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View blog posts for category: Solar electricity

'Free' solar panels are not a great deal, says Which?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 October 2010 at 2:10 pm

'Free' solar panels are not a great deal, says Which?

Installations companies stand to benefit more than consumers from 'free' solar pv panels according to new research from Which?. They found that householders could save as much as £10,500 over the next 25 years by buying their own solar pv panels (to generate electricity) instead of signing up to…

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Do solar panels affect house sales?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 September 2010 at 3:35 pm

Do solar panels affect house sales?

A solar panel installation should make a house more desirable, shouldn't it? There's the saving on energy bills from using home-generated electricity, and even at the lower early adopters feed-in rate the combination of generation rate and export rate begin to add up to a nice bit of extra income. …

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Wind and solar electricity: a practical DIY guide

Posted by Max Sillars on 27 September 2010 at 9:34 am

Wind and solar electricity: a practical DIY guide

So many guides to wind and solar electricity repeat the same high level principles that by now we all know, and then fizzle out into lists of pricey sounding specialist consultancies. Not Andy Reynolds! This is definitely the best guide I've read over the last decade. The layout of the informati…

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Feed-in tariffs: make sure your installer is accredited

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 September 2010 at 8:53 am

Feed-in tariffs: make sure your installer is accredited

Feed-in tariffs are only available if you are installing an MCS accredited product and using an MCS accredited installer. There's no margin for error on this, so it's worth checking that this is the case before going ahead with an installation. Without the feed-in tariff the return on your investmen…

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Are your PV panels keeping up with the Jones'?

Posted by Lisa Clark on 19 September 2010 at 5:45 pm

Are your PV panels keeping up with the Jones'?

Ten years ago, awkward dinner conversations focused on one-upmanship around mobile technology.  Nowadays, conversations might turn to how much power your neighbour's solar PV panels are generating compared to your own.  One might start quoting panel specifications, IV curves and inverter e…

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Solar PV across different facing roofs

Posted by Chris Rudge on 3 September 2010 at 12:59 pm

Solar PV across different facing roofs

Q: I'm thinking of installing solar PV panels on two roof aspects, one south facing the other east. Can you please explain in layman's language what is meant by 'series' and 'parallel'. Different installers are recommending one or the other or both!  A: Unlike battery charging PV systems, a…

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Selling the electricity you generate to the grid

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 August 2010 at 10:13 am

Selling the electricity you generate to the grid

The feed-in tariff has made it simpler to sell the electricity you generate, but don't use in the house, back to the grid. It has set standard rates to be paid for electricity generated which are dependent on type of technology and size of system, and all exported electricity is paid at 3p per kWh. …

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Are council planning departments making it difficult to install solar panels?

Posted by Rob Palgrave on 18 August 2010 at 9:27 am

Are council planning departments making it difficult to install solar panels?

Installing solar PV panels should be easier for home-owners since a planning appeal confirmed what is allowed under permitted development. Planning departments at some councils in England seem to want to make it difficult for householders to install photovoltaic solar panels. But as a result …

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Free solar panels: is it too good to be true?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 August 2010 at 8:54 am

Free solar panels: is it too good to be true?

Solar PV panels worth £10-12,000, installed on your roof, free of charge - it sounds too good to be true, but is it really? The 'rent a roof' model, as it is known, is proving attractive to installers and investors. A Shade Greener, Homesun and Isis Solar are just three of compa…

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Feed-in tariff for early adopters: an update

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 August 2010 at 10:28 am

Feed-in tariff for early adopters: an update

Prior to the general election, the Conservatives promised that early adopters of microgeneration technologies would receive full feed-in tariffs (and not the much lower 9p rate currently on offer). Since the coalition government formed there has been a deafening silence from Whitehall on the subject…

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Inverters for solar PV panels: your questions answered

Posted by Chris Rudge on 6 August 2010 at 8:52 am

Inverters for solar PV panels: your questions answered

Q1: I hear that inverters for solar PV systems typically last a maximum of 5 years, (Sunnyboy ones seem to fall over in Cambridge after a year, because of the way the grid is here). At £1,000 a pop, that makes a big difference to the economics of PV/ FITs, so it would be great to have someo…

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What types of solar PV panels are there?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 2 August 2010 at 9:58 am

What types of solar PV panels are there?

Photovoltaic solar panels (PV) come in many different forms. Do you know your polycrystalline from your mono, or thin film from hybrid? No - I thought not, and frankly I do not think I would if I were not in the industry! There are a number of different types of solar photovoltaic systems…

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Feed-in tariffs boost growth of UK solar panels

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 July 2010 at 9:15 am

Feed-in tariffs boost growth of UK solar panels

The feed-in tariff is expected to boost growth of solar panels on British roofs fivefold this year, and 30 times over by 2015 according to a report from Price Waterhouse Coopers. By 2015, the researchers estimate that 1,000 MW of electricity will be generated by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. Ev…

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Why solar PV panels don't work so well in the heat

Posted by Chris Rudge on 19 July 2010 at 9:32 am

Why solar PV panels don't work so well in the heat

During these last few weeks of hot sun, which are a welcome change from the rain of previous  few years, we have been getting calls from customers asking why the output from their solar PV panels is down, even though there is bright sun beaming down onto it. The simple answer is solar heatin…

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Solar panels are now an investment opportunity

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 July 2010 at 11:40 am

Solar panels are now an investment opportunity

There are lots of reasons people install solar panels on their roof. It may be to protect themselves from rising energy prices, a desire to reduce their carbon footprint, or concern about energy security. Until recently, it certainly wasn't to make money. However, two things have changed. The int…

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Early adopters and the feed-in tariff: an update

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 July 2010 at 10:05 am

Early adopters and the feed-in tariff: an update

The Conservative party promised, prior to the election, that early adopters of microgeneration will get the feed-in tariffs. Since the election the silence on the subject has been deafening. Until now. An early adopter has just sent me this letter from DECC: "As set out in the Coalition Progr…

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Can I get the feed-in tariff and a grant?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 July 2010 at 12:15 pm

Can I get the feed-in tariff and a grant?

Community groups and schools that received Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) phase 2 grants have been told that if they want to receive the feed-in tariff they will have to pay the grant back.  As many of them went ahead and installed in the belief that they would be entitled to the feed-in …

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Feed-in tariffs: how to claim them

Posted by John Martin on 5 July 2010 at 9:39 am

Feed-in tariffs: how to claim them

Feed-in tariffs are now up and running and many people are keen to take advantage of the potential returns. This is a guide to how to qualify and apply to receive these payments. If you are applying for an installation commissioned after 1 April 2010 you will need to ensure the following: …

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Ashden Award winner an inspiration for community energy schemes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 July 2010 at 12:12 pm

Ashden Award winner an inspiration for community energy schemes

Energy use on the Isle of Eigg is half the national average and carbon emissions have fallen by 47% since the islanders switched to renewable energy. The islanders' pioneering approach has won them the 2010 UK Ashden Award, and you can watch the video case study here. Until Febuary 2008 each …

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Eco-renovation transforms Devon village hall

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 June 2010 at 9:02 am

Eco-renovation transforms Devon village hall

With thick insulation, ground source heat pumps feeding underfloor heating, and solar panels on the roof to power the heat pump, Branscombe village hall in East Devon must be one of the most energy efficient in the country. However, managing an ambitious project like this wasn't an easy task. It …

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