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View blog posts for category: General

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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A new approach to renewable energy is needed

Posted by Merlin Hyman on 9 October 2012 at 12:08 pm

A new approach to renewable energy is needed

The south west is one of the windiest parts of Europe and a pioneer of wind farms, with the first UK site at Delabole in Cornwall. Yet each new proposal for a wind farm faces strong opposition from a vocal minority. This toxic process slows the development of renewable energy and makes it more e…

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3 simple steps to recommending your installer on YouGen

Posted by Gilly Jones on 3 October 2012 at 3:15 pm

3 simple steps to recommending your installer on YouGen

Here at YouGen we help people to find good installers by publishing recommendations from people like you. That feedback also keeps companies on their toes, and helps them to improve their service. To let them know how they did: Step 1. Sign up on the site and log in. (We a…

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Heating controls often aren't used effectively

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 September 2012 at 9:21 am

Heating controls often aren't used effectively

Difficulties using heating controls are widespread according to Consumer Focus which has reviewed a wide range of research on the subject (click here to download the full research results). Displays are difficult to see, buttons difficult to use, they don't tend to be intuitive to use, they are ofte…

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Details of proposed domestic RHI now available

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 September 2012 at 2:19 pm

The long-awaited proposals for support for householders who install renewable heating systems have been announced today. People changing their heating to technologies such as biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal receive a financial incentive along the same lines as the feed-in tariff…

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Strong shortlist for SW Renewable Energy Installer of the Year

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 September 2012 at 12:23 pm

Strong shortlist for SW Renewable Energy Installer of the Year

Judges will have a hard time choosing a winner in the Installer of the Year category of the South West Green Energy Awards sponsored by us at YouGen, and organised by RegenSW.  Our mission is to help people to get the right renewable or energy saving solution for their home or business. Know…

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Review: Home Energy Handbook: A guide to saving and generating energy in your home and community

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 September 2012 at 9:38 am

Review: Home Energy Handbook: A guide to saving and generating energy in your home and community

I've read a lot about energy in the past four years: how to save it, and how to generate it. But I until now I haven't found any one source that explains how we use energy in our homes, and how to use it more effectively, as well as the Home Energy Handbook. Published a couple of months ago by th…

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Great discounts available for Solar Power UK seminars

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 September 2012 at 8:15 am

Great discounts available for Solar Power UK seminars

YouGen has teamed up with Solar Power UK to support UK renewable energy installers. If you are an MCS accredited installer and want to expand your product knowledge, learn more about how the right business model can boost your business or are considering expanding into the commercial sized market; t…

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Feed-in tariff hits the Archers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 September 2012 at 11:24 am

Feed-in tariff hits the Archers

Last night grumpy old Adam Macy on Radio 4's The Archers acknowledged that his step father Brian had made a good move building an anaerobic digestion system. "It's the one part I do buy into. Even with the tariff cuts the figures do look pretty good. ... It's going to produce a lot more power than w…

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Readers tips of the month - August

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 August 2012 at 3:28 pm

Readers tips of the month - August

Claire Tindel, who has installed solar PV, says "put your dishwasher and washing machine on in the middle of the day" (it's probably best to run them one after the other, rather than together unless you've got a large system, and the sun's shining stronly). Mike Beale is a 71 year old enthusiasti…

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Specialist energy companies give best feed-in tariff service; E.on gives worst

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 August 2012 at 2:16 pm

Specialist energy companies give best feed-in tariff service; E.on gives worst

Questions and complaints about energy companies and how the service they deliver to feed-in tariff (FIT) customers regularly pop up in our inbox and in comments on blogs. When people get solar panels, or other microgeneration technology, they often just sign up with their existing supplier. But o…

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Top tips for disposing of energy saving lightbulbs and other WEE

Posted by Liam Tarry on 22 August 2012 at 9:02 am

Top tips for disposing of energy saving lightbulbs and other WEE

Here in the UK we throw away a million tonnes of household electrical and electronic waste every year - and that’s just from our homes. If that figure wasn’t shocking enough, at least as much comes from non-household sources such as offices, factories, schools and hospitals. Waste electrical …

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10 techniques for marketing your renewable energy business

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 August 2012 at 8:53 am

10 techniques for marketing your renewable energy business

The first thing most people think of when they talk about marketing is advertising. However, there are lots of other ways of getting your renewable energy technology into domestic and commercial buildings, many of which are more cost effective than traditional advertising. But first, some bas…

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Open homes: see how others have improved their homes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 August 2012 at 9:35 am

Open homes: see how others have improved their homes

Every year there are more and more people opening up their homes, so others can see what measures they have taken to make them warmer, more comfortable, last but not least cheaper to heat. With energy bills on a steep upward trajectory, taking action to reduce your need for energy has never made so …

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Renewable energy market research: experiences of domestic consumers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 August 2012 at 9:39 am

Renewable energy market research: experiences of domestic consumers

The best market research I've seen on what drives consumers in the domestic market for renewable energy is an excellent publication from Consumer Focus. Although it is called Keeping FIT, it is subtitled consumers' attitudes and experiences of microgeneration. Inevitably most of the experience is ab…

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YouGen sponsors SW Installer of the Year Award

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 August 2012 at 9:07 am

YouGen sponsors SW Installer of the Year Award

At YouGen we are all about promoting quality and excellence, and helping put consumers in touch with the best installers. That's why we've decided to sponsor the south west Green Energy Awards 2012 Installer or Supplier of the Year category. Run by RegenSW, the awards are now in their 10th year. …

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7 top tips for getting your award entry noticed

Posted by Gilly Jones on 7 August 2012 at 9:06 am

7 top tips for getting your award entry noticed

Who doesn’t like being recognised for a job well done? Awards are brilliant for PR and marketing, and we know from personal experience here at YouGen, that even reaching the finals of any award creates a buzz, and as for winning, well..... We’d love your business to have that buzz too, so we…

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YouGen guide to marketing renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 August 2012 at 10:35 am

YouGen guide to marketing renewable energy

While many of the renewable energy technologies have been around for a long time, the market for renewable energy is still young. The products are  expensive, the government subsidies can be complicated and (in the case of solar PV) a moving feast. Buyers are generally pretty ignorant about how…

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Community-owned energy offers investment opportunities for all

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 July 2012 at 10:18 am

Community-owned energy offers investment opportunities for all

Banks are not the flavour of the month, and interest rates on traditional savings aren't attractive, so is investment in renewable energy a viable alternative? Even if you haven't got a suitable site (or the cash) to generate electricity yourself, you can benefit from the feed-in tariff, by investin…

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Feed-in tariff changes give hope for community energy projects

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 July 2012 at 2:48 pm

Feed-in tariff changes give hope for community energy projects

Community energy schemes should find it easier to get off the ground as the government has removed some of the barriers that they faced. Changes to the feed-in tariff scheme following the 2B consultation where announced on Friday, and will come into force from 1 December 2012. Key to the changes …

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Some useful facts about the cost of renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 July 2012 at 3:24 pm

Some useful facts about the cost of renewable energy

The press is full of misleading (often just downright wrong) information about the cost of renewable energy and the amount it contributes to our energy bills. So we should all be grateful to Merlin Hyman at RegenSW who had dug out the facts, and referenced them all. Here's an extract from a recent n…

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Is going to court the best way to get change for the better?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 July 2012 at 11:58 am

Is going to court the best way to get change for the better?

The people that enforce regulation are never popular and, as a result of all the government subsidy that goes into it, the renewable energy sector probably has more scrutiny and enforcement than most. But what makes a good regulator? I ask this question as a solar installer has recently filed a c…

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How to sell energy efficiency to domestic customers (with or without the Green Deal)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 July 2012 at 9:23 am

How to sell energy efficiency to domestic customers (with or without the Green Deal)

Cost savings are not the most effective way of selling energy efficiency measures  according to new research. In What's in it for me? Consumer Focus has analysed 15 projects that set out to increase energy efficiency behaviour in householders. It concludes that "saving money on bills is a usef…

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How to invest in renewable energy via your pension scheme

Posted by John Ditchfield on 17 July 2012 at 9:10 am

How to invest in renewable energy via your pension scheme

In my experience most people find the subject of pensions rather difficult to comprehend, with their wicked combination of technical complexity and the very long-term nature of most schemes; for most private investors pension schemes are a great turn-off. This is unfortunate because the tax benefits…

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SMEs can participate in the Green Deal on their own terms with launch of new organisation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 July 2012 at 8:53 am

SMEs can participate in the Green Deal on their own terms with launch of new organisation

What's in it for SMEs? is a regular lament about the Green Deal. Businesses are concerned that they will be given small pickings around the edges, and their margins will be squeezed to breaking point, and quality will fly out the window. Well all this doom mongering may not come to pass, as a gro…

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Time for an Energy Bill Revolution

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 June 2012 at 10:53 am

Time for an Energy Bill Revolution

Energy bills take up a bigger and bigger proportion household income. They have risen by 140% in eight years,  and recently British Gas's boss promised that they will be continuing on their upward trajectory. High energy bills come with all sorts of associated problems, and this is why we've jo…

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Why the Renewable Heat Incentive is an opportunity too good to miss

Posted by Mark Henderson on 22 June 2012 at 9:47 am

Why the Renewable Heat Incentive  is an opportunity too good to miss

Despite attractive and near-certain returns on investment, take-up of the renewable heat incentive (RHI) far has been very low so far. If the opportunity is too good to miss, what is holding it back?  The world’s first renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme has been open to applican…

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45 measures, including renewables, eligible for Green Deal from launch

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 June 2012 at 6:14 pm

45 measures, including renewables, eligible for Green Deal from launch

**For the most up-to-date information about the Green Deal, please see our dedicated Green Deal information page.  Renewable energy technologies will be included in the Green Deal it was announced today. While they are unlikely to meet the Golden Rule (the cost of installation can be pai…

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Forget the feed-in tariff; it's all about energy

Posted by David Hunt on 11 June 2012 at 9:04 am

Forget the feed-in tariff; it's all about energy

In the last few years the UK went solar panel crazy, with fantastic return on investment opportunities businesses and home-owners alike fell in love with feed-in tariffs and their lovely shiny solar panels. In the main that was a good thing. Businesses grew in the sector, lots of lovely green ene…

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My electricity meter is running backwards: who is responsible?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 June 2012 at 10:05 am

My electricity meter is running backwards: who is responsible?

Q: My solar PV clients are seeing their electricity meters running backward now that the days are longer, and they are unsure how they should treat this with their electricity supplier now that they have become aware. My understanding is that the supplier remains responsible for accurately m…

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How to switch your feed-in tariff (FIT) provider

Posted by Kate Turner on 1 June 2012 at 10:45 am

How to switch your feed-in tariff (FIT) provider

The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme has been running for over two years now, and more than 250,000 installations have been registered since it was launched in 2010. But what happens when the service from the FIT provider isn’t up to scratch and you decide to change your FIT provider? How easy is i…

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Win a GEO Minim Home Energy Monitor

Posted by Gilly Jones on 29 May 2012 at 11:50 am

Win a GEO Minim Home Energy Monitor

YouGen is giving away a GEO Minim Home Energy Monitor worth £20. To thank you for Liking our Facebook page before the end of June, we will enter you in the draw to win. Energy bills have risen by 140% in 8 years. But with bills arriving once a quarter, after you've used the electricity, it can…

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Step by step guide to rating your installer on YouGen

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 May 2012 at 10:50 am

Step by step guide to rating your installer on YouGen

Word of mouth is the best way to find good products and services, whatever the subject. Here at YouGen we aim to amplify word of mouth, by putting it on the internet. The more feedback a company gets, the better the picture prospective customers will have. So here's a guide to how to rate your in…

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Solar PV Installers can benefit twice if they invest in training to be a Domestic Energy Assessor.

Posted by Pete Roberts on 14 May 2012 at 9:40 am

Solar PV Installers can benefit twice if they invest in training to be a Domestic Energy Assessor.

With the Green Deal starting in October this year and the new EPC requirements for the feed-in tariffs, there is now more reason than ever to diversify and train to become a Domestic Energy Assessor. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) requirement for feed-in tariffs came into force on 1 Apr…

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Readers tips of the month - April 2012

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 April 2012 at 11:10 am

Readers tips of the month - April 2012

We're always keen to hear your tips about you make your homes and businesses more energy efficient - and how you get the best out of your renewable energy. Here's our favourite tips and stories from the past month. Chemeng says: "Our PV system has reduced our annual grid electricity usage by a…

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Wattson Solar Plus helps me to get the most out of my solar PV

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 April 2012 at 7:45 am

Wattson Solar Plus helps me to get the most out of my solar PV

Key to getting the best out of your solar PV system is knowing when you are producing more electricity than you are using. This is the time to do things that use the most electricity. Of course, this isn't always possible. If you want to relax in front of the telly in the evening, the sun…

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The feed-in tariff is still alive & paying out - so why do so many people believe it's finished?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 April 2012 at 11:42 am

The feed-in tariff is still alive & paying out - so why do so many people believe it's finished?

The phones have stopped ringing for many solar PV companies, and my totally unscientific research indicates that the constant changes and media coverage of it are to blame for a widespread belief that the feed-in tariff is no longer available for solar PV. This couldn't be further from the tr…

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Take time out from your day to be inspired

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 April 2012 at 11:34 am

Take time out from your day to be inspired

Reading the papers or watching the news these days is pretty miserable. It brings a deluge of things that have gone wrong, and despite being a fervent news junkie, I find myself tuning out more and more often. So it was wonderful to spend last Friday being inspired by 20 amazing people who spend the…

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Prices of solar PV and other renewable energy vary significantly: always get three quotes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 April 2012 at 9:32 am

Prices of solar PV and other renewable energy vary significantly: always get three quotes

Getting three quotes was dinned into me in my first job. It was more than good practice - it was compulsory. Even though I was generally getting quotes from among the same pool of printers, I couldn't necessarily tell which would come in best on a particular job. It made sense, so it's something …

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Trust individuals and take more imaginative approach to consumer protection

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 30 March 2012 at 9:50 am

Trust individuals and take more imaginative approach to consumer protection

When markets have large numbers of small businesses, all innovating and desperate to compete and survive, consumer protection becomes much harder. DECC (the department of energy and climate change) can monitor and fine the big six utilities relatively easily, but it’s much harder to control a mark…

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Find the best renewable energy installers: 11 points to check before you invest

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 March 2012 at 1:03 am

Find the best renewable energy installers: 11 points to check before you invest

1.    If you want to benefit from the feed-in tariff or the renewable heat incentive (the Government’s financial incentives for renewable energy), you must ensure that both the installer you use, and the product they are installing are accredited under the Microgeneration Certificat…

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Campaign to root out cowboy solar installers launched today

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 March 2012 at 1:03 am

Campaign to root out cowboy solar installers launched today

A campaign is launched today to help people to avoid “unscrupulous” installers of solar panels and other renewable technologies seeking to cash in on confusion surrounding the Government’s feed-in-tariff and other incentives. We have developed the campaign as a result of stories we've heard…

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