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View blog posts for category: Solar electricity

Find out how well solar PV works in bad weather

Posted by Chris Jardine on 19 March 2013 at 9:11 am

Find out how well solar PV works in bad weather

Snow in March? Last summer was dreadful, and seemed to rain constantly. Seems like we’ve had bad weather for ages now, and a period of prolonged sunshine seems eons ago.  So we might expect the performance of solar PV systems to be equally poor over the same period of time.  But j…

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The shock of the new: a poet's response to a solar field

Posted by Chloe Uden on 18 March 2013 at 9:27 am

The shock of the new: a poet's response to a solar field

Those of us who think renewables are a good idea are usually really keen that everybody else would share our views, and often disappointed when they don’t for whatever reason. It can be tempting to think that if only we were more logical, or more convincing, or more impervious to detractors…

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Renewable technologies work together at Devon vineyard

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 11 March 2013 at 10:50 am

Renewable technologies work together at Devon vineyard

Different renewables technologies can complement each other when used in tandem, as Pebblebed Vineyard’s Clyst St. George Vineyard in Devon shows. A solar thermal system became the farm's newest renewable energy installation in November 2011, adding to solar PV and a…

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Readers tips of the month disagree about solar switching devices

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 28 February 2013 at 9:02 am

Readers tips of the month disagree about solar switching devices

This month, our readers have given some conflicting tips about solar heater switching devices. Ted from Cornwall installed an Immersun system to route surplus power from the solar panels into the immersion on the cylinder. He is happy and says ‘even in February the panels are…

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Don't limit your solar PV system to 4kWp

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 27 February 2013 at 9:37 am

Don't limit your solar PV system to 4kWp

During a typical week at SunGift Solar I can visit a huge range of people. From young professional couples eager to gain an additional income from the feed-in-tariff, through middle aged families looking for security against increasing electricity costs, to Eco-warrior pensioners who want to save…

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The business significance of the Government's solar step change

Posted by Phil Nelms on 14 February 2013 at 8:34 am

The business significance of the Government's solar step change

The addition of Solar PV to the government’s Renewables Roadmap is highly significant. After a year dominated by cuts, consultations and legal challenges in the solar industry, as well as rising fossil fuel prices for everyone else, that there has been an attitude shift within the corridors…

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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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NIROC: the financial incentive for solar PV in Northern Ireland explained

Posted by Andy Baird on 4 February 2013 at 9:07 am

NIROC: the financial incentive for solar PV in Northern Ireland explained

Since 2002, solar PV has been installed in Northern Ireland across schools, colleges, local council buildings and hundreds of social and private homes.  Although Northern Ireland doesn’t have FiTs (Feed In Tariffs), there are still three ways you will save money and make money by going…

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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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Is Solar PV a fire hazard?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 7 January 2013 at 9:50 am

Is Solar PV a fire hazard?

Q: Are you aware of Times article and web site pvsolardoctor.com which claims PV panels are a fire risk if water enters the wiring system? A: This question has resulted in a lot of research and investigation and the answer is, unfortunately, a bit involved. Generating your own electricity…

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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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Review of Amelec Intelligent Solar Switch

Posted by Chris Rudge on 17 December 2012 at 9:27 am

Review of Amelec Intelligent Solar Switch

For the cost, this looks to be really good value. The Amelec Eco2 Solar Switch is housed in a standard electrical housing such as used for consumer units and the like. As can be seen from the photo, it also has a standard DIN rail for fitting your selection of MCB/ RCD depending on application …

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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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Review of IntellyGreen PV Kit: intelligent solar power monitoring

Posted by Chris Rudge on 30 November 2012 at 11:16 am

Review of IntellyGreen PV Kit: intelligent solar power monitoring

The IntellyGreen PV kit setup is not just a power saving device to send excess power to an immersion heater or similar, but has a comprehensive large LCD display to provide information on your power usage too. The complete set I tested comprised of a radio transmitter unit to be installed n…

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Review of ImmerSUN: using solar electricity to heat water

Posted by Chris Rudge on 27 November 2012 at 9:28 am

Review of ImmerSUN: using solar electricity to heat water

This relevant newcomer to the market of power optimisation of solar PV systems seems to have taken off in a big way due to facilities, design and marketing. Certainly this little unit is well packaged and documented.  Unlike most of the other PV power optimisation units currently on the …

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The benefits of using solar PV energy to power your immersion

Posted by Nick Mills on 26 November 2012 at 10:27 am

The benefits of using solar PV energy to power your immersion

We all hate the though of giving something away for nothing, and, although we get paid to generated solar electricity, and get an additional nominal sum for exporting the surplus, do you ever dream of getting a little bit more from your solar PV system? There are now a few systems on the mark…

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Voltage spikes cause drops in solar PV performance

Posted by Rob Palgrave on 12 November 2012 at 10:36 am

Voltage spikes cause drops in solar PV performance

A members of my local Friends of the Earth group installed solar PV on her roof at the  start of the year. This is in Surrey. The generated energy is much lower than  expected, and the installer has not been able to resolve the issue so far.  Suspicion falls on the compatibility of…

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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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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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