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Manufacturers can play a key role in preventing problems with heat pumps

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 March 2013 at 10:13 am

Manufacturers can play a key role in preventing problems with heat pumps

Heat pumps can be a great way of heating a building if (and it's a big if) they are designed, specified, installed and commissioned right, and the building owner is given good, clear instructions about how to use the system and what the different controls do. The reason I say it's a b…

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Feed-in tariff increases by RPI from 1 April 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 March 2013 at 9:08 am

Feed-in tariff increases by RPI from 1 April 2013

Most existing recipients of the feed-in tariff and the renewable heat incentive will receive an  increase in their tariff rates in line with the retail price index from 1 April 2013. However, for some recent recipients of the feed-in tariff of solar PV the first RPI increase will not happen …

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Five reasons why now is a really good time to install solar PV

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 March 2013 at 9:46 am

Five reasons why now is a really good time to install solar PV

If you want to generate your own electricity there's not likely to be a better time than now to install solar PV panels. Global oversupply of solar panels has led to tumbling prices - but experts predict that this may not last. The feed-in tariff - the government's incentive for the t…

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How renewable energy installers can deliver better service (infographic)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 February 2013 at 10:39 am

  After warranties, an instruction booklet is the most important feature of after sales service that you can offer microgeneration customers according to research by Delta Energy and Environment. This offers installers a great opportunity to shine and to differentiate themselves fro…

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Green Deal finance will work with FITs and RHI

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 February 2013 at 9:59 am

Green Deal finance will work with FITs and RHI

Mixed messages have been circulating about how - or whether - Green Deal will work with the government's financial incentives for renewable heat and electricity generation. Last week the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed in a letter to installers that householders can claim a …

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Estimates of solar PV will improve with launch of new PV Guide

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 February 2013 at 9:46 am

Estimates of solar PV will improve with launch of new PV Guide

The estimated performance of solar PV systems will be significantly more accurate in future, following the publication of the long awaited new PV Guide, and the newly updated standard MIS3002 issue 3.0. The new standards for solar PV installations were finally launched last week by Climate Ch…

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Wise up when buying solar, double glazing and insulation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 February 2013 at 9:22 am

Wise up when buying solar, double glazing and insulation

Last month the Office of Fair Trading announced that it has written to 50 leading businesses in the energy efficiency sector asking them to ensure they are providing consistently good standards to consumers. This is because the watchdog is concerned about pressure sales techniques, unclear inform…

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Readers tips of the month - January 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2013 at 10:35 am

Readers tips of the month - January 2013

Keeping warm is a bit of a theme for this month's tips. Mark Griffiths lives in a solid-wall 1930s house and works from home. He writes: " we brought in a company to help us dry-line part of our home office - an upstairs bedroom. We lost ten inches of space, but gained immensely in heat …

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Has EDF had a change of heart on feed-in tariff administration?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2013 at 9:04 am

Has EDF had a change of heart on feed-in tariff administration?

Edit: Please see below for updated information about this blog post Feed-in tariff (FIT) applications close the deadline for a rate change have always been a worrying time. Will the system be registered on time? Will you get the expected higher rate? With most companies it's just a matter…

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Let's not kill the Green Deal with negativity before it's had a chance

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 January 2013 at 10:05 am

Let's not kill the Green Deal with negativity before it's had a chance

Today, at last, the Green Deal is open for business. I struggle to think of any proposal that's been so talked about (and so derided) before it even started. So it's not surprising that its launch has been met with a tide of negativity too: it's not ambitious enough say some. Others f…

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Use carbon tax to eliminate fuel poverty, PM told

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 January 2013 at 5:17 pm

Use carbon tax to eliminate fuel poverty, PM told

We're pleased to be one of the 100 signatories sent to Prime Minister – The Rt Hon David Cameron MP yesterday. If you agree, then please sign the Energy Bill Revolution petition, and tell your friends about it too. Dear Prime Minister Millions of households across the UK will st…

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Is the extension of my solar PV system eligible for higher rate FITs?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2013 at 9:08 am

Is the extension of my solar PV system eligible for higher rate FITs?

Q: We originally installed 7.23 kW Solar PV for our home a few years back that qualified for the higher band of feed-in tariff (FIT). Just this month we have installed an extension of an additional 15 kW. We understood this to be an extension to the original system and that the extension would be…

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Solar Power UK takes to the road again - coming soon to a place near you!

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2013 at 9:25 am

Solar Power UK takes to the road again - coming soon to a place near you!

How to improve the way you sell and promote your solar business will be the focus of this year's Solar Power UK Roadshows. In February, the series of seven, half-day events will take place in locations across the UK. I am delighted to have been invited to join the speaker panel again this yea…

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Planning permission not needed for (most) external solid wall insulation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 January 2013 at 9:04 am

Planning permission not needed for (most) external solid wall insulation

In a welcome bit of joined-up government thinking, the departments of energy and climate change and of communities and local government have clarified that the installation of external solid wall insulation constitutes an 'improvement' to a house rather than an 'enlargement' or &#…

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Thermodynamic panels: your questions answered

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 January 2013 at 9:12 am

Thermodynamic panels: your questions answered

This blog was updated in February 2014. If someone told you that there's a new solar panel that could heat your hot water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year come rain, shine or snow, would you believe them? It sounds too good to be true, and that always makes me suspicious, but that's wh…

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Over 70% of E.on customers have problems getting FIT payments

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 December 2012 at 9:10 am

Over 70% of E.on customers have problems getting FIT payments

Earlier this year we found E.on had more disgruntled feed-in tariff customers than any other energy company. New research by Which?, with a bigger sample of 1,700 respondents, has come to the same conclusion. More than a third of their members had problems with their FIT supplier, and of thos…

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Gas or electric heater with solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 December 2012 at 11:25 am

Gas or electric heater with solar panels?

Q: In discussions of draught proofing a room I realise that a lot of heat must be drawn up the flue behind my gas fire & therefore wasted due to its inevitable escape to the environment. Would it be worth it to replace my gas fire in the lounge by an electric fire with resultant minimal loss …

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Ban deal on the day: open letter to Greg Barker MP and Jo Swinson MP

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 2:16 pm

Ban deal on the day: open letter to Greg Barker MP and Jo Swinson MP

An open letter from Mike Stephenson, H2Eco  to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Jo Swinson MP, and the Energy Minister, Greg Barker MP and the wider Renewable Energy Installation industry. Help reduce pressure selling in the home by banning ‘deal on the day.’ I would …

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Seven top tips for selling renewable heat technologies in the domestic market

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 12:23 pm

Seven top tips for selling renewable heat technologies in the domestic market

A lot of work is needed to raise awareness among the British public of renewable heat technologies such as solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass boilers according to research by Delta Energy and Environment. Speaking at Renewable Energy Installer's business strategy conference in November…

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Will the domestic RHI incentivise installers to invest in training?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 10:14 am

Will the domestic RHI incentivise installers to invest in training?

Renewable heat zones led by local authorities would provide the incentives necessary for heating engineers to invest in training and skills for renewable heat installation, according to Kelly Butler of BEAMA. Speaking at the Westminster Forum on Progress of the RHI last month, Butler pointed …

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What is the most profitable best kept secret in renewable energy?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 December 2012 at 12:17 pm

What is the most profitable best kept secret in renewable energy?

Developing a sustainable business in a field as dominated by politics as renewable energy is a hazardous undertaking. So how do you pick the route to the most stable market? Ask what the strategic policy drivers are, is the advice of Erich Scherer, an assistant director in the renewable energ…

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Have you been subject to pressure sales for solar?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 December 2012 at 2:30 pm

Have you been subject to pressure sales for solar?

A small minority of renewable energy companies are ignoring the rules on selling set down in the REAL Assurance consumer code, to which all MCS accredited installers must adhere.  This is the relevant section of the code: Sales employees and representatives, whether employed  di…

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Join our campaign to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 4:20 pm

Join our campaign to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

If you don't like being pressured to buy in your own home, then support our campaign to to stop renewable energy companies being able to sign up customers on the day of a sales visit. These are substantial investments which are not suitable for a 'deal on the day sale', and most reput…

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Why we are calling on ministers to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 4:16 pm

Why we are calling on ministers to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

There are occasions when signing a contract on the day with the first sales person you come into contact with is a good idea, but they are few and far between. An example might be when your boiler has broken down, and the plumber you know and trust comes to replace it. However, when a company has…

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Should I cancel my contract for solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 12:32 pm

Should I cancel my contract for solar panels?

Q: I had a visit Thursday evening from Ecohome Renewables. They quoted me £15,560 for a 16 panel 230w system, gave me a discount down to £10,560 but guaranteed me a tariff inflator to inflate my PV FIT system to 40p for 20 years. I had to agree then and there and signed a contract for…

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Biomass boiler means house is warm for the first time

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 November 2012 at 4:10 pm

Biomass boiler means house is warm for the first time

"It's the first time in the history of our house that we've had a warm house. Last year we were scraping ice off the inside of the windows." Anyone who lives in an old, leaky farmhouse and heats it with oil will probably prick up their ears at a quote like that and want to k…

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YouGen wins WWF Green Game-Changer award

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 November 2012 at 2:16 pm

YouGen wins WWF Green Game-Changer award

YouGen was announced the winner of the WWF Green Game Changer Award in the International Green Awards 2012 last week in a glitzy presentation at Battersea Power Station. The Green Game-Changer category was new this year in a tie up with WWF-UK. It was looking for innovations in products, serv…

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Government's new energy efficiency strategy is flawed

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 November 2012 at 10:31 am

Government's new energy efficiency strategy is flawed

The Government published its new Energy Efficiency Strategy earlier this week, setting out its ambition to save up to 22 power stations-worth of energy by 2020.  The Strategy is aimed at saving energy in housing, transport and manufacturing.  New energy saving initiatives announced toda…

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Will customer awareness of the domestic RHI be great enough?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 November 2012 at 9:16 am

Will customer awareness of the domestic RHI be great enough?

Government needs to take action to ensure customer awareness of the renewable heat incentive (RHI), said Peter Connor, senior lecturer in renewable energy policy at the University of Exeter. He was speaking at the Westminster Forum seminar on delivering the RHI earlier this week. This was somethi…

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Metering is biggest challenge to RHI

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2012 at 3:09 pm

Metering is biggest challenge to RHI

The biggest challenges in the RHI are around metering, according to Lindsay Goater, senior manager, RHI generation at Ofgem. Speaking at the Westminster Forum seminar, Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive, earlier this week he said that the main problem is meters not installing them to the man…

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Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive - speech to Westminster Forum

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2012 at 9:44 am

Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive - speech to Westminster Forum

This is my speech to the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum seminar on Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive: controlling costs suppporting new technologies and moving towards the domestic roll out on Tuesday 13 November 2012. YouGen is a information website for home and sm…

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Domestic or not? Where's the divide for the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 November 2012 at 9:03 am

Domestic or not? Where's the divide for the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Businesses that run from home can experience complications when claiming the renewable heat incentive. Do they count as  domestic or commercial for the purposes of the RHI? It's an important question, as the two versions of the scheme are quite different. The non-domestic renewable h…

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Free, comprehensive guide to farm energy saving

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 November 2012 at 9:57 am

Free, comprehensive guide to farm energy saving

Keeping the costs of energy down is a must for most farms, but the challenge is often knowing where to start. As in most businesses it's easy to let the urgent take priority over the important, but as the writers of a detailed new guide to energy efficiency say, if you don't start planning change no…

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Feed-in tariff for solar PV falls, but ROI increases

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 November 2012 at 10:09 am

Feed-in tariff for solar PV falls, but ROI increases

The first automatic degression of the solar PV feed-in tariff rate occurred yesterday. To put that in plain English, the rate for new installations fell by 3.5 per cent for all installations of 150kW and below. For a 4kW installation that meant a reduction in tariff from 16p per kWh to 15.44p.&nb…

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How can we best use our solar generated electricity?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 November 2012 at 9:34 am

How can we best use our solar generated electricity?

Q: We have just installed PV solar panels, rated at max output of 2.25 kW. Very pleased so far (3 weeks). Careful use of daytime electricity and a woodburning stove for cooking means our energy is only costing an average of around 50p per day. (We collect waste wood to burn and we do most of our co…

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I'm on mains gas, am I eligible for the domestic RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 November 2012 at 3:06 pm

I'm on mains gas, am I eligible for the domestic RHI?

Q: I am very interested in the RHI (renewable heat incentive) but a little confused! I would love a biomass boiler or air source heat pump but I have read somewhere that if I have gas and disconnect from the gas mains I still can't claim RHI? Is this true? Are biomass and ASHP RHI payments only for …

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How to choose an installer - October's reader tip of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 October 2012 at 11:15 am

How to choose an installer - October's reader tip of the month

Wise words on choosing an installer from Dax: "Beware the cold callers and their convenient ability to reduce the cost by a) working locally so can install at a reduced cost b) ringing the director when you continue to say 'NO' as there are commercial installations at business …

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Should the RHI aim to raise performance of renewable heat technologies?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 October 2012 at 8:58 am

Should the RHI aim to raise performance of renewable heat technologies?

If the renewable heat incentive (RHI) is to meet its stated goals of generating more energy from renewable sources and reducing carbon emissions, it is important that the installations subsidised by it are efficient and high performing. This requires good design and installation and owners who know …

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Proposals aim to make the energy market clearer and fairer

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2012 at 9:22 am

Proposals aim to make the energy market clearer and fairer

Simpler, clearer and fairer is how Ofgem describes its proposals to reform the energy market. It aims to put an end to the confusion of complex (impenetrably so in most cases) tariffs, thus making the market more competitive. Ofgem is proposing simplifying the market by limiting each supplier to…

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Solar power is most popular energy for the future

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 October 2012 at 3:30 pm

Solar power is most popular energy for the future

While the message from government seems to be focusing on a dash for gas and fracking, the public has just demonstrated that it's way ahead of government in its support for future powered by renewable energy. Results of a new poll from YouGov found that people would like to see more investment in so…

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DECC announces cashback scheme to incentivise energy saving improvements

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 October 2012 at 2:59 pm

DECC announces cashback scheme to incentivise energy saving improvements

Householders making energy saving improvements to their home will be able to claim up to half the cost back under a new cashback scheme. The government has put aside £125m to help kick start its flagship Green Deal scheme which will provide finance for energy efficiency measures from 28 January nex…

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Industry asked to support national solar campaign

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 October 2012 at 1:25 pm

Industry asked to support national solar campaign

Solar PV still offers attractive returns, yet domestic sales have slowed radically. I've heard many theories about why, and much hand wringing, but not much about solutions. Until now. I'm delighted to hear that the industry is launching a positive nationwide solar campaign to highlight the benefits…

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Loyalty card scheme aims to boost take up of energy saving measures

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 October 2012 at 9:14 am

Loyalty card scheme aims to boost take up of energy saving measures

Loyalty cards have been around for ages. Most airlines and supermarkets have them. But so far, they haven't played much of a part in the energy market. This is all set to change with the launch of the National Energy Card which will be piloted with solar PV, and is due to start in November this year…

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How to keep your solar panels clean

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 October 2012 at 9:01 am

How to keep your solar panels clean

We're often asked whether you should clean your solar panels so I was interested to see two very different methods of keeping them in tip top generating condition at the Solar Power UK exhibition last week. Anything that blocks the light transmission to your solar PV (or thermal) panels has t…

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Storage system for domestic solar electricity launched

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 October 2012 at 9:48 am

Storage system for domestic solar electricity launched

With a large discrepancy between the cost of buying and selling electricity, the owners of domestic solar PV systems are always asking how they can use more of it on site. So it was exciting to speak with the inventors of the first fully integrated storage system for domestic Solar PV at Solar Po…

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Conservation officer asks home owner to remove solar panels

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 October 2012 at 10:16 am

Conservation officer asks home owner to remove solar panels

Solar PV is a permitted development, however that doesn't stop problems with planning cropping up. Individual councils are left to interpret the rules as they see fit.  We have just heard of a recent example in Dacorum Borough Council in Hertfordshire. A YouGen reader had a 3kw system instal…

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Two energy companies raise their prices today

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 October 2012 at 4:08 pm

Two energy companies raise their prices today

British Gas announced today that electricity and gas prices would be increasing by 6% for their customers. Npower followed suit with a 8.8% hike for gas and 9.1% for electricity. The price increase comes at a time when there are already 6 million households in fuel poverty across the UK, sp…

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Solar panels make your house more attractive to buyers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 October 2012 at 6:52 pm

Solar panels make your house more attractive to buyers

Solar panels are one of the most desirable 'deal-sealers' for people buying a new house according to new research. Logic says that solar panels should add value to a property, especially as most installations currently come with 20 or more years of feed-in tariff income attached. However, research o…

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Why the RHI probably won't encourage domestic solar thermal installations

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 October 2012 at 12:12 pm

Why the RHI probably won't encourage domestic solar thermal installations

New announcements about the solar water heating calculation for domestic RHI render this blog no longer relevant. For the latest information click here. Unlike the feed-in tariff, the RHI (renewable heat incentive) is not designed to provide a specific rate of return. It is intended as a boil…

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Solar Power UK opens tomorrow!

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 October 2012 at 9:14 am

Solar Power UK opens tomorrow!

Don’t miss out on the UK’s largest solar dedicated event! Whether you are already involved or new to the solar sector, make sure you visit Solar Power UK and discover exactly what the hype is all about. Connecting you with over 180 of the world’s leading product and service suppliers, Sola…

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