

How do solar panels work?

TED-Ed have uploaded a fantastic video explaining the science behind solar panels as part of a TED lesson on solar by Dr Richard Komp. The video explains how solar panels work, what their limitations are and how they can be improved in the future. Definitely one of the better explanations on how …

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Solar cemetery: a new form of green burial?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 23 March 2016 at 10:30 am

Solar cemetery: a new form of green burial?

Santa Coloma de Gramenet cemetery, just outside Barcelona in Spain, brings a new environmentally friendly option to the table. Having installed 462 solar panels on top of their mausoleums they generate enough electricity to power 60 homes. It has become a 'solar cemetery'. Usually whe…

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Are solar tracking systems worth it?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 14 March 2016 at 2:30 pm

Are solar tracking systems worth it?

Solar tracking systems are devices that rotate solar panels towards the sun throughout the day or year. As solar panels generate more power when they face the sun directly this maximises solar capture and helps to minimise the space required to meet demand. The use of solar trackers is commonplac…

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How do you clean solar panels?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 29 February 2016 at 10:05 am

How do you clean solar panels?

Whether or not you need to clean your solar panels sparks something of a debate between owners of solar panels. Most roof-mounted systems are self-cleaning as rain-water washes away the majority of the dirt that gathers on the surface. If you’re considering using commercial cleaning service…

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French solar road aims to supply electricity to 5 million people whilst stretching over 1000km

Posted by Anna Carlini on 24 February 2016 at 10:15 am

French solar road aims to supply electricity to 5 million people whilst stretching over 1000km

Work to build the world's largest solar panelled road has started in France. The plan is for the road to stretch over 1000km, supplying electricity to 5 million people or 8% of the population. The solar road will be laid with flexible Wattway PV panels which add a tiled effect. The road i…

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Early energy supplier 'smart' meters incompatible with solar PV?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 23 February 2016 at 10:15 am

Early energy supplier 'smart' meters incompatible with solar PV?

We recently had a question about smart meter compatibility with PV installs and whether this may affect the 50% export deeming. Smart meters not compatible with self-generation seemed a little bit crazy to me, so I wanted to investigate a little bit more. At the end of 2015 overall PV cap…

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Solar PV and smart meters: are they compatible?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 22 February 2016 at 11:55 am

Solar PV and smart meters: are they compatible?

Q: I had PV solar fitted in September 2014, my electric and gas supplier has offered to install smart meters. I'm confused if this will be compatible between my normal electric usage & PV? Also the rule is that I get a unit price for every unit produced by PV through feed-in-tariff and I …

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Three feed-in tariff caps exceeded within one day

Posted by Anna Carlini on 17 February 2016 at 9:30 am

Three feed-in tariff caps exceeded within one day

Three capacity caps were reached on the first day that new applications for the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) were assessed. The new caps, which came into force 8 February, limit the number of installations eligible to receive the given FiT rate in each quarter. If the maximum is reached, unsuccessful app…

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4.39p/kWh Feed-in Tariff rate takes effect on 8 Feb 2016

Posted by Anna Carlini on 3 February 2016 at 9:35 am

4.39p/kWh Feed-in Tariff rate takes effect on 8 Feb 2016

The new Feed-in Tariff (FiT) rate takes effect on 8 Feb 2016. Any domestic solar panels installed from then onwards will receive 4.39p per kilowatt hour of renewable electricity generated. This is a 65% cut on the 12.47p it would have previously received. The new rates follow a period of a no…

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What are the pros and cons of a ground-based solar PV system?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 29 January 2016 at 11:05 am

What are the pros and cons of a ground-based solar PV system?

The majority of the solar PV systems installed in UK communities have been roof-mounted. While this may take advantage of unused space on your property there is the option of ground-mounting your array which has its own pros and cons which I outline below. Pros of ground-mounted arrays: …

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immerSUN installation and first impressions

Posted by Jane Richardson Hawkes on 27 January 2016 at 9:40 am

immerSUN installation and first impressions



Jane Richardson Hawkes shares her first impressions of her new immerSUN unit. She recently had this installed in her home in the South East of England where she lives with her partner. This is her first report in a series of three:
 Why an immerSUN? Using as much of our PV generat…

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Can a green roof and solar PV system work well together?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 20 January 2016 at 10:05 am

Can a green roof and solar PV system work well together?

What is a green roof? A green roof is a roof fully or partly covered in vegetation. It is a layered system. You'll need a strong, waterproof, roots-resistant membrane at the bottom, then a growing medium like soil, then finally the vegetation on top. In some climates they also include an …

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Will installing solar panels lead to a leaking roof?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 December 2015 at 10:15 am

Will installing solar panels lead to a leaking roof?

There are a number of ways to secure solar PV panels to a roof. Certified fixings, properly installed using approved tried and tested methods, will secure the panels to your roof without causing leaks. However, do ensure the installer you choose ticks all these boxes before proceeding. Installing…

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Feed-in Tariff for Solar PV to be cut to 4.39p/KWh, not 1.63p

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 17 December 2015 at 3:42 pm

Feed-in Tariff for Solar PV to be cut to 4.39p/KWh, not 1.63p

The government has heeded the overwhelming responses against the proposed cuts to the Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments. As of the 8 Feb 2016 domestic solar PV installations up to 10kW in will receive a generation tariff of 4.39 p/kWh. While this is significantly higher than the previously proposed 1…

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Where do your solar PV panels come from?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 December 2015 at 10:15 am

Where do your solar PV panels come from?

I could ask a few more questions about this, such as ‘is it more important to you that they are cheap or that they are made in Europe?’, ‘do you worry that Chinese production will mean the closure of EU PV manufacturing plant?’, ‘are you concerned that panels which s…

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Should I cut down a tree shading my roof to make way for solar panels?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 10 December 2015 at 2:15 pm

Should I cut down a tree shading my roof to make way for solar panels?

Solar panels and trees aren’t always the best of companions. Branches and leaves may cast shade over your panels reducing their efficiency. This is an interesting moral dilemma. On one hand you have the benefits of reducing your carbon footprint by switching to solar power. On the other…

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Will V2G solve the problem of storing solar electricity?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 26 November 2015 at 12:05 pm

Will V2G solve the problem of storing solar electricity?

Vehicle to grid (V2G): There are about 43,000 electric vehicles on the road in the UK and that number is set to reach one million around 2020. [1,2] With the expectation of smart meters in every home by 2020, the market looks ripe for the growth of V2G systems. A V2G system combines energy ma…

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Can I move my solar panels to my new home and keep the Feed-in Tariff?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 25 November 2015 at 11:05 am

Can I move my solar panels to my new home and keep the Feed-in Tariff?

Q. Can I move my solar panels to my new house and keep my Feed-in Tariff (FiT)? A.  No. Any PV (Photovoltaic) system under 50 kWp that is transferred to another property would be treated as “second-hand” and would not be eligible for the FiT. When a property is sold PV system…

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55,000 responses to Feed-in Tariff consultation, 2600 unique and detailed

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 November 2015 at 10:15 am

55,000 responses to Feed-in Tariff consultation, 2600 unique and detailed

The Government response to the Feed-In Tariff consultation is now going to be published ‘in due course’. Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State at DECC, confirmed that the consultation which was launched on 27th August and closed on 23rd October had received nearly 55,000 responses.  …

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Should I buy a solar PV system now?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 20 November 2015 at 2:30 pm

Should I buy a solar PV system now?

The answer is yes, absolutely, but you had better get moving.  With tariffs set to reduce or disappear altogether in the new year, you probably have until 31st December 2015 to get your system in and your application for Feed-in Tariff (FiTs) payments to your supplier. Your FiTs applicat…

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When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 19 November 2015 at 11:34 am

When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?

The national grid is ill-equipped to deal with the intermittent supply of electricity from renewables. It was designed with energy production from fossil fuels in mind, leaving innovators and policy makers stuck with an ageing infrastructure which is costly to adapt. Of energy supply, Amber R…

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Is a more market sensitive Feed-in Tariff possible?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 November 2015 at 6:41 pm

Is a more market sensitive Feed-in Tariff possible?

As the green energy technology market continues to grow and develop, the policies and regulation surrounding them need to evolve. The introduction of smart meters in every home could make real-time pricing for both the selling and buying of energy become an intriguing and very real possibility. I…

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How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 29 October 2015 at 11:15 am

How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

A domestic electricity store (ie. lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries) could be one way to make the most of the free clean electricity that you are generating from your solar PV panels. These batteries will be familiar to you – lead-acid is often used in car batteries and lithium-ion is used…

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YouGen responds to government consultation on solar Feed-in Tariffs

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 October 2015 at 2:45 pm

YouGen responds to government consultation on solar Feed-in Tariffs

Consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme Response on behalf of YouGen YouGen is a website which attracts over 550,000 users each year. The site provides information and advice on renewables and energy efficiency measures. It also provides a well-used recommendation service t…

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Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 13 October 2015 at 9:45 am

Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

When we look at renewable electricity or heat generation the first consideration always seems to be the length of time that it will take for the technology to pay for itself. It makes sense: if you’re investing several thousand pounds you want to know that it will be worth it. But is it rig…

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Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 9 October 2015 at 2:45 pm

Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Are you one of those incensed by the current consultation to review the Feed-in Tariff? Are you unhappy that the government is back tracking on its pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever’? Do you think the cuts are going too far? Are you wondering why they would cut solar subsidie…

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How do I make the most of my solar panels?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 2 October 2015 at 10:30 am

How do I make the most of my solar panels?

If you were one of the early installers of solar PV and are receiving generation and export Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) then you are probably making a good profit. However, as the FiT has decreased, newer installers may be wondering how to use more of the electricity generated so that you don’t …

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Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Posted by NEF Gabby on 30 September 2015 at 9:52 am

Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) has been fined £200,000 for making nuisance calls. The firm, based in Glasgow, hired another company (which it now blames for the issue) to conduct its marketing campaign. This company then undertook a comprehensive cold calling campaign whic…

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How do I add more panels to my existing solar PV system?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 September 2015 at 12:45 pm

How do I add more panels to my existing solar PV system?

Q. I would like to have more panels added to my existing system.  What do I need to know? A. There are a few things to consider, mainly changes to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) since your last install.  Firstly the price you get per kWh has decreased substantially.  When you fir…

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Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

Posted by Helena Ripley on 3 September 2015 at 10:50 am

Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

The department for energy and climate change (DECC) has started a consultation on the future of feed-in tariffs (FiTs). The government is looking at phasing out the subsidy by 2018/19 but if the scheme can’t be put on an “affordable or sustainable footing” then payments of the g…

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Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

Posted by Helena Ripley on 25 August 2015 at 12:45 pm

Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

The Solar Trade Association (STA) recently produced a guide to fitting solar PV on a large roof. This contains a checklist of actions needed in order to successfully install a solar PV array on a commercial building. What are the benefits of solar PV on a commercial building? Commercial b…

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How FiTs and RHI made us £5000 a year better off!

Posted by Jacob Morris-Davies on 27 July 2015 at 11:55 am

How FiTs and RHI made us £5000 a year better off!

There is no denying it: upgrading your home with eco-technologies costs. However, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. There are a variety of government-led subsidies for those upgrading homes with green technology, and one couple in Abertridwr, South Wales, say they are &…

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How does degression work with FiTs?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 24 July 2015 at 2:25 pm

How does degression work with FiTs?

If you have installed a renewable energy technology or low carbon technology in the past few years and you are receiving Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments then you may have come across the term degression. But what exactly is a degression, what is its purpose and how does it work? What is degress…

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Coloured solar panels - worth it?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 24 July 2015 at 1:50 pm

Coloured solar panels - worth it?

Over the last six months I have done a fair amount of research into photovoltaic solar panels. So I was surprised to discover recently that solar cells can be made in different colours. You might know all about this, but I had somehow missed the coloured solar developments! Coloured Rooftop S…

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Feed-in Tariffs Four Years On

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 21 July 2015 at 12:15 pm

Feed-in Tariffs Four Years On

Ofgem recently published a report on Year Four of the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) scheme (1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014). It makes for an interesting read, but rather than you trawling through the 50 page report, we’ve done it for you. Here are the highlights.  On 1 April 2010 the govern…

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Solar Independence Day - solar open days across the UK

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 June 2015 at 1:25 pm

Solar Independence Day - solar open days across the UK

Are you interested in Solar? From Cornwall to Aberdeen, the Solar Trade Association (STA) is holding open days for the public on 3 & 4 July.  Billed as Solar Independence Day this a unique opportunity to go and visit a solar farm or even a bus depot with a massive PV array. The …

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New feed-in tariffs from 1 July 2015

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 June 2015 at 10:10 am

New feed-in tariffs from 1 July 2015

If you aren’t already in the process of getting you Feed-in tariffs (FiTs) application in then you will probably end up with the new tariffs from 1 July. It’s all based on when your system is commissioned, so you don’t have much time. When the scheme was first introduced bac…

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Five ways to avoid the solar sharks!

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 June 2015 at 10:35 am

Five ways to avoid the solar sharks!

It used to be double glazing that was renowned for dodgy salesmen. Now some of the techniques they used are being kept alive by companies selling renewable energy technologies.  There are plenty of totally trustworthy companies out there, you can find many of them in our ‘find a&he…

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Wadebridge sets the standard - 1 in 10 households with solar PV

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 3 June 2015 at 11:25 am

Wadebridge sets the standard - 1 in 10 households with solar PV

Wadebridge in Cornwall is setting the standard for Solar Energy in the UK with one in ten households sporting Photovoltaic systems. Could this be partly because the local Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network has been promoting reductions in carbon emissions from the town and has a membership o…

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New tool to help detect problems in your solar panel performance

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 May 2015 at 10:30 am

New tool to help detect problems in your solar panel performance

Sheffield Solar Farm has developed an online tool to help you detect problems in your solar panel performance. The tool works by comparing the last six month’s data from your system with that of the surrounding hundred systems.  If the data from any one month differs from other loc…

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Do I need two inverters or one for my solar PV panels?

Posted by Cliff Wilson on 20 May 2015 at 10:30 am

Do I need two inverters or one for my solar PV panels?

Question: I have had a quote for PV with 1.75kWp on my south facing roof and 2.25kWp on my west facing roof.  I wanted to use the full 4kWp if at all possible to get the most FiT.  What I wanted to know was about the inverter.  My installer has only quoted for one inverter, but a f…

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Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

Posted by Gordon Glass on 18 May 2015 at 10:30 am

Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

This month is a busy one for Green Open Homes with events all over the country, from West Cornwall to Yorkshire. An estimated total of 200 homes are being opened up this spring for visitors, showcasing both low cost energy efficient improvements and larger more expensive options. Event locations …

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New lithium battery technology to store energy from solar PV panels

Posted by Gordon Glass on 13 May 2015 at 10:30 am

New lithium battery technology to store energy from solar PV panels

A houseowner in Lewes has become one of the first in the area to use state-of-the-art lithium battery technology to store energy from solar PV panels. Jill Goulder has installed a lithium battery storage system linked to her solar PV panels. These recharge during sunlight hours and provide po…

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Top tips for setting up a community solar PV project

Posted by Alex Steeland on 11 May 2015 at 10:15 am

Top tips for setting up a community solar PV project

Have you ever wondered how successful community solar PV projects started out? What if you could pick a social entrepreneur’s brain to find out exactly what was involved and the lessons they learned along the way? Well, lucky for you, a new series of action packs has just been launched whic…

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Could new batteries take you off grid?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 5 May 2015 at 11:05 am

Could new batteries take you off grid?

For many years we have wondered about the problem of storing our PV generation.  In fact many customers install PV, thinking that they may be protecting themselves from future power cuts, without realising that the grid is required for their system to function. A new development from Tes…

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How do I know if my solar panels are working correctly?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 April 2015 at 4:10 pm

How do I know if my solar panels are working correctly?

1. Keep an eye on your generation meter   Check your generation meter once a week and keep a record of the figure. Your meter should clock up energy generation every day, even in dull weather. Keeping a regular eye on it will help you notice any variation over time that doesn’t seem …

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Solar power in a conservation area: how solar slate tiles pleased the planners

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 15 April 2015 at 2:15 pm

Solar power in a conservation area: how solar slate tiles pleased the planners

Whenever I see a petition designed to get solar panels removed from village roofs, I get a little twitchy. Not only is this, in my view, the worst kind of nimbyism, these petitions invariably cite the ugliness of the panels as a reason for their removal. How unsightly, I wonder, will these vi…

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What questions should you ask when comparing solar PV quotes?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 March 2015 at 9:55 am

What questions should you ask when comparing solar PV quotes?

You’ve got a stack of quotes for solar PV but without the technical know-how it can be very hard to figure out which one is best. Following on from our blog about what should be included in your quote, we’ve come up with a list of questions you can ask to help you to sort the wheat fr…

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West Solent Solar: community at the heart of local energy project

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 March 2015 at 12:20 pm

West Solent Solar: community at the heart of local energy project

On the south coast of England, on a patch of land facing the Isle of Wight and the English Channel beyond, a sea breeze blows, cooling a solar array. Not everyone knows this but cool conditions improve a solar panel output. This is because electrons flow faster in cooler temperatures so a hig…

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Companies to face huge fines for cold calling menace

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 March 2015 at 10:50 am

Companies to face huge fines for cold calling menace

With energy efficiency companies now topping the list of nuisance callers it's good to hear that the rules on cold calling are being tightened up. (About time too, some may say). Energy efficiency cowboys recently knocked those calling about compensation for missold PPI (payment protection in…

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Using the new Ace community energy projects support tool

Posted by Alex Steeland on 16 March 2015 at 11:45 am

Using the new Ace community energy projects support tool

If you’re thinking of setting up a community energy project, the Ace for Communities online tool is designed to help. This new tool, developed by the National Energy Foundation, provides detailed ideas, tips and real life case study examples on a wide range of community engagement activitie…

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How do I set up a community energy project?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 March 2015 at 9:20 am

How do I set up a community energy project?

First things first: the fact that you’re even asking this shows you’re ambitious and that is good. You are embarking on a thorny and complicated journey and there will be many challenges along the way. But take heart! It is a journey many others have successfully trodden before and he…

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What's the difference between polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels?

Posted by Stuart Elmes on 25 February 2015 at 9:55 am

What's the difference between polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels?

When I agreed to write an article on the difference between the two main types of photovoltaic solar panel, those based on monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon, I thought what could be easier?  You can find numerous articles on websites, all saying the same thing.  It usually goe…

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How to sell solar PV: tips for installers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 February 2015 at 10:05 am

How to sell solar PV: tips for installers

Build your reputation, do due diligence and change the way you sell solar says Rexel UK's energy solutions director Jerry Hamilton. Speaking at the Solar Energy UK Roadshow he advised installers that local reputation is far the best way of getting referrals and jobs. This is something we …

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Changes to regulations for domestic RHI now in force

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 February 2015 at 2:08 pm

Changes to regulations for domestic RHI now in force

Rules about the sustainability of biomass fuel and the following changes to the regulations for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) came into force on 5 February 2015. Cooker stoves “Cooker stoves” are biomass stoves with a back boiler that are predominantly designed f…

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Feed-in tariff for Solar PV to decrease in April

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 February 2015 at 10:14 am

Feed-in tariff for Solar PV to decrease in April

The feed-in tariff rates from 1 April 2015 have now been announced. There has been a 1.6% cost of living increase across the board for those who are already receiving feed-in tariff payments.  There is a surprise reduction in the rate for most sizes of solar PV installed from 1 April 201…

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Readers' tips of the month - January 2015

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2015 at 9:57 am

Readers' tips of the month - January 2015

Mistakes are always one of the best learning opportunities, so we're always grateful when readers share theirs making it possible for the rest of you to get the learning without the pain of getting it wrong first. And pain is what this retired widow from Staffordshire experienced at the h…

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Should I divert excess solar energy into my hot water cylinder?

Posted by Chris Jardine on 20 January 2015 at 4:48 pm

Should I divert excess solar energy into my hot water cylinder?

Most people don't use all the electricity they generate from their solar panels. Any excess is exported into the grid for someone else to use. But there are ways to keep and use more of your own electricity by using the surplus electricity to heat your hot water cylinder.  Opinions d…

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Win new business in 2015 with Solar Energy UK Installer Roadshow

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 January 2015 at 2:25 pm

Win new business in 2015 with Solar Energy UK Installer Roadshow

Solar Energy UK Installer Roadshow is a series of half day seminars that provide an accessible, educational opportunity for SME and commercial installers to learn more about all the latest trade essentials for running a successful solar business in the upcoming year. YouGen members get a 20% disc…

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What should be included in a quote for solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2015 at 11:28 am

What should be included in a quote for solar panels?

Q: I have read your 10 questions to ask a potential installer. You say 'Make sure the quotation is comprehensive - it should itemise all the equipment'.  How can you know what should be there and what might be missing?  Also you suggest asking 'Are they qualified electrician…

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Solar trade must address ignorance and lack of trust to boost solar sales

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 January 2015 at 2:50 pm

Solar trade must address ignorance and lack of trust to boost solar sales

There is a healthy appetite for solar panels among home owners in the UK, but the findings of a recent survey indicate that the solar trade still has considerable work to do to ramp up domestic installations.  The good news (for solar installers, not homeowners!) is that 81% of UK a…

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What YouGen readers liked: top 10 blogs of 2014

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 January 2015 at 2:01 pm

What YouGen readers liked: top 10 blogs of 2014

With an election on the horizon it's hard to know what's going to happen in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors in 2015. Maybe the political parties (and others) will be able to take a hint about what important to householder by looking at our most popular blog last year. T…

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How can I store my solar generated electricity to use at night?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 December 2014 at 10:24 am

How can I store my solar generated electricity to use at night?

Q: How can solar power produced in the summer during the day be stored for use at night or in the winter? Converted to hydrogen or stored in batteries?  A: There are a number of options that you can take to use more of your solar generated power. Some are (relatively) cheap and chee…

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Can I believe this solar salesman?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2014 at 3:09 pm

Can I believe this solar salesman?

Q: We had a salesman/assessor  around last week. I was quite impressed with his spiel, but I did not sign up on the spot, as I wanted to do some research. Reviews of the company are mixed. The poor reviews seem to be mainly based on the pushiness and the hard sell of the salesman, but o…

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