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View blog posts for category: Solar heat & hot water

Finance is available for businesses to install renewable heat

Posted by Mark Henderson on 28 June 2012 at 10:31 am

Finance is available for businesses to install renewable heat

Finance for the up-front costs of installing renewable heat technologies is now available for businesses and other organisations thanks to a new collaboration between The Carbon Trust and Siemens. The Energy Efficiency Financing (EEF) scheme offers low-cost leases, loans and other financing opti…

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Solar thermal and other renewable technologies: what our readers say

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 June 2012 at 12:05 pm

Solar thermal and other renewable technologies: what our readers say

This month the stories from readers that I like best all talk about solar thermal in some way or another. During the feed-in tariff frenzy it somehow became the poor relation to solar PV, whereas before FiTs it was the better seller. What comes over loud and clear below is that once you've got solar…

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Eco guest house is first business in Wales to benefit from RHI

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 June 2012 at 10:17 am

Eco guest house is first business in Wales to benefit from RHI

A biomass boiler, solar PV and solar thermal are all the result of a Welsh guest house's belief that you should be able to enjoy a holiday without damaging the environment. Installation of the boiler means the guest house has become the first business in Wales to benefit from the Renewable Heat Ince…

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Does solar hot water work with a combi-boiler?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 8 June 2012 at 9:05 am

Does solar hot water work with a combi-boiler?

Q: We are about to install a new combi boiler. We also want to install a solar water and CH system. Would like to use an unvented solar store with heat exchanger coil to CH flow on combi (with temperature controlled diverter valve) and the mains pressure cold feed through a heat exchanger in solar s…

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Readers' renewable energy tips of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 May 2012 at 12:02 pm

Readers' renewable energy tips of the month

We love reading your stories and tips of what works (and doesn't work) for you. Here are this month's favourites: Where you site your air source heat pump is important, as this succinct message from Lizlaw confirms: "Our heat pump warms the house and water consistently, reliably and saves us m…

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RHI makes some commercial solar hot water systems very attractive

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 21 May 2012 at 9:39 am

RHI makes some commercial solar hot water systems very attractive

Solar thermal was by far the most cost effective renewable energy technology on the market a few years ago. Since the government support schemes have been introduced, first for renewable electricity generating systems via the feed-in tariff and now through the renewable heat incentive (RHI) for non-…

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Renewable Heat Premium Payments scheme is extended; RHI delayed

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 March 2012 at 10:35 am

Renewable Heat Premium Payments scheme is extended; RHI delayed

The domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) remains elusive, as the government announced a second phase of the renewable heat premium payments (RHPP) scheme yesterday. The domestic RHI, which will reward people who switch to renewable sources of heat with regular payments for and anticipated …

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Can I use a compressor to boost my solar hot water?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 22 March 2012 at 12:44 pm

Can I use a compressor to boost my solar hot water?

Q. I’ve been looking at different websites about solar hot water and you all basically say the same thing, “a supplementary heat source will be needed at some point”. Has anyone thought of using a small compressor in between the collector(s) and the hot water tank to heat the transfer fluid to…

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Solar hot water and the missing washing machine

Posted by Alister Scott on 9 March 2012 at 10:20 am

Solar hot water and the missing washing machine

Ten years ago we installed solar hot water heating. It's been great, particularly as energy prices have gone up.  When we did it, I had one professor of environmental policy (who shall remain nameless) look down his nose at me and say "but surely it'll never be economic?" That was te…

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Readers tips of the month - biomass and solar

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 February 2012 at 12:39 pm

Readers tips of the month - biomass and solar

This month's first tip comes from Lewis, a retired university lecturer who is still active as a runner, orienteer, and log collector. He has installed a wood burning stove for hot water and three radiators (gravity circulation). He self-installed solar hot water in 2010 (which means he won't be e…

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Solar hot water: readers' tip of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2011 at 2:34 pm

Solar hot water: readers' tip of the month

My wife and I have been considering installing some form of renewable energy for several years. With teenagers in the house, a boiler and hot water tank that needed replacing we opted to install a solar heated hot water system. Since the installation of a 30 tube collector and a 300 litre dual co…

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Solar is not just about the feed-in tariffs

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 9 December 2011 at 9:57 am

Solar is not just about the feed-in tariffs

There has been much talk and debate about solar panels recently; most of it about solar PV and the Feed-in Tariffs (FIT). However, there is another game in town and it is potentially far larger than solar PV. Space and water heating in buildings accounts for nearly 70% of the energy consumed by the…

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Solar Thermal - a guide to life expectancy and maintenance

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 7 November 2011 at 4:15 am

Solar Thermal - a guide to life expectancy and maintenance

The UK will see a huge increase in solar hot water (solar thermal) installations, with the recent announcement on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). When you’re investing in a new technology, you want to be sure that it’s going to be reliable and not over-costly in terms of maintenance and repa…

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Five key ways to get the best from your solar hot water system

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 October 2011 at 1:17 am

Five key ways to get the best from your solar hot water system

Solar hot water systems work best when the user takes control of them, yet only 36 per cent of the householders taking part in the Energy Saving Trust's solar hot water field trial said that their installer gave them information on how they might make best use of their system.   When they di…

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User control is vital for best performing solar water heating

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 October 2011 at 3:23 am

User control is vital for best performing solar water heating

The way householders use their solar thermal system is critical to getting the best results from solar water heating systems, according to new research. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is calling on installers to give better advice to users on how to control their solar water heating: in terms of volu…

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Is my solar thermal system safe while I'm away on holiday?

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 10 October 2011 at 9:37 am

Is my solar thermal system safe while I'm away on holiday?

Q: I’m going away for two months. Is there anything I should do to my solar thermal system while the house is empty?  A: It’s always important to look at the relevant part in your solar thermal user manual, but the most important advice is to leave your system turned on. It has been des…

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REAL's top tips to avoid being ripped off by solar cowboys

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 October 2011 at 8:36 am

REAL's top tips to avoid being ripped off by solar cowboys

The REAL Assurance Scheme* has received a surge of complaints about solar PV installers, leading it to assert that rogue traders are taking advantage of the expanding solar panel market to make a killing before the Government adjusts the Feed-In Tariff in the spring. While they haven't yet specifi…

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Can solar panels improve the efficiency of your ground source heat pump?

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 3 October 2011 at 5:05 am

Can solar panels improve the efficiency of your ground source heat pump?

There is a growing interest in using solar panels to deposit heat within the ground during the summer periods and then using a ground source heat pump to extract this deposited heat during the winter. These systems are commonly called inter-seasonal storage systems and can usually be classed as:- …

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Renewable Heat Premium Payment rates confirmed - but are they enough to kickstart renewable heat?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 July 2011 at 11:22 am

Renewable Heat Premium Payment rates confirmed - but are they enough to kickstart renewable heat?

Capital grants to help with the cost of installing renewable heat technologies will be available from 1 August. Any householder in England, Scotland or Wales can apply for the £300 renewable heat premium payment for solar thermal panels. However, payments for biomass boilers (£950), air sou…

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Renewable energy may be included in the Green Deal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 June 2011 at 9:08 am

Renewable energy may be included in the Green Deal

The Government's announcement last week on measures being considered for inclusion in the Green Deal, and its thinking on consumer protection, went some way to allay criticisms of the scheme. The Green Deal is expected to offer loans of up to £10,000 over a period of up to 25 years. To qualify f…

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