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View blog posts for category: General

Details of the domestic renewable heat incentive finally announced

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 July 2013 at 10:25 am

After several delays, the details of the renewable heat incentive, originally announced in July 2010 have finally been announced. Its aim is to encourage the uptake of renewable heat technologies to cut carbon, help meet the renewables targets and to save money on energy bills. Who can apply …

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Electric vehicles can save businesses money

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 July 2013 at 9:09 am

Electric vehicles can save businesses money

The UK ranks 15th in Europe for uptake of electric vehicles, despite attractive financial benefits for companies, according to a recent report by the IPPR. France and Norway have bought the highest proportion of electric vehicles. The report reveals that businesses can save £3,755 over …

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How to get started with the green deal: my experience

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 June 2013 at 11:37 am

How to get started with the green deal: my experience

The Green Deal is the government's scheme to encourage people to increase the energy efficiency of their homes, by taking away the barrier of upfront cost. While the government is keen to meet carbon emissions targets, the benefits for the rest of us are also warmer homes, and lower energy bi…

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Win a copy of Old House Eco Handbook (worth £30)

Posted by Gilly Jones on 19 June 2013 at 9:10 am

Win a copy of Old House Eco Handbook (worth £30)

YouGen is giving away a copy of the brilliant Old House Eco Handbook worth £30. To thank you for Liking our Facebook page before the end July 2013, we will enter you in the draw to win. This guide, which is published in association with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Building…

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What happens to the feed-in tariff if I switch energy suppliers?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 June 2013 at 2:56 pm

What happens to the feed-in tariff if I switch energy suppliers?

Q: I'd like to look for a different energy provider (my current one, nPower isn't paying its tax!). However, I don't want to lose my feed-in tariff (FIT) payments. Can I reapply for them with my new supplier and is it a complicated procedure? Or will my old supplier keep paying the FI…

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Small energy companies reluctant to offer Green Deal finance

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 8 May 2013 at 9:12 am

Small energy companies reluctant to offer Green Deal finance

If you are with a smaller energy supplier, you may have to switch companies in order to get Green Deal finance through your bill. Some smaller suppliers are signed up, but some are strongly against the Green Deal, while others are waiting to see how it goes before taking part. So which compan…

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DECC explains how green deal and feed-in tariffs work together

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 April 2013 at 12:09 pm

DECC explains how green deal and feed-in tariffs work together

You can use Green Deal finance to help meet the costs of installing solar PV, wind or even microCHP* on your property and receive the Feed In Tariff (FIT) as well. Hydro generation and anaerobic digestion receive FIT but are not eligible for Green Deal finance. The amount you can finance thro…

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When will I get renewable heat incentive (RHI) payments?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 April 2013 at 9:17 am

When will I get renewable heat incentive (RHI) payments?

A: As RHI (renewable heat incentive) payments have been delayed again till Spring 2014, do we have to wait till then to get our payment? So there will be no payment in 2013 then? Q: If you are what the government describes as a 'legacy' applicant, which means someone who has installed…

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Infrared panel heating: your questions answered

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 19 April 2013 at 9:30 am

Infrared panel heating: your questions answered

What are infrared panels?  Infrared panels emit a very high ratio of heat as radiant heat. This heats objects directly, rather than warming the air (which is what convection heat does). Other examples of high-radiant heaters include portable halogen heaters, infrared outdoor patio heatin…

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REAL Code becomes Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 April 2013 at 9:21 am

REAL Code becomes Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

The consumer code for the domestic renewable energy sector has changed its name from the ‘REAL Consumer Code’ to the ‘Renewable Energy Consumer Code’ (RECC). The new name better describes the nature and purpose of the Code, and better reflects the fact that the Code is jus…

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And the winner is .....

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 16 April 2013 at 9:30 am

And the winner is .....

YouGen's energy saving and renewables photo competition has ended, and with a great selection of submissions from across the country. We had photos of DIY, wood-burning stoves, solar panels and windmills. Some of the photos were funny, and some artistic, but they all inspired energy effi…

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Fear and cost are the main barriers to investment in renewable energy

Posted by Jennifer Arran on 11 April 2013 at 9:48 am

Fear and cost are the main barriers to investment in renewable energy

Awareness of microgeneration has increased since last year, but fear has become a much stronger barrier to uptake according to our new research. Our Microgen Insight Service team held focus groups of owner occumpiers last month as part of our ongoing research programme. Some customers said fe…

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Why people choose their renewable energy installer (infographic)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 April 2013 at 8:10 am

  Customers are looking for installers who are: Knowledgeable about the product Provide information about the products and the installation Are good value for money Seem experienced at installing Seem friendly when discussing the quote / install …

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Radiator reflectors and boosters can keep you warmer

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 5 April 2013 at 4:21 pm

Radiator reflectors and boosters can keep you warmer

More efficient heating doesn’t always have to come with a big investment, as these two simple devices for your radiators show.  Radiator reflectors* work by reflecting the heat emitted from the back side of the radiator toward the wall back into the room. Depending on your circumst…

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A bad week for renewable energy

Posted by Stewart Boyle on 3 April 2013 at 3:54 pm

A bad week for renewable energy

Last week was a bad week for renewable heat, and biomass especially. The announcement that there would be a significant further delay to the introduction of the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI-2) scheme finally came. With RHI payments due to start no earlier than Spring 2014, this will mak…

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One way to find out where your home leaks heat and stay warm

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 28 March 2013 at 9:17 am

One way to find out where your home leaks heat and stay warm

Heat loss is one of the main causes of higher than necessary energy bills in the UK. In a survey NASA did of its buildings, 50% of heat loss was attributed to 5% of the surface area, what they referred to as like a prick in a balloon - all of the heat will eventually leave from even the smallest …

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Feed-in tariff increases by RPI from 1 April 2013

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 March 2013 at 9:08 am

Feed-in tariff increases by RPI from 1 April 2013

Most existing recipients of the feed-in tariff and the renewable heat incentive will receive an  increase in their tariff rates in line with the retail price index from 1 April 2013. However, for some recent recipients of the feed-in tariff of solar PV the first RPI increase will not happen …

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Enthusiasm and a warm welcome at Renewable Energy Marketplace

Posted by Alison Griffiths on 19 March 2013 at 9:02 am

Enthusiasm and a warm welcome at Renewable Energy Marketplace

Walking around the Renewable Energy Marketplace at Westpoint in 2012 I was struck by the sheer energy and enthusiasm of the exhibitors. As a business writer covering a myriad of subjects I have visited many shows and almost without fail the exhibitors tend to be a mix of the enthusiastic, the &qu…

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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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Which energy saving measures qualify for lower VAT rates?

Posted by Colin Lothian on 1 March 2013 at 9:12 am

Which energy saving measures qualify for lower VAT rates?

Q. I have had an air pump system installed by Ice Energy, very helpful and efficient company. However, to meet the radiator specifications I had to change all my radiators for larger ones. Ice Energy do not supply radiators so I had to buy locally. This did not qualify for the reduced VAT for ene…

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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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How renewable energy installers can deliver better service (infographic)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 February 2013 at 10:39 am

  After warranties, an instruction booklet is the most important feature of after sales service that you can offer microgeneration customers according to research by Delta Energy and Environment. This offers installers a great opportunity to shine and to differentiate themselves fro…

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Get YouGen discounts for the South West's biggest renewables and energy efficiency event

Posted by NicoleYouGen on 18 February 2013 at 2:37 pm

Get YouGen discounts for the South West's biggest renewables and energy efficiency event

The Renewable Energy Marketplace (REM) is the Southwest's biggest energy event covering renewables, energy efficiency and generation. It returns to Westpoint, Exeter on 19 March 2013. Whether you're a homeowner considering a solar installation, a business owner looking to cut energy …

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Green Deal finance will work with FITs and RHI

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 February 2013 at 9:59 am

Green Deal finance will work with FITs and RHI

Mixed messages have been circulating about how - or whether - Green Deal will work with the government's financial incentives for renewable heat and electricity generation. Last week the Department of Energy and Climate Change confirmed in a letter to installers that householders can claim a …

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Wise up when buying solar, double glazing and insulation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 February 2013 at 9:22 am

Wise up when buying solar, double glazing and insulation

Last month the Office of Fair Trading announced that it has written to 50 leading businesses in the energy efficiency sector asking them to ensure they are providing consistently good standards to consumers. This is because the watchdog is concerned about pressure sales techniques, unclear inform…

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Has EDF had a change of heart on feed-in tariff administration?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2013 at 9:04 am

Has EDF had a change of heart on feed-in tariff administration?

Edit: Please see below for updated information about this blog post Feed-in tariff (FIT) applications close the deadline for a rate change have always been a worrying time. Will the system be registered on time? Will you get the expected higher rate? With most companies it's just a matter…

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15 more measures added to Green Deal as launch date looms

Posted by Pete Roberts on 17 January 2013 at 9:56 am

The long awaited and much heralded Green Deal is fast approaching. The soft launch of the Green Deal took place on 1 October 2012 and the first Green Deal finance plans will be signed on 28 January 2013. Over the past few months, installers, advisors, advisory services and providers have bee…

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Solar Power UK takes to the road again - coming soon to a place near you!

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2013 at 9:25 am

Solar Power UK takes to the road again - coming soon to a place near you!

How to improve the way you sell and promote your solar business will be the focus of this year's Solar Power UK Roadshows. In February, the series of seven, half-day events will take place in locations across the UK. I am delighted to have been invited to join the speaker panel again this yea…

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Planning permission not needed for (most) external solid wall insulation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 January 2013 at 9:04 am

Planning permission not needed for (most) external solid wall insulation

In a welcome bit of joined-up government thinking, the departments of energy and climate change and of communities and local government have clarified that the installation of external solid wall insulation constitutes an 'improvement' to a house rather than an 'enlargement' or &#…

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Over 70% of E.on customers have problems getting FIT payments

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 December 2012 at 9:10 am

Over 70% of E.on customers have problems getting FIT payments

Earlier this year we found E.on had more disgruntled feed-in tariff customers than any other energy company. New research by Which?, with a bigger sample of 1,700 respondents, has come to the same conclusion. More than a third of their members had problems with their FIT supplier, and of thos…

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Ban deal on the day: open letter to Greg Barker MP and Jo Swinson MP

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 2:16 pm

Ban deal on the day: open letter to Greg Barker MP and Jo Swinson MP

An open letter from Mike Stephenson, H2Eco  to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Jo Swinson MP, and the Energy Minister, Greg Barker MP and the wider Renewable Energy Installation industry. Help reduce pressure selling in the home by banning ‘deal on the day.’ I would …

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Seven top tips for selling renewable heat technologies in the domestic market

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 12:23 pm

Seven top tips for selling renewable heat technologies in the domestic market

A lot of work is needed to raise awareness among the British public of renewable heat technologies such as solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass boilers according to research by Delta Energy and Environment. Speaking at Renewable Energy Installer's business strategy conference in November…

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Will the domestic RHI incentivise installers to invest in training?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 10:14 am

Will the domestic RHI incentivise installers to invest in training?

Renewable heat zones led by local authorities would provide the incentives necessary for heating engineers to invest in training and skills for renewable heat installation, according to Kelly Butler of BEAMA. Speaking at the Westminster Forum on Progress of the RHI last month, Butler pointed …

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What is the most profitable best kept secret in renewable energy?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 December 2012 at 12:17 pm

What is the most profitable best kept secret in renewable energy?

Developing a sustainable business in a field as dominated by politics as renewable energy is a hazardous undertaking. So how do you pick the route to the most stable market? Ask what the strategic policy drivers are, is the advice of Erich Scherer, an assistant director in the renewable energ…

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Have you been subject to pressure sales for solar?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 December 2012 at 2:30 pm

Have you been subject to pressure sales for solar?

A small minority of renewable energy companies are ignoring the rules on selling set down in the REAL Assurance consumer code, to which all MCS accredited installers must adhere.  This is the relevant section of the code: Sales employees and representatives, whether employed  di…

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Join our campaign to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 4:20 pm

Join our campaign to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

If you don't like being pressured to buy in your own home, then support our campaign to to stop renewable energy companies being able to sign up customers on the day of a sales visit. These are substantial investments which are not suitable for a 'deal on the day sale', and most reput…

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Why we are calling on ministers to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 4:16 pm

Why we are calling on ministers to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

There are occasions when signing a contract on the day with the first sales person you come into contact with is a good idea, but they are few and far between. An example might be when your boiler has broken down, and the plumber you know and trust comes to replace it. However, when a company has…

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YouGen wins WWF Green Game-Changer award

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 November 2012 at 2:16 pm

YouGen wins WWF Green Game-Changer award

YouGen was announced the winner of the WWF Green Game Changer Award in the International Green Awards 2012 last week in a glitzy presentation at Battersea Power Station. The Green Game-Changer category was new this year in a tie up with WWF-UK. It was looking for innovations in products, serv…

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A 100% renewable future: Yes we can

Posted by James Page on 23 November 2012 at 8:43 am

A 100% renewable future: Yes we can

So President Obama gets a second shot at cutting carbon. It will be a tough call, but he should remember that some of the leading renewables manufacturers are from the USA, and the export potential is huge. At least three other leading economies have their work cut out keeping the lights on, neve…

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Government's new energy efficiency strategy is flawed

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 November 2012 at 10:31 am

Government's new energy efficiency strategy is flawed

The Government published its new Energy Efficiency Strategy earlier this week, setting out its ambition to save up to 22 power stations-worth of energy by 2020.  The Strategy is aimed at saving energy in housing, transport and manufacturing.  New energy saving initiatives announced toda…

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Consumer protection in the Green Deal 1: the oversight body

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 20 November 2012 at 8:59 am

This is part one of a series of blogs introducing the key aspects of consumer protection in the Green Deal, including: The role of GD-ORB - the oversight and registration body – the Green Deal Code of Practice and Green Deal Mark; Green Deal finance, the Golden rule, …

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Will customer awareness of the domestic RHI be great enough?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 November 2012 at 9:16 am

Will customer awareness of the domestic RHI be great enough?

Government needs to take action to ensure customer awareness of the renewable heat incentive (RHI), said Peter Connor, senior lecturer in renewable energy policy at the University of Exeter. He was speaking at the Westminster Forum seminar on delivering the RHI earlier this week. This was somethi…

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Metering is biggest challenge to RHI

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2012 at 3:09 pm

Metering is biggest challenge to RHI

The biggest challenges in the RHI are around metering, according to Lindsay Goater, senior manager, RHI generation at Ofgem. Speaking at the Westminster Forum seminar, Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive, earlier this week he said that the main problem is meters not installing them to the man…

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Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive - speech to Westminster Forum

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2012 at 9:44 am

Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive - speech to Westminster Forum

This is my speech to the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum seminar on Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive: controlling costs suppporting new technologies and moving towards the domestic roll out on Tuesday 13 November 2012. YouGen is a information website for home and sm…

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How to choose an installer - October's reader tip of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 October 2012 at 11:15 am

How to choose an installer - October's reader tip of the month

Wise words on choosing an installer from Dax: "Beware the cold callers and their convenient ability to reduce the cost by a) working locally so can install at a reduced cost b) ringing the director when you continue to say 'NO' as there are commercial installations at business …

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Should the RHI aim to raise performance of renewable heat technologies?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 October 2012 at 8:58 am

Should the RHI aim to raise performance of renewable heat technologies?

If the renewable heat incentive (RHI) is to meet its stated goals of generating more energy from renewable sources and reducing carbon emissions, it is important that the installations subsidised by it are efficient and high performing. This requires good design and installation and owners who know …

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Proposals aim to make the energy market clearer and fairer

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2012 at 9:22 am

Proposals aim to make the energy market clearer and fairer

Simpler, clearer and fairer is how Ofgem describes its proposals to reform the energy market. It aims to put an end to the confusion of complex (impenetrably so in most cases) tariffs, thus making the market more competitive. Ofgem is proposing simplifying the market by limiting each supplier to…

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How do you decide whether or not to install a microgeneration system?

Posted by Paul Balcombe on 25 October 2012 at 2:43 pm

How do you decide whether or not to install a microgeneration system?

Microgeneration systems can be more environmentally friendly and generate cheaper energy (most of the time, taking into account the life span of the system) than their normal alternative: gas boilers or electricity from the grid. This makes microgeneration an appealing prospect for some a…

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Solar power is most popular energy for the future

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 October 2012 at 3:30 pm

Solar power is most popular energy for the future

While the message from government seems to be focusing on a dash for gas and fracking, the public has just demonstrated that it's way ahead of government in its support for future powered by renewable energy. Results of a new poll from YouGov found that people would like to see more investment in so…

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Loyalty card scheme aims to boost take up of energy saving measures

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 October 2012 at 9:14 am

Loyalty card scheme aims to boost take up of energy saving measures

Loyalty cards have been around for ages. Most airlines and supermarkets have them. But so far, they haven't played much of a part in the energy market. This is all set to change with the launch of the National Energy Card which will be piloted with solar PV, and is due to start in November this year…

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