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Support for microgenerators increased this month

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 20 April 2009 at 8:42 am

Support for microgenerators increased this month

Financial incentives for people generating electricity with photovoltaic solar panels (PV) are provided though the system of renewable obligations certificates, (commonly referred to as ROCs). All electricity providers have to buy these certificates each year, in proportion to the amount o…

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Renewable energy made normal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 April 2009 at 8:19 am

Renewable energy made normal

Congratulations to the Forestry Commission in Wales which is doing a great job of bringing renewable energy into the mainstream. We had a well-earned rest over Easter at Nant yr Arian, near Aberystwyth. Though our main reason for going there was the excellent mountain bike tracks they've built there…

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Ban power showers?

Posted by Barry Nutley on 11 April 2009 at 10:15 am

Ban power showers?

Banning power showers was the subject of a debate on Jeremy Vine's show on Radio 2 last Monday. It prompted many a response from listeners. The facts surrounding our lack of water in many parts of the UK are reasonably well documented (including on previously blog posts on this site), so the idea is…

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Every home a low-carbon home

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 April 2009 at 1:55 pm

Every home a low-carbon home

Friends of the Earth reacted to Gordon Brown's promise today that he would set out measures to make Britain a world leader in producing and exporting electric cars in this month's budget with calls for investment in renewable energy. "Gordon Brown's electric dream is commendable but essent…

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Insulation is king - part 2

Posted by Tim Pullen on 3 April 2009 at 8:20 am

Insulation is king - part 2

A question I am often asked at exhibition seminars is should cavity walls have cavity wall insulation. Almost invariably the answer is yes. The typical cavity is 50mm (2 inches) wide and 50mm of foam insulation will reduce the heat loss through the wall by around 75%. As 35 per cent of the total hea…

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Newsletter sign up

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 April 2009 at 3:21 pm

To receive our monthly newsletter for installers and other renewable energy professionals, please sign up here: Email: firstname: surname: companyname: …

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Inspiring people to act - or spying on them?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 April 2009 at 1:41 pm

Inspiring people to act - or spying on them?

I'm not sure if two councils makes a trend, but last week Exeter City Council and Broadland District Council both reported that they've been taking aerial pictures of homes their areas (of Devon and Norfolk respectively) with thermal imaging equipment. This allows them to see which homes and busines…

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Blueprint for feed-in tariffs proposed by industry

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 March 2009 at 11:58 am

Blueprint for feed-in tariffs proposed by industry

The renewable energy industry presented its proposals for how feed-in tariffs could best be introduced to energy minister Mike O’Brien last week. Last year’s Energy Act outlined plans for a feed-in tariff to pay microgenerators for the electricity and heat that they produce from April 2010. The …

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Will feed in tariffs deliver for us?

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 27 March 2009 at 7:38 am

Will feed in tariffs deliver for us?

I spent most of yesterday at a conference about feed in tariffs, the new incentive mechanism proposed for renewable energy technologies from next April (2010) to replace the existing grant regime. It was organised by the Renewable Energy Association (REA) It is encouraging to see the government …

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Calculators shed light on renewable choices

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 March 2009 at 11:16 am

Calculators shed light on renewable choices

Comparing costs of different renewable technologies and working out potential savings in cash and carbon has just got a whole lot easier. Encraft has developed a range of calculators that help you work out all the figures, so that you can see what's best for your house much more easily. Anyone can u…

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Building a new home?

Posted by Barry Nutley on 23 March 2009 at 8:57 am

Building a new home?

Houses are being built, even during these hard, economic times, in particular in the self-build market. These homes tend to be more bespoke, and often the client wants them to achieve higher standards of energy efficiency. So I have put together a brief summary of how rainwater harvesting can help. …

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Maldives to be powered by wind and solar

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 March 2009 at 10:35 am

Maldives to be powered by wind and solar

The President of the Maldives has set an example for the world by announcing that his country will be carbon-neutral within a decade. Half a square kilometre of rooftop solar panels, 155 large wind turbines and a biomass plant burning coconut husks will generate the electricity the island country ne…

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PV shipments grow as community grants dry up

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 18 March 2009 at 10:29 am

PV shipments grow as community grants dry up

Shipments of photovoltaic (PV) panels (solar electricity) are growing year on year at a rapid rate around the world. Much of this is driven by multi-MW PV farms or so called Solar Parks. These require large areas of land and are best suited to sunnier climes and places where land is more available. …

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Stupid, or not stupid?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 March 2009 at 9:20 am

Stupid, or not stupid?

I went to the premiere of The Age of Stupid on Sunday night. That's a first for me, having never been to a premiere before. But I didn't walk down the green carpet in Leicester Square - just a trip to Exeter Picture House - where we watched what was going on in London, before the simultaneous showin…

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Insulation is king

Posted by Tim Pullen on 13 March 2009 at 11:46 am

Insulation is king

Let’s be clear, the greatest environmental impact of a house is from the fossil fuels it burns for its energy. No amount of eco-certified, recycled bamboo flooring can compensate for the impact of a gas guzzling house. Conserving energy, minimising the energy needs of the house has to be the first…

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First wall-hung micro-CHP unit due this year

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 March 2009 at 10:58 am

First wall-hung micro-CHP unit due this year

With approval from British Gas under its belt, the Baxi Ecogen micro-CHP boiler will hit the domestic market later this year. It will be the first wall-hung combined heat and power unit available in the UK. Like the boiler that it is likely to replace, Ecogen will use gas to heat your water and …

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Biomass fuels and supply

Posted by Gordon Traill on 9 March 2009 at 10:10 am

Biomass fuels and supply

Biomass fuels encompass a wide variety of products but, not surprisingly, most come from wood. Clean wood is a wonderful fuel, producing up to 5.5kWh per kg dry matter (dm). Wood pellets produce slightly less, at 4.7 to 5kWh per kg. Most suppliers guarantee moisture content to be less than 10…

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Planning for solar panels

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 March 2009 at 11:59 am

Planning for solar panels

Living in a listed building or conservation area doesn't mean that you can't have solar panels, as Anne Robbins' experience shows. You may, however, need determination and energy, and money for an appeal, if you want to leap over all the planning hurdles. Anne lives in a conservation area in Gre…

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Bring back pelmets...

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 March 2009 at 8:26 am

Pelmets always struck me as a bit old hat; I associate them with big, bold patterns, rich fabrics, swags, tassels and stately homes. But maybe it’s time they were rebranded because pelmets are a key element in making your home more energy efficient. Especially if, like most of us, you haven’t go…

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Efficiency or cost per watt - which is most important?

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 2 March 2009 at 1:56 pm

The development of thin film photovoltaics (PV) is progressing fast. It's still not as efficient as crystalline silicone solar panels, but I have read of projects using thin film technologies from single roofs up to large “solar farms” with capacities in the region of 40 MW. Crystalline…

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