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How will data collected from smart meters help us?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 20 January 2017 at 11:50 am

How will data collected from smart meters help us?

The smart grid revolution is coming, whether you like it or not. With smart meters due in every home by 2020 some of us may be wondering why all this data needed, who will benefit and what risks come with it? We've tried to answer some of these kinds of questions in this blog. What is in …

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Energy vampires are real and exist in your home!

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 28 October 2016 at 9:50 am

Energy vampires are real and exist in your home!

Vampire draw, phantom loads and no-load power are all terms used to refer to the phenomenon of electricity being consumed by appliances that are “switched off” or in "stand-by mode". These appliances can run up your electricity bill and can easily add up to a hundred po…

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Is the future of wind energy as high as a kite?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 October 2016 at 12:05 pm

Is the future of wind energy as high as a kite?

Wind energy is often criticised for being unreliable. However, there is almost always wind blowing in the UK - it's just a little higher up than we currently reach. High above the friction with the ground, high altitude winds are stronger and much more stable than those close to gro…

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Can rainwater be used directly for drinking?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 3 August 2016 at 9:01 am

Can rainwater be used directly for drinking?

Rainwater isn't as clean as you might think. As it falls it can pick up particulates, pollutants and even bacteria from the air. Not to mention that particulates from pollution are likely to settle on your roof and be picked up by rainwater as you collect it. However, the water collected…

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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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A message from the sun

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 1 April 2016 at 11:25 am

A message from the sun

Here at YouGen we are no stranger to recording our Solar PV data. Each day we like to record our daily kWp. Nothing stood out as unusual until we noticed the centre value of last month... Thinking that 6.66 was strangely close to 666 (aka the number of the beast), we decided to do a litt…

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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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Is weather compensation worth it?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 12 February 2016 at 11:05 am

Is weather compensation worth it?

The weather is the biggest factor in determining how much energy will be required to heat your home. The colder the weather outside, the more energy required to heat your building. The weather outside is constantly changing meaning that equal heat demand changes occur in your home. Establishing h…

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Can you source or supply your own wood fuel for your biomass boiler and keep your RHI payments?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 5 February 2016 at 10:35 am

Can you source or supply your own wood fuel for your biomass boiler and keep your RHI payments?

Working out what you need to do to secure your Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) payments when sourcing your own supply of wood fuel may look daunting. Start with our flow chart below to determine what route is best to take then you can skip to the relevant section for what you need to know. …

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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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What are Tariff Information Labels, Tariff Comparison Rates and Personal Projections and how do they help get the best deal on energy bills?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 26 January 2016 at 9:40 am

What are Tariff Information Labels, Tariff Comparison Rates and Personal Projections and how do they help get the best deal on energy bills?

Tariff Information Labels (TILs) were introduced in 2014 by Ofgem to provide clarity to customers when they are shopping for the best energy deal. They include everything you need to know to understand the energy plan and compare costs between tariffs. The top section of the TIL has to includ…

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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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Is there an eco-friendly alternative to concrete?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 January 2016 at 10:50 am

Is there an eco-friendly alternative to concrete?

Whether it’s building a house or laying the foundations for your new conservatory or for stabilising your new solar ground array there is no denying that concrete is a fantastic building material. Concrete is: Economical with readily available ingredients Long lasting and low …

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Is using tealight candles to heat your room energy efficient?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 15 January 2016 at 9:50 am

Is using tealight candles to heat your room energy efficient?

In a word, No! ... despite the internet craze of using clay flowerpots to store and dissipate the heat energy from burning tea light candles. The first law of thermodynamics, also known as Law of Conservation of Energy, states that energy cannot be created or destroyed in a chemical reaction.…

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How can you cut student energy bills?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 13 January 2016 at 10:15 am

How can you cut student energy bills?

I can honestly say I have done and still do all of these as a PhD student! Heat fewer rooms. (The living room is top priority.) Wear a hat, gloves and slippers. Keeping your hands, feet and head warm goes a long way to making you feel comfortable. Put an extra blanket on your …

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Airbricks, Flooding and Cavity Wall Insulation

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 6 January 2016 at 4:45 pm

Airbricks, Flooding and Cavity Wall Insulation

Airbricks are hollow, vented blocks that are placed into walls to allow for air circulation in the subfloor of houses with suspended timber floor. This air circulation is designed to prevent the underfloor space becoming damp and stale. Damp problems can occur if airbricks are blocked, flooded, c…

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How much will V2G cost and when, where and who will make it happen?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 January 2016 at 12:30 pm

How much will V2G cost and when, where and who will make it happen?

  Vehicle 2 Grid (V2G) could be happening sooner than we had anticipated. Nissan and energy powerhouse Enel announced at the Paris climate change summit (COP21) that they have teamed up to test trial a V2G system in Denmark.[1] The V2G system will integrate electric vehicles (EVs) and th…

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Santa's top 7 festive green tips

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 21 December 2015 at 9:30 am

Santa's top 7 festive green tips

Santa's gone green this Christmas. Here, hot off the press, are his 7 top festive green tips: 1. People are an energy source - no not like in the Matrix! Have a party, enjoy yourself in the comfort of knowing all those extra bodies are warming your house for free. 2. Use energy effici…

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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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What are the pros and cons of living off-grid?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 17 December 2015 at 10:30 am

What are the pros and cons of living off-grid?

  What is living off-grid? In the simplest sense living off-grid is a life-style choice where you make yourself less dependent on public utilities and national infrastructure such as electricity, gas, water, sewage, phone and internet lines.  Why would you want to live …

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Christmas Crackers - 7 festive energy saving jokes

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 16 December 2015 at 11:15 am

Christmas Crackers - 7 festive energy saving jokes

I stole solar panels off my neighbours’ roof this morning. It was daylight robbery.   Wind turbines. I'm a big fan.   Many scientists agree the only way to solve the planet's worsening energy crisis is for the whole world to convert to solar…

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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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How to calculate how much carbon dioxide your tree has taken from the atmosphere

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 9 December 2015 at 2:05 pm

How to calculate how much carbon dioxide your tree has taken from the atmosphere

The amount of mass that is carbon within a tree is approximately 50%. To calculate how much CO2 this represents, times your carbon by 3.6. Now to the hard bit - WARNING - this involves maths! Calculating the amount of carbon sequested by a tree is a tricky business - the species, location and…

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One little girls dream to be a sustainability ninja

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 7 December 2015 at 10:20 am

One little girls dream to be a sustainability ninja

Sara Rickards gives a talk as a clean, green, carbon reducing, cost-cutting machine. Aside from being really quite adorable in living in her childhood dream of being a ninja she explains how were are consuming resources 50% faster than the Earth can regenerate. If we all lived as we do in the UK …

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Could liquid air energy storage address periods of over-supply from renewables?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 December 2015 at 1:10 pm

Could liquid air energy storage address periods of over-supply from renewables?

One of our readers recently responded to our blog on "When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?" with the following email: Dear YouGen, Regarding your article about the National Grid being unable to absorb excess power generated by renewable source…

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David Mackay delivers a renewables reality check

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 3 December 2015 at 3:40 pm

David Mackay delivers a renewables reality check

In a fascinating and inspiring TED (Technology, Enertainment, Design) talk David Mackay, an engineer and physicist at Cambridge University, talks us through how much space would be needed to power the entire UK as stands (with its petrol cars, gas boilers, electricity from coal etc) from renewabl…

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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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How can I avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 20 November 2015 at 12:15 pm

How can I avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home?

We're in Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (16 - 22 Nov 2015. Left undetected, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your health. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas with no smell or taste. It is produced through the incomplete burning of carbon fuels... Potential…

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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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With oil prices low, why go green?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 13 November 2015 at 11:55 am

With oil prices low, why go green?

With oil prices low, why go green? Oil prices have hovered between $50 and $70 a barrel for the past year, and have fallen a further 10% in the last week alone.  The Financial Times has reported that it expects oil markets are likely to stay oversupplied until 2020.[1,2] These decreased …

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Earthship Brighton is Crowdfunding

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 10 November 2015 at 10:03 am

Earthship Brighton is Crowdfunding

Earthship Brighton, the off-grid eco-building project, is crowdfunding to increase its impact. If successful, the fundraising will provide improved Earthship facilities, allowing the coordinators to run eco-education events and natural building courses to even greater effect. The Low Carbon T…

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