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Portugal runs entirely on renewable electricity for four days!

Posted by Alex Barrett on 23 May 2016 at 11:45 am

Portugal runs entirely on renewable electricity for four days!

May of 2016 has been a great month for renewable energy. For 107 hours last week all of Portugal’s electricity demand was met by renewable sources [1, 2]. This announcement comes just after the news that Germany met almost all of its electricity demand from renewables for a day, and that th…

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Can we develop solar panels that work at night?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 18 May 2016 at 11:55 am

Can we develop solar panels that work at night?

The main limitation of renewable energy technologies is their intermittency. At some times they produce more than enough energy to serve our needs, but this is very dependent on conditions of weather and light which are out of our control. These periods of intense energy production do not always …

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Zero Carbon Homes policy axed despite opposition from the Lords

Posted by Alex Barrett on 17 May 2016 at 11:05 am

Zero Carbon Homes policy axed despite opposition from the Lords

The government has succeeded in scrapping the Zero Carbon Homes policy, despite opposition in the House of Lords. Last week we reported on the attempt by the lords to reinstate some of the zero carbon homes measures in an amendment to the housing and planning bill. This sparked additional deb…

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Electricity from cheese via biogas

Posted by Alex Barrett on 13 May 2016 at 10:05 am

Electricity from cheese via biogas

A new power plant has recently opened in the Lake District, which will generate electricity from cheese. The installation has been built at the Lake District creamery, it will take waste material from cheese production, and use it to generate biogas through the process of anaerobic digestion. The…

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What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

Posted by Trish O'Flynn on 11 May 2016 at 3:05 pm

What are the financial pros and cons of a biomass boiler?

The environmental case for biomass is unquestionable - we can grow more of it, unlike oil, gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). But what about the cost of a biomass boiler? The price of installation, fuel and maintenance are important considerations when choosing a new boiler. In this v…

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Energiesprong aims to revolutionise retrofit in the UK

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 May 2016 at 12:40 pm

Energiesprong aims to revolutionise retrofit in the UK

Would you like your home transformed into a net-zero energy house, generating its own energy, all retrofit in less than a week and at no upfront cost to yourself? Well Energiesprong may become the answer to your prayers. What is Energiesprong?  Energysprong, meaning “energy lea…

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House of Lords moves to block bill scrapping Zero Carbon Homes

Posted by Alex Barrett on 9 May 2016 at 2:05 pm

House of Lords moves to block bill scrapping Zero Carbon Homes

In July of 2015 the government controversially scrapped planned building regulations that would have made all new houses “zero carbon” from 2016. Now there may be hope for zero carbon homes after all, as the House of Lords has moved to block the bill. The government set out to rel…

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Can we make wind turbines more sensitive to bats?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 4 May 2016 at 12:15 pm

Can we make wind turbines more sensitive to bats?

A well-known downside of wind turbines is that they pose a small risk to our airborne wildlife: birds and bats. Over the years, many voices have protested against turbine constructions because of this fear. We need to reduce our impact on the habitats of rare species. So should we avoid putting w…

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M&S fund to bring £350k to community energy projects - deadline 31 May 2016

Posted by Alex Barrett on 3 May 2016 at 12:10 pm

M&S fund to bring £350k to community energy projects - deadline 31 May 2016

The Marks and Spencer Community Energy Fund has reopened for a second year. This scheme is intended to fund community energy projects across the UK. £350,000 will be split between a variety of renewable energy projects in different regions of the UK. The fund is open to not for profit organ…

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Smart Power: Government to invest £50 Million in energy storage innovations over next 5 years

Posted by Alex Barrett on 28 April 2016 at 1:35 pm

Smart Power: Government to invest £50 Million in energy storage innovations over next 5 years

The National Infrastructure Commission has recently completed a study into the UK’s energy sector. The Smart Power report, published in March 2016 sets out a series of recommendations to replace aging UK infrastructure with “smart technologies” aimed at balancing supply and dema…

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Importing energy from Iceland: A key step towards a European Supergrid?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 27 April 2016 at 12:25 pm

Importing energy from Iceland: A key step towards a European Supergrid?

The amount of energy which the UK generates from renewable sources is growing. Government figures suggest that in 2015 renewable sources contributed 17.8 TWh, 23.5 % of total UK generation [1]. However there are some countries which are well ahead of the UK when it comes to producing renewable en…

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How can I calculate the electricity baseload of my home?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 April 2016 at 10:30 am

How can I calculate the electricity baseload of my home?

I know what you are thinking, ‘what’s the point’, but calculating your baseload is the first step to monitoring our energy use. It can also expose inaccuracies or inconsistencies in your use. For example, it isn’t unheard of for people to find that they are paying for…

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How green are solar panels?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 25 April 2016 at 12:05 pm

How green are solar panels?

Renewable energy is an important tool to build a more sustainable future, and solar power is central to our green energy arsenal. But can anything be truly green? What impacts do solar panels have on our environment? And what are the costs of manufacturing these devices? First things first, i…

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Solar impulse: Flying round the world using only renewable energy

Posted by Alex Barrett on 22 April 2016 at 8:10 pm

Solar impulse: Flying round the world using only renewable energy

An ambitious project is underway to test the limits of solar powered transportation. The aim of the Solar Impulse project is fairly straightforward: Circumnavigate the Earth in a plane powered only by solar power. Completing that goal has required an astounding feat of engineering. The Solar …

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Battery storage guidance for solar PV installers and sellers

Posted by Anna Carlini on 22 April 2016 at 12:45 pm

Battery storage guidance for solar PV installers and sellers

More and more installers are receiving interest in incorporating battery storage into packages with solar PV systems. Following the recent cuts to the solar PV Feed-in Tariff (FiT), the previously niche area of battery storage has become a popular option for consumers looking to use more of the p…

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National Audit Office concludes Green Deal was not value for money

Posted by Alex Barrett on 21 April 2016 at 11:40 am

National Audit Office concludes Green Deal was not value for money

The Green Deal was set up to encourage homeowners to install green technologies and energy saving measures. The scheme was launched by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in 2012 and provided loans to fund the installation of green measures. These were then paid off using the energy bills…

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Owners of new builds no longer need to wait to get the Renewable Heat Incentive

Posted by Alex Barrett on 20 April 2016 at 10:15 am

Owners of new builds no longer need to wait to get the Renewable Heat Incentive

One of the interesting changes to come out of the government’s recent amendments to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, is the change to occupancy regulations for new build properties. Previously it has been the case that any property that has not been occupied for 183 days durin…

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Is solar wallpaper on the way thanks to graphene nanotechnology?

Posted by Alex Barrett on 18 April 2016 at 10:20 am

Is solar wallpaper on the way thanks to graphene nanotechnology?

What if we could put solar panels everywhere in the form of solar wallpaper? At the moment installing solar photovoltaics (Solar PV) requires carefully positioning the solar panels to get as much sunlight as possible. Tracking systems can be set up so that the panels follow the path of the su…

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Al Gore: optimism in the face of climate change

Posted by Anna Carlini on 15 April 2016 at 4:45 pm

Al Gore: optimism in the face of climate change

Al Gore gives an uplifting and inspiring TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk to answer his own three questions:   Do we have to change in the face of climate change? Can we change? Will we change?  The former Vice President of the US and No…

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Government ends funding for agencies supporting clean coal and sustainable logging

Posted by Alex Barrett on 14 April 2016 at 3:30 pm

Government ends funding for agencies supporting clean coal and sustainable logging

New government spending cuts will impact two organisations working to promote sustainable logging, and the reduction on CO2 emissions from coal fired power stations. The current government has a bad track record on sustainability. They have removed support for onshore wind farms, reduced subsidie…

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Win a Tesla Powerwall battery from Empower Energy

Posted by Alex Barrett on 12 April 2016 at 9:30 am

Win a Tesla Powerwall battery from Empower Energy

Empower Energy, a UK based installer of Solar panels and YouGen member, is running a competition to win a Tesla Powerwall battery. The competition is open to people anywhere in the UK, but entrants do need to already have a Solar Photovoltaic (Solar PV) system installed on their property. The…

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Only one quarter of goods sold online have correct energy labels

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 April 2016 at 10:20 am

Only one quarter of goods sold online have correct energy labels

A recent study found that just one quarter of products sold and bought online in the UK had correct energy labels. One in five were not labelled at all. Therefore, despite a consumer’s best efforts, they may not be getting the deal they expect. Energy performance ratings are important i…

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Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive tariff rates and scheme came into effect on 1 April 2016

Posted by Alex Barrett on 8 April 2016 at 4:30 pm

Changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive tariff rates and scheme came into effect on 1 April 2016

A number of changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive have come into effect.  On 3 March the department of energy and climate change announced changes already made and launched a consultation to evaluate further changes to the scheme [1]. As of 1 April the first round of changes have come into…

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The architect's crystal ball: 2016 a year when wind turbines will be out and solar panels in!

Posted by Anna Carlini on 7 April 2016 at 2:15 pm

 The architect's crystal ball: 2016 a year when wind turbines will be out and solar panels in!

Sustainability is hot right now in the world of architecture and is expected to only increase in popularity. The RIBA Future Housing Design Trends survey gives architects' predictions for 2016 as well as comparing demand for various home features in 2015 with that of 5 years ago. It…

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Zero Carbon Hub closed down

Posted by Alex Barrett on 1 April 2016 at 12:30 pm

Zero Carbon Hub closed down

The Zero Carbon Hub has ceased operation as of the 31 March 2016. Industry funding for the organisation was withdrawn after the government decided to abandon targets on zero carbon housing last year. A statement from the zero carbon hub has now announced that the organisation has ceased opera…

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A message from the sun

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 1 April 2016 at 11:25 am

A message from the sun

Here at YouGen we are no stranger to recording our Solar PV data. Each day we like to record our daily kWp. Nothing stood out as unusual until we noticed the centre value of last month... Thinking that 6.66 was strangely close to 666 (aka the number of the beast), we decided to do a litt…

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Increase in VAT on energy saving products postponed

Posted by Alex Barrett on 31 March 2016 at 10:40 am

Increase in VAT on energy saving products postponed

Amendments to the 2016 budget have removed controversial increases in the rate at which a variety of energy saving measures including solar panel installation are taxed [1, 2]. A variety of energy saving measures have long benefited from lower rates of VAT, being taxed at five percent, rather…

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Battery storage for solar PV: Which battery to choose?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 30 March 2016 at 12:55 pm

Battery storage for solar PV: Which battery to choose?

Battery storage bolt-on options for existing renewable energy generation systems are now becoming the next 'must have' for people looking to either reduce their energy bills or increase their energy security at times of power cuts. I have been providing different types of battery syst…

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How do solar panels work?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 29 March 2016 at 10:30 am

How do solar panels work?

TED-Ed have uploaded a fantastic video explaining the science behind solar panels as part of a TED lesson on solar by Dr Richard Komp. The video explains how solar panels work, what their limitations are and how they can be improved in the future. Definitely one of the better explanations on how …

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'All that glisters is not gold' in the world of switching energy supplier

Posted by David Dean on 24 March 2016 at 12:05 pm

'All that glisters is not gold' in the world of switching energy supplier

Recently, my energy supplier contacted me to remind me that my contract was coming to an end. Rather helpfully, they clearly laid out the various alternatives that were available to me: • Sign up to the new, cheaper deal they were offering – providing me with a saving of £89 …

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Solar cemetery: a new form of green burial?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 23 March 2016 at 10:30 am

Solar cemetery: a new form of green burial?

Santa Coloma de Gramenet cemetery, just outside Barcelona in Spain, brings a new environmentally friendly option to the table. Having installed 462 solar panels on top of their mausoleums they generate enough electricity to power 60 homes. It has become a 'solar cemetery'. Usually whe…

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10 tips to help installers attract and retain customers, as report shows only half of RHI customers satisfied with their chosen installer

Posted by Anna Carlini on 22 March 2016 at 11:05 am

10 tips to help installers attract and retain customers, as report shows only half of RHI customers satisfied with their chosen installer

A recent report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) provides some useful tips for installers on attracting new customers and keeping them satisfied. DECC commissioned 46 in-depth phone interviews as part of the evaluation of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). The survey r…

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Is there hope for zero carbon homes in the UK? The House of Lords call for a reversal on policy scrapping

Posted by Anna Carlini on 18 March 2016 at 2:05 pm

Is there hope for zero carbon homes in the UK? The House of Lords call for a reversal on policy scrapping

We wrote last July on the government scrapping new regulations that would have meant all houses built from 2016 would need to be carbon neutral. The regulations were first announced in 2006 and were therefore scrapped in the ninth year of a ten-year plan. But now the House of Lords have thrown th…

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Hundreds of thousands of faulty energy meters in Britain, suggests report from Which?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 16 March 2016 at 2:05 pm

Hundreds of thousands of faulty energy meters in Britain, suggests report from Which?

A report by Which? magazine has found that potentially hundreds of thousands of energy meters throughout the UK may be malfunctioning. Both electricity meters and gas meters have been found to be faulty, leading to incorrect bills and over or undercharging. On average 24% of gas meters tested sin…

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Are solar tracking systems worth it?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 14 March 2016 at 2:30 pm

Are solar tracking systems worth it?

Solar tracking systems are devices that rotate solar panels towards the sun throughout the day or year. As solar panels generate more power when they face the sun directly this maximises solar capture and helps to minimise the space required to meet demand. The use of solar trackers is commonplac…

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Benchmark report finds retrofit SuperHomes use 40% less energy

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 March 2016 at 11:10 am

Benchmark report finds retrofit SuperHomes use 40% less energy

YouGen’s sister project SuperHomes has triumphed in a recent study which found that SuperHomes use less energy than the average UK house. The main objective of the SuperHomes project is to inspire reductions in carbon emissions: a carbon saving of 60% is a requirement for a house …

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DECC announces Renewable Heat Incentive changes and consultation

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 March 2016 at 12:30 pm

DECC announces Renewable Heat Incentive changes and consultation

On 3 March DECC announced changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive. These are detailed below. They also launched a consultation to underpin the changes, and to contribute to a second round of changes likely to come in later in the year. Changes now: Amending the regulation which requir…

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3 reasons why RHI payments for new solar thermal look set to be scrapped

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 7 March 2016 at 11:15 am

3 reasons why RHI payments for new solar thermal look set to be scrapped

DECC has just launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). One of the biggest changes is the intention to remove solar thermal from the scheme. The consultation which was launched on Thursday, needs responses by 27th April 2016. It has suggested a number …

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The final nail in the coffin for the Green Deal

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 4 March 2016 at 1:30 pm

The final nail in the coffin for the Green Deal

I know most people thought the Green Deal was dead and buried when the government announced in July 2015 that they wouldn’t provide any more support to the Green Deal Finance Company. But there was still some support for it within DECC and some legacy projects still required some Green Deal…

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TBC: How landlords will upgrade homes to EPC band E without upfront costs, now Green Deal finance is off the table...

Posted by Anna Carlini on 3 March 2016 at 12:40 pm

TBC: How landlords will upgrade homes to EPC band E without upfront costs, now Green Deal finance is off the table...

The number of people renting in the UK is soaring each year, a figure which the UK charity "Shelter" says has currently reached 9 million people.[1] The number is increasing so rapidly it is thought that by 2025 more than half of under 40 year olds will be living in properties owned by …

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How do you clean solar panels?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 29 February 2016 at 10:05 am

How do you clean solar panels?

Whether or not you need to clean your solar panels sparks something of a debate between owners of solar panels. Most roof-mounted systems are self-cleaning as rain-water washes away the majority of the dirt that gathers on the surface. If you’re considering using commercial cleaning service…

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French solar road aims to supply electricity to 5 million people whilst stretching over 1000km

Posted by Anna Carlini on 24 February 2016 at 10:15 am

French solar road aims to supply electricity to 5 million people whilst stretching over 1000km

Work to build the world's largest solar panelled road has started in France. The plan is for the road to stretch over 1000km, supplying electricity to 5 million people or 8% of the population. The solar road will be laid with flexible Wattway PV panels which add a tiled effect. The road i…

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Early energy supplier 'smart' meters incompatible with solar PV?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 23 February 2016 at 10:15 am

Early energy supplier 'smart' meters incompatible with solar PV?

We recently had a question about smart meter compatibility with PV installs and whether this may affect the 50% export deeming. Smart meters not compatible with self-generation seemed a little bit crazy to me, so I wanted to investigate a little bit more. At the end of 2015 overall PV cap…

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Solar PV and smart meters: are they compatible?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 22 February 2016 at 11:55 am

Solar PV and smart meters: are they compatible?

Q: I had PV solar fitted in September 2014, my electric and gas supplier has offered to install smart meters. I'm confused if this will be compatible between my normal electric usage & PV? Also the rule is that I get a unit price for every unit produced by PV through feed-in-tariff and I …

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Where did green energy tariffs go?

Posted by Anna Carlini on 19 February 2016 at 11:05 am

Where did green energy tariffs go?

The Big Six energy providers have been getting in a bit of trouble recently with their slow (and limited) response to the plummeting price of wholesale gas. Their failure to pass on savings has attracted criticism from consumers and MPs alike. But, amid all the anger and commotion, more than just…

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Three feed-in tariff caps exceeded within one day

Posted by Anna Carlini on 17 February 2016 at 9:30 am

Three feed-in tariff caps exceeded within one day

Three capacity caps were reached on the first day that new applications for the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) were assessed. The new caps, which came into force 8 February, limit the number of installations eligible to receive the given FiT rate in each quarter. If the maximum is reached, unsuccessful app…

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LED lighting: should I make the change?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 February 2016 at 2:30 pm

LED lighting: should I make the change?

Firstly ask yourself what bulbs you use at home. It really is worth looking at your current lighting needs and then seeing whether you can replace your existing bulbs with LED alternatives (and when I say ‘whether you can’ I mean ‘I know you can’ – my friend has even…

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Is weather compensation worth it?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 12 February 2016 at 11:05 am

Is weather compensation worth it?

The weather is the biggest factor in determining how much energy will be required to heat your home. The colder the weather outside, the more energy required to heat your building. The weather outside is constantly changing meaning that equal heat demand changes occur in your home. Establishing h…

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Be a climate change hero: Scottish government launch energy saving ad campaign

Posted by Anna Carlini on 11 February 2016 at 10:15 am

Be a climate change hero: Scottish government launch energy saving ad campaign

A new ad campaign launched by the Scottish government has a bold motive: saving the world. The campaign encourages the nation to be superheroes in their everyday lives by making small changes to prevent climate change. The ads promote turning down the thermostat by one degree, washing clothes at …

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Roses are red, but holidays can be green

Posted by Anna Carlini on 10 February 2016 at 11:20 am

Roses are red, but holidays can be green

Are you craving a little time alone with your partner this Valentine's day? If you are looking for a trip which doesn’t break the bank or the environment, why not think about going on a green getaway? "Green travelling" or "Eco-tourism" is a globally growing tren…

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