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Grants for Solar PV projects on community buildings

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 13 February 2009 at 9:22 am

Grants for Solar PV projects on community buildings

Grants are in the news again! The tranche of cash recently added to the Low Carbon Building Programme phase 2 looks likely to be exhausted towards the end of this month. If you have a community project that requires funding from this programme, my advice is to make sure that you get the application …

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Is bigger better?

Posted by Barry Nutley on 11 February 2009 at 9:38 am

Is bigger better?

Renewable energy can be a little confusing. For example, explaining to some people that doubling the size of a solar thermal system isn't necessarily a good thing, but doubling the size of a solar PV system is; doubling the size of a heat pump isn't a good idea, but doubling the size of a wind turbi…

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Living the green dream

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 February 2009 at 2:15 pm

Living the green dream

Comfort and beauty don’t have to go out of the window in pursuit of energy efficiency and low carbon living. It is possible to live in beautiful luxury, with barely a fossil fuel involved. Banish all thoughts of The Good Life, I know it’s true, I’ve just seen the evidence. R…

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Who makes wind turbines in the UK?

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 6 February 2009 at 11:55 am

Who makes wind turbines in the UK?

One of the nicer things about the wind industry, especially the small wind industry, is that there are still only a relatively small number of manufacturers and distributors in the UK, so you can get a good feel for the market quite quickly. In the sub 10kW range, the most successful companies a…

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Evacuated tubes: make sure you don’t get burnt

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 4 February 2009 at 8:34 am

Evacuated tubes: make sure you donât get burnt

Evacuated tube collectors are the Formula One of the solar thermal world. They are more efficient than other types of collector as they are almost perfectly insulated, and heat cannot pass through a vacuum. As the tubes are cylindrical, they are always perpendicular to the sun reducing the amount of…

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Good Energy rewards renewable heat generators

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 February 2009 at 10:42 am

Solar thermal panels to heat your water just got more attractive with the launch of Good Energy's renewable heat incentive, or HotROC, contract. This means that customers who generate heat or hot water from renewable sources are paid for the energy they create. This is a first step towards pu…

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How to store heat in a thermal store

Posted by Gordon Traill on 30 January 2009 at 11:48 am

How to store heat in a thermal store

Only a serious biomass nerd can get excited about thermal stores. Sadly, I count myself as one of those people. First of all what is a thermal store and what does it do? Essentially it’s a large water tank (usually round) which is well insulated with a series of bosses to connect pipes …

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Optimising solar pv siting

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 28 January 2009 at 8:34 am

Optimising solar pv siting

It’s obvious that solar PV systems need as much sunlight as possible – so the ideal is to position them at about 37 degrees to the horizontal (in the UK) and facing due South. Even better, if you can afford one, are tracker systems that ensure the modules follow the sun through the sky – altho…

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How much do you spend on heat and power?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 January 2009 at 10:42 am

How much do you spend on heat and power?

Gas and electricity bills gobble up a significant chunk of income for most of us, but do you know how much you're spending week to week? I didn't, until a few months ago, when I discovered imeasure. By just putting a weekly reading into the site, I can find out how much I spent last week on gas…

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It never rains, it pours

Posted by Barry Nutley on 22 January 2009 at 8:54 am

It never rains, it pours

Rainwater harvesting was the focus of my last blog. Today I want to get you thinking about water, and what it means for us in the UK. Keen gardeners and allotment owners, are well aware of the issues with water. While a good bit of rain is great, a torrid downpour isn't. As an allotmenteer …

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Microgeneration high among Tory proposals

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2009 at 9:07 am

Microgeneration high among Tory proposals

Large scale use of renewables are part of the Conservative party's plans for a low carbon economy published last week. With a feed-in tariff, they hope homes, businesses, schools and hospitals will contribute the electricity they produce into the national grid, earning money in the process. To m…

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Urban micro-wind doesn't work say new trials

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 19 January 2009 at 2:14 pm

Urban micro-wind doesn't work say new trials

Urban micro-wind doesn’t work in almost all urban contexts and has, on the whole, been poorly deployed and sold for the best part of the last three years. These are two of the objective facts set out in the report of the Encraft Warwick Wind Trials. On publishing the final report into urban m…

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Renewable energy grants still available

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2009 at 9:23 am

Renewable energy grants still available

Homeowners who want to install energy generating equipment such as solar panels, wind turbines or biomass boilers will be able to apply for grants until June 2010. It is anticipated that a feed-in tariff should be in place by then, which will incentivise homeowners and communities to invest in micro…

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Monbiot launches war on Agas

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 January 2009 at 10:34 am

Monbiot launches war on Agas

Agas are the antithesis of energy efficiency and renewable energy, so when I heard on the Today programme this morning that George Monbiot has launched a war on Agas in today's Guardian a lightbulb pinged on. Why didn't I use Agas as the ultimate example of the heart winning over head in yester…

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Bring some heart into renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 January 2009 at 4:31 pm

Bring some heart into renewable energy

I’m fascinated by the psychology of how we spend money. Is it our heads or our hearts that rule? While we probably like to think of ourselves as rational, logical human beings – and we even sometimes spend lots of time researching things to back up our beliefs – my feeling is that the he…

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Solar panels are flexible and easy

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 9 January 2009 at 8:35 am

Solar panels are flexible and easy

Solar PV (photovoltaic) is a great technology because it is so flexible and easy to manage. In most cases, once you have fitted it and connected to the grid you can forget about it, and watch your carbon emissions and energy costs fall and stay down for the next 25 years or so. One of the many p…

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Wind power: accessible yet frustrating

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 8 January 2009 at 1:57 pm

Wind power: accessible yet frustrating

Wind power is one of the most accessible and yet frustrating renewable technologies. It is accessible because it’s relatively easy to install, cheaper than many other renewables at small scale; you can buy it at any size from laptop to leviathan; it produces electricity – which is a very fl…

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Rainwater harvesting: isn't it just a large water butt?

Posted by Barry Nutley on 8 January 2009 at 11:40 am

Rainwater harvesting: isn't it just a large water butt?

For many people, the idea of collecting rainwater, doesn't seem as sexy as, say, solar, and I know from personal experience, it's not a conversation for a first date. But it is just as important as solar and other renewable energy technologies. For my first blog, rather than write an essay on ra…

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Microgeneration makes you feel good

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 January 2009 at 10:55 am

Microgeneration makes you feel good

What makes you feel good? For me, the sun is one of many things. When it pops it's head out on a cloudy day life just perks up. When it streams through my office window on a winter's afternoon, not only am I warmer, but I feel better, and I think I get more done. Watching it light up the hills as i…

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Low-carbon living = improved quality of life

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 January 2009 at 4:21 pm

Low-carbon living = improved quality of life

Part of the difficulty of encouraging people to invest in low-carbon living is the difficulty of imagining what it will be like. Too much of the media coverage paints a picture of deprivation and hair shirts, leaving us shivering at the thought, and tempted to stick our heads in the sand. Now a…

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