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How can I register as a self-supplier of biomass fuel for the RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 November 2014 at 8:58 am

How can I register as a self-supplier of biomass fuel for the RHI?

Q: How and with whom does one register as a self-supplier of biomass material. A: To register as a self-supplier of biomass material you need to register using this form on the gov.uk website. You can download a detailed supplier question and answer document from the biomass suppliers li…

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How do I distinguish between two solar PV quotes?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 November 2014 at 10:01 am

How do I distinguish between two solar PV quotes?

Q: I am considering two quotes both similar in price. I live in merseyside and have a south east facing and south west facing roof. There is a chimney on the southwest facing roof and so there are some shading issues. The first quote is for LG monocrystalline panels, 250watts, with 15.6% effi…

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MCS strengthens procedures - but will it kill the cowboys?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 November 2014 at 12:10 pm

MCS strengthens procedures - but will it kill the cowboys?

Knowing that your installer (and the product they are installing) is going to do a good job is always important. In a new industry, with unfamiliar products and taxpayers money available to support it, it's even more important.  This is exactly what the Microgeneration Certification …

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Changes to eligibility for domestic renewable heat incentive announced

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 November 2014 at 9:54 am

Changes to eligibility for domestic renewable heat incentive announced

Some welcome changes to eligibility for the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) were announced this month by the Department of Energy & Climate Change. Subject to parliamentary process and approval of draft regulations they should come into force in spring 2015. Also coming in spring is t…

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Are there solar PV tiles to match clay roofs?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 November 2014 at 11:13 am

Are there solar PV tiles to match clay roofs?

Q: We are going to build a house. We want to use solar/photovoltaic tiles but may have to use clay tiles for the roof. There seem only to be slate photovoltaic tiles. Are there any that look like clay? Any advice very welcome. A: At the moment the vast majority of solar tiles are blue. Howeve…

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Legacy application make up the bulk of first 10,000 RHI accreditations

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 November 2014 at 3:22 pm

Legacy application make up the bulk of first 10,000 RHI accreditations

South west England has the most accreditations (1,847) under the new domestic renewable heat incentive (dRHI) according to new statistics from Ofgem. Renewable heat was nearly as popular in Scotland (1,596 accreditations), with south east England next. Not surprisingly London was the region with …

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Musa 22 and Club 22 Hydro wood pellet stoves removed from MCS list

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 November 2014 at 11:30 am

Musa 22 and Club 22 Hydro wood pellet stoves removed from MCS list

Homeowners who have installed a Musa 22 or Club 22 Hydro wood pellet stove manufactured by Italian MCZ Group received a letter from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) last week advising them of potential faults and advising them not to use them.  The MCS warns that it has bee…

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Readers' tips of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2014 at 5:34 pm

Readers' tips of the month

With the clocks going back, I'm kicking off this month's tips with one from House-Saver. "We hang a thick curtain over our draughty french doors during winter months," he writes. "We keep the curtain opened during the day to allow sun light to heat the living room and then …

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TV researchers help couple to design eco renovation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2014 at 9:12 am

TV researchers help couple to design eco renovation

Does bringing in the TV cameras benefit a new build or renovation project? As a fan of Grand Designs, it's something I've often wondered. While I see that the architects and builders involved gain publicity, for your average home owner it seems more likely to add to the stress. So, it…

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£310 million available for those in finding it difficult to keep warm this winter

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 October 2014 at 9:25 am

£310 million available for those in finding it difficult to keep warm this winter

Now that the clocks have gone back, the nights are darker and the heating is more likely to be on. So it's a good time to think about how you can keep your heating bills down. If you are on a low income there may be help available from the Home Heat Helpline. The coalition between energy …

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How do I run my underfloor heating system efficiency?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 October 2014 at 9:19 am

How do I run my underfloor heating system efficiency?

Q: I have just had a wet underfloor heating system installed in my new extension activated from my boiler. My builder has set it and sent me a link for the instructions on how to use it but he did not answer my basic question. With ordinary radiators you have to have your heating switched on and …

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Stop SAP penalising domestic users of biomass boilers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 October 2014 at 12:09 pm

Stop SAP penalising domestic users of biomass boilers

In an ideal world government departments would speak to each other and harmonise what they are doing. Sadly, those of us who've been around renewable energy for any time know that's often not the case. We've just had an email that beautifully illustrates the way one department'…

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It's time for leaders to lead by example

Posted by Rupert Higgin on 22 October 2014 at 8:58 am

It's time for leaders to lead by example

It’s been a decade since the block of 28 European states (EU28), including the UK, committed to the target of ensuring that 15% of all energy consumed would be from renewable sources by 2020. So how are we faring towards achieving this legally binding target? Well, the latest stat…

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Scan the Sun: new app predicts solar returns

Posted by Aldous Everard on 20 October 2014 at 12:12 pm

Scan the Sun: new app predicts solar returns

Anyone considering installing a PV or solar thermal system will want to know their likely returns. In the UK getting any kind of accurate idea of your returns is difficult to say the least. Predictions of generation are influenced by our famously changeable weather along with the physical constra…

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Suppliers list for sustainable biomass is now open

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 October 2014 at 7:10 am

Suppliers list for sustainable biomass is now open

Last month the biomass suppliers list opened. The website will enable people with biomass boilers and stoves to find local approved suppliers of wood pellet, wood chip, logs and briquettes. Use of an approved supplier was expected to become mandatory for those claiming RHI this autumn. Howeve…

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YouGen's 10 top tips for a warm, energy efficient winter

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 October 2014 at 9:18 am

YouGen's 10 top tips for a warm, energy efficient winter

Brrr. Did you feel that? After such a balmy summer the sudden appearance of autumn is a bit of a shock, right? Now it’s turn on the heating time in many UK homes, here are our top tips to keeping the heating bills down this winter without compromising on warmth. 1. Buy a new woolly! It&…

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Extra £100m announced for home energy efficiency improvements

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 October 2014 at 9:10 am

Extra £100m announced for home energy efficiency improvements

There will be an additional £100m available to improve domestic energy efficiency before the end of November according to an announcement this week by Energy and Climate Secretary Ed Davey. This will be administered through a new phase of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF). V…

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Should I buy from a non-MCS installer?

Posted by Chris Roberts on 7 October 2014 at 8:55 am

Should I buy from a non-MCS installer?

There has been much debate between renewables industry representatives about the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) and whether it is worth the cost and effort. However discussion has been largely focussed on the benefits (or not) to the installer rather than customers. As it’s the …

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Readers' tips of the month

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 September 2014 at 9:01 am

Readers' tips of the month

Here are some of the tips, observations and appeals for information that have come our newest members over the last month. Welcome to each of you - we hope you enjoy the site!  If you want to join the hallowed ranks of YouGen members it's absolutely free and gives you access to co…

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Will insulating my cavity walls cause damp?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 29 September 2014 at 9:01 am

Q. I have a 1930s bungalow with brick outside skin and breeze block inner skin. Following a visual scoping by the prospective cavity insulation installers, I have removed some bricks and manually removed rubble. But I can’t easily get to the rubble at the very bottom of the cavity. The rubb…

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How will feed-in tariffs be affected by the smart meter revolution?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 September 2014 at 7:05 am

How will feed-in tariffs be affected by the smart meter revolution?

Q. Can users who have smart meters use their export values from the meter for FIT payments, rather than the standard deemed 50 per cent? A. Your question refers to the way in which the export payments element of the feed-in tariff is calculated. You are right that for most domestic solar …

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Homebuilding and renovating show big ticket giveaway!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 23 September 2014 at 9:04 am

Homebuilding and renovating show big ticket giveaway!

Planning to build an eco home? Considering installing a heat pump? Need help navigating the muddy waters of eco funding and grants? These problems and more will be unpicked and solved at the Homebuilding and Renovating Show in London this weekend.  Running from 26th-28th September at…

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YouGen attends the People's Climate March 2014. And we liked it!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 September 2014 at 8:52 am

YouGen attends the People's Climate March 2014. And we liked it!

It started as a light tinkling, like the sound of a thousand distantly splintering light bulbs. Then it gathered as it neared us, part wind, part wave, part force of sound. It wasn’t until the roar was upon us and around us and then, in a second, past us, that it was recognisable for what i…

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YouGen supports the green innovations of 2014

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 September 2014 at 7:15 am

YouGen supports the green innovations of 2014

YouGen are very excited to be sponsoring a category at this year’s Energy Efficiency and Renewables Awards. The awards, organised by Renewable Energy Installer (REI) magazine celebrate the best in renewable energy in the UK. We are sponsoring the Green Innovation of the year categor…

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Is MCS-accreditation worth it?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 September 2014 at 9:01 am

Is MCS-accreditation worth it?

We’ve noticed that some installers of solar thermal are now offering to fit solar hot water systems outside existing quality assurance schemes. One installer is claiming to be able to save their customers up to £2000 by not putting their installation through the rigorous…

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Green deal is a 'disappointing failure', says committee of MPs

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 15 September 2014 at 9:30 am

Green deal is a 'disappointing failure', says committee of MPs

The green deal has been a ‘disappointing failure’ which has caused ‘frustration and confusion for both consumers and businesses’, an influential cross party Westminster committee has concluded today. The Energy and Climate Change Select Committee said that better insul…

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Making an old property energy efficient: the SuperHomes effect

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 September 2014 at 7:50 am

Making an old property energy efficient: the SuperHomes effect

Thinking of making your old home more energy efficient but don’t know where to begin? Then learn from someone who does. This weekend you can visit one of 180 houses across the UK whose owners have succeeded in reducing their energy consumption by at least 60 per cent. The owners of …

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Solar Energy UK celebrating its fifth year!

Posted by Gilly Jones on 9 September 2014 at 4:13 pm

Solar Energy UK celebrating its fifth year!

Now in its fifth year, Solar Energy UK will be taking place on the 14-16 October 2014 at the NEC in Birmingham. Whether you're an established solar energy installer looking to take your business up a step or a newcomer to the market, this is where you'll find the latest news, informat…

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How do I join YouGen online directory of recommended local renewables and energy efficiency installers?

Posted by Gilly Jones on 1 September 2014 at 9:01 am

How do I join YouGen online directory of recommended local renewables and energy efficiency installers?

For people looking to save and generate energy it’s not always straightforward to find a local supplier they can trust. Here at YouGen, we not only make it really easy for people to find information they need to make good decisions on renewables and energy efficient for their home or bu…

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How to make a 1920s terrace property warm and energy efficient

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 August 2014 at 10:17 am

How to make a 1920s terrace property warm and energy efficient

Making a leaky 1920s house energy efficient is a daunting prospect. But it was experience renovating their previous home – a barge – that gave Jurgen Huber and Zoe Allen the confidence to take on the task.  "The practical experience I gained of altering, fitting out, and…

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Reader tips of the month: solar PV

Posted by Gilly Jones on 22 August 2014 at 4:01 pm

Reader tips of the month: solar PV

Here's our favourite tips from the past month. It's not just the price you need to think about when considering installing solar PV. Bassmantrev is a building supervisor for social landlord based in the west midlands, and has installed a 3kw with 12 x 250 watt array. He says: “I…

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Tenants can switch to a green energy supplier too

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 August 2014 at 4:25 pm

Tenants can switch to a green energy supplier too

Three quarters of people living in rented accommodation have never switched electricity suppliers, new research by Ofgem has found.  Compared to 55 per cent of homeowners, this research shows a worrying lack of awareness among tenants of their freedom to choose who supplies their electri…

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Is my home renovation classed as a self-build for claiming RHI?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 August 2014 at 8:52 am

Is my home renovation classed as a self-build for claiming RHI?

Q. We have recently renovated and extended a 200-year old cottage into a 4-bed home with an air source heat pump. Prior to our moving in the property was empty for more than two years and uninhabitable.  Do we need a green deal assessment or are we classed as self builders for the p…

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Can I get another EPC done if I think my first one is incorrect?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 August 2014 at 6:41 am

Can I get another EPC done if I think my first one is incorrect?

Q. I am considering installing a biomass boiler. I have had a green deal assessment done including the energy performance certificate in preparation for claiming domestic renewable heat incentive. I'm not quite sure that the assessment of my annual energy needs (kWH) is as high as it could be…

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Win a SOLiC 200 immersion controller worth £210

Posted by Gilly Jones on 13 August 2014 at 9:02 am

Win a SOLiC 200 immersion controller worth £210

This competition is now closed. Winner to be announced shortly. YouGen has teamed up with Earthwise Products to give away a SOLiC 200 immersion controller worth  £210. To thank you for signing up to our monthly newsletter or for liking our Facebook page before the end of August 201…

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Does my landlord have to ensure my home is energy efficient?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 August 2014 at 9:01 am

Does my landlord have to ensure my home is energy efficient?

There are currently has 4.2m privately rented households in the UK and Wales and a shameful 11 per cent of those, or nearly half a million, have the lowest EPC ratings of band F or G.  If you live in one of these properties what is your landlord required to do to improve your situation? …

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Review of the SOLiC 200 Immersion Controller

Posted by Chris Rudge on 11 August 2014 at 9:06 am

Review of the SOLiC 200 Immersion Controller

In the quest to test as many of the current immersion heater controllers that let you use all your excess solar PV generated power, I got hold of a SOLiC 200 immersion controller to try out. My first impression was that unlike most of the other immersion controllers that are on the market, th…

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YouGen in the running for energy efficiency and renewables award

Posted by Gilly Jones on 8 August 2014 at 9:24 am

YouGen in the running for energy efficiency and renewables award

The YouGen team have all been given a boost this month after being shortlisted in the Contribution to Energy Efficiency and Renewables category at this year’s Energy Efficiency and Renewables Awards. “It’s very exciting to be shortlisted,” said Gilly Jones, MD of YouGe…

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Should I get a green deal assessment before or after I install?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 August 2014 at 8:52 am

Should I get a green deal assessment before or after I install?

Q. I am looking to install a heat pump and I hope to apply for the renewable heat incentive. I know I need to have green deal assessment but should this be done before or after the heat pump is installed? A. You are right that all renewable heat incentive (RHI) applicants (with the exception …

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How much will I earn from my renewable heating system?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 August 2014 at 8:46 am

How much will I earn from my renewable heating system?

If you’re wondering how much you could earn in government incentives from a renewable heating system in your home then an answer is at hand. The Department of Energy and Climate Change have launched their online domestic renewable heat incentive calculator which allows you to estimate t…

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Help CAT celebrate their 40th birthday!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 1 August 2014 at 6:22 am

Help CAT celebrate their 40th birthday!

If you’re in Wales this weekend you could do worse than pop along to the incomparable Centre for Alternative Technology’s 40th birthday carnival.  The carnival runs from 10am-5.30pm tomorrow (Saturday 2 August) and will be a great opportunity to have a look at all the work ac…

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UK community energy awards entries due in!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 July 2014 at 9:01 am

UK community energy awards entries due in!

The deadline for making a nomination to the UK Community Energy awards is tomorrow. The awards are free to enter and open to any UK-based not-for-profit organisation, group or individual working or volunteering inthe community energy sector. There are 15 different categories, such as ener…

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Domestic renewable heat incentive LIVE online Q&A!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 28 July 2014 at 9:23 am

Domestic renewable heat incentive LIVE online Q&A!

The online Q&A is now closed. Massive thanks to everyone who took part. If you have any more questions about domestic RHI then please have a look at our renewable heat incentive information pages and at our renewable heat incentive: your questions answered blog. We will no longer be answering…

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Questions asked around sudden closure of green deal home improvement scheme

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 July 2014 at 9:33 am

Questions asked around sudden closure of green deal home improvement scheme

The government has announced that applications to the green deal home improvement fund have closed with immediate effect. Following a ‘surge in applications’ over the last two days, the GDHIF budget was reached and breached and in a surprise move, the government last night pulled …

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Solid wall insulation funding slashed amid enthusiastic take up of incentive scheme

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 25 July 2014 at 8:57 am

Solid wall insulation funding slashed amid enthusiastic take up of incentive scheme

UPDATE: The government has announced that applications to the green deal home improvement fund have closed with immediate effect. Following a ‘surge in applications’ over the last two days, the GDHIF budget was reached and breached and in a surprise move, the government last night…

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Do I need a green deal assessment to get the green deal home improvement fund?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 21 July 2014 at 8:54 am

Do I need a green deal assessment to get the green deal home improvement fund?

Q. Do I need a green deal assessment to get money from the green deal home improvement fund? And if not, why bother with a green deal assessment at all? A. Here’s a funny thing – no you don’t! Among the many confusing and overlapping features of the current government&rs…

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I have been offered a free biomass boiler by a company who wants my RHI payments. Should I accept?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 18 July 2014 at 8:18 am

I have been offered a free biomass boiler by a company who wants my RHI payments. Should I accept?

Q. I can’t afford to install a biomass boiler myself. However, I have approached by a company who have offered me a free biomass boiler so long as I assign the domestic renewable heat incentive payments to them. Should I accept? A. One of the features of the early days of the feed-in ta…

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My heat pump isn't on Ofgem's product eligibility list. Can I still claim RHI?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 16 July 2014 at 10:08 am

My heat pump isn't on Ofgem's product eligibility list. Can I still claim RHI?

Q My heat pump does not appear on Ofgem’s product eligibility list (PEL) for the renewable heat incentive (RHI) and I do not have an MCS certificate for the installation. Can I apply for RHI?  I installed a Stiebel Eltron (WPL 16 AS) ASHP in 2010. It does not appear in the list of…

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I need solid wall insulation in my home. Are there any grants to help me fund it?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 July 2014 at 9:43 am

I need solid wall insulation in my home. Are there any grants to help me fund it?

Q. I need to install solid wall insulation in my home. Are there any grants to help me pay for it? A. If solid wall insulation has been recommended on an energy performance certificate then you could be eligible for the Green Dean Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF). This fund provides up to £…

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Community group funding available to help spread the energy saving word

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 July 2014 at 10:15 am

Community group funding available to help spread the energy saving word

Parish councils, community energy groups, charities and social landlords are among the groups being invited to bid for funding to provide energy saving advice in their local communties. The government has announced that £1m is being made available for charities and community organisatio…

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Is there a limit to how much feed-in tariffs I can get for my solar panels?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 July 2014 at 10:50 am

Is there a limit to how much feed-in tariffs I can get for my solar panels?

Q: My question is in relation to feed-in tariffs for solar pv panels. We have a massive, south-facing roof which could accommodate an 8kw system. We are away from the UK for several months of the year and therefore our entire electricity production could go back to the grid. As we have a smart me…

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How much space does a biomass boiler take up?

Posted by FairEnergy . on 7 July 2014 at 9:01 am

How much space does a biomass boiler take up?

Space is a common initial concern for customers considering biomass, but there are a range of solutions regardless of your space restrictions. Biomass boiler installations have three key components – the boiler itself, a buffer tank and fuel store. The amount of space needed can vary gr…

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Should I recalculate my heat pump's SPF? My renewable heat incentive journey part 2

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 July 2014 at 9:03 am

Should I recalculate my heat pump's SPF? My renewable heat incentive journey part 2

As the owner of an air source heat pump who received a renewable heat premium payment grant prior to 20 May 2013, I am in the second tranche of applicants being invited to apply for the renewable heat incentive.  The date from which the group is eligible to apply – July 9, 2014 &nd…

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Help! My RHI application has gone for manual review. What should I do?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 2 July 2014 at 9:01 am

Help! My RHI application has gone for manual review. What should I do?

You’ve been told that the online application for the renewable heat incentive is straightforward process, and you should expect an instant decision on the amount of money you will receive.  But with around 62 per cent of applications currently being referred to so-called manual rev…

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Great LED light giveaway!

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 June 2014 at 9:40 am

Great LED light giveaway!

This competition has now closed. I'm delighted to announce the winners  are Helen & Laurie. Congratulations - your vouchers are in their way. Let there be light! Everyone knows the theory: that replacing your lightbulbs with low energy ones, such as LEDs can shave pounds off …

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Why RHI rules should be changed to incentivise solar thermal stores too

Posted by Stuart Elmes on 25 June 2014 at 10:45 am

Why RHI  rules should be changed to incentivise solar thermal stores too

The domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was structured with the deliberate intention that the combination of solar thermal with other renewable heating technologies would be actively encouraged.  The thinking behind this is that solar thermal increases the average operating efficiency of…

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I want to have an off grid wedding celebration? Is it possible?

Posted by Em Weirdigan on 23 June 2014 at 10:22 am

I want to have an off grid wedding celebration? Is it possible?

Q. I am organising a wedding and I would love for it to be off-grid. Is it possible to run a sound system, fridges and field kitchens using just renewable energy? A. We've become increasingly imaginative about the celebrations and rituals that stitch our lives into such wonderful patterns…

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Why is SSE taking so long to process my feed-in tariff application?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 June 2014 at 10:27 am

Why is SSE taking so long to process my feed-in tariff application?

Q: We were not told by anyone of the delay from commissioning to registration [for the feed-in tariff] write Graham and Marion. SSE had my completed application within 2 days of installation and that was 3 months and 3 days ago. Looking at the Ofgem website, this seems to be typical. I do ho…

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Love your solar panels? Your chance to contribute to vital solar research

Posted by Lisa Clark on 18 June 2014 at 9:18 am

Love your solar panels? Your chance to contribute to vital solar research

Sat on the roof of the Physics department in Sheffield on a sunny day, surrounded by solar panels (and an astronomy tower adding to the view), I think I might have the best job in the world.  The breeze is gently cooling the panels, so I think they are happy too.  I manage the  …

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Can I get preliminary accreditation for the feed-in tariff for our solar system?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 June 2014 at 12:53 pm

Can I get preliminary accreditation for the feed-in tariff for our solar system?

Q: My enquiry is about the preliminary accreditation of a 150kW solar pv system. We have been granted planning permission and have accepted and paid the DNO's firm quotation. I am aware that if we can get preliminary accreditation this will buy us 6 months of time to get the in…

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My cavity wall insulation is soaking wet. What can I do?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 13 June 2014 at 10:30 am

My cavity wall insulation is soaking wet. What can I do?

Q: We bought a 1930s house which we have been updating including installing french doors. Late last year serious damp patches started spreading on each side and across top of doors, as well as in many other places on this wall both upstairs and down. The house has cavity walls which have been fil…

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How do I apply for the green deal home improvement fund?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 June 2014 at 8:26 am

How do I apply for the green deal home improvement fund?

This week the government has launched the green deal home improvement fund (GDHIF). The fund is a stash of cash (£120m to be precise) to be given in grants –that’s free money, people! – to anyone who has made eligible energy saving improvements to their home. To get th…

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Can cavity wall insulation be topped up or refilled?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 June 2014 at 10:10 am

Can cavity wall insulation be topped up or refilled?

Q: We had cavity wall insulation pumped into out walls about 30 years ago. Over the last 10 years or so it has been shedding the beads through air-bricks and any holes drilled in the walls to such an extent that I now question it's efficacy. Is it possible to have it refilled? A…

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How do we know what size of biomass boiler to buy?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 June 2014 at 4:20 pm

How do we know what size of biomass boiler to buy?

Q: We have had 8 assessments and quotes from local companies to install a biomass boiler. Our barn was converted in 2002 is 346m2 and has 30 radiators and 6 bedrooms. We are confused because we have quotes ranging from 18Kw to 45 Kw wood pellet boilers and 700ltrs to 1500ltrs buffer tanks. We hav…

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Thermodynamic panels: the UK's first independent test gets underway

Posted by Tom Bradley on 4 June 2014 at 9:40 am

Thermodynamic panels: the UK's first independent test gets underway

Recently there has been an increasing discussion of a new heating technology, known as solar thermodynamic panels (or solar-assisted heat pumps). They are sometimes marketed as a “solar panel that works at night” to quote one manufacturer. Essentially they are a type of air …

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Top tips for entering this years Solar Power Portal Awards 2014

Posted by Gilly Jones on 3 June 2014 at 10:40 am

Top tips for entering this years Solar Power Portal Awards 2014

UPDATE: Nomination deadline extended to six pm Monday 16 June 2014. Here at YouGen we're all about promoting quality and excellence, and helping put consumers in touch with the best installers. That's why we've teamed up with Solar Power Portal Awards 2014 to support the Installer…

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What small businesses should think about BEFORE installing renewable energy

Posted by Andrew Warner on 2 June 2014 at 9:45 am

What small businesses should think about BEFORE installing renewable energy

If you are a small business owner looking to install renewable technologies and cut your energy costs, I don’t envy you! In my work I see dozens of small business owners every month and the problems they complain about are all the same. Technology by its very nature is complex and …

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Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 29 May 2014 at 9:08 am

Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

It’s five am and 75 cows are jostling their way into the milking shed at Stewart Watson’s dairy farm in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. The mooing and stomping of the cattle as they funnel into their stalls is a familiar sound in this part of Ireland where multiple dairy farms ch…

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Invaluable advice if you're thinking of installing a heat pump

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 May 2014 at 10:22 am

Invaluable advice if you're thinking of installing a heat pump

If you’re considering installing a ground- or an air-source heat pump you should consider the following excellent advice from the Renewable Energy Consumer Code: • make sure you take account of any additional work you need to do, such as drilling a vertical well or preparing a hori…

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Will my solar panels power an air source heat pump?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 May 2014 at 8:54 am

Will my solar panels power an air source heat pump?

Q: I have a 4kW solar PV system on my roof and am thinking of installing an air source heat pump. How much electricity would the solar panels contribute to the cost of running the heat pump? A: At first glance this seems like the ideal combination. You are probably generating more solar elecr…

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Why are my feed-in tariff payments taking so long?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 May 2014 at 10:45 am

Why are my feed-in tariff payments taking so long?

Q: I'm with SSE and my feed-in tariff (FIT) payments were always supposed to be within 28 days of the meter reading. This has never happened, but after complaining each time I get my payment about a week later. Last time I gave my meter reading the SSE FITs office told me that the 28 day…

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Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 21 May 2014 at 10:46 am

Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

Producers and suppliers of biomass woodfuel are being urged to register their business on the government’s newly launched biomass suppliers list (BSL).  From October 2014, only fuel bought from a registered supplier can be used in biomass boilers, if their owners wish to claim the …

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When should I have my green deal assessment for RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 May 2014 at 8:59 am

When should I have my green deal assessment for RHI?

Q: I am installing an air source heat pump (ASHP) later this year, and will be applying for the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI). Do I need to have the green deal assessment BEFORE the system is commissioned to be eligible for the RHI? And secondly, does the green deal advice report h…

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Solar strategy gives big boost for solar panels on large, non-domestic rooftops

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 16 May 2014 at 10:15 am

Solar strategy gives big boost for solar panels on large, non-domestic rooftops

I am sure that you cannot fail to have noticed the increased prevalence of solar panels appearing on UK homes in the last few years. Maybe you have noticed acres of solar panels reflecting the sun in fields - mostly in south-west England? Maybe you have also thought, what about all those ugly…

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All you need to know about the economics of solar PV in Northern Ireland

Posted by Andy Baird on 15 May 2014 at 2:24 pm

All you need to know about the economics of solar PV in Northern Ireland

For many customers, going solar has to make financial sense. A well-designed system using good quality components should provide a payback of 6-8 years depending on site conditions. This post is intended to help you fully understand how the economics of solar in Northern Ireland works. Firstl…

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Are thermodynamic panels eligible for the RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 May 2014 at 9:05 am

Are thermodynamic panels eligible for the RHI?

Q: Are thermodynamic panels for hot water and central heating included in the renewable heat incentive (RHI)? I installed the panels last summer on the understanding it was close to being authorised and that it would be backdated. A:It sounds as if your installer was misleading you. It is tru…

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Seasonal performance factors and RHI: should I get a reassessment?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 9 May 2014 at 9:50 am

Seasonal performance factors and RHI: should I get a reassessment?

You've had a heat pump installed (prior to the launch of the RHI), you've had your green deal assessment, you've got your MCS certificate and you're poised to apply for the government's newly-launched renewable heat incentive (RHI) scheme. But hold on - what's thi…

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Green deal installers should register so customers can access home improvements grants

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 8 May 2014 at 10:40 am

Green deal installers should register so customers can access home improvements grants

Green deal installers and providers are being invited to register to be able to offer new cash incentives to their customers. The government’s newly announced green deal home improvement fund (GDHIF) offers homeowners grants of up to £6,000 for solid wall insulation and/or up to &…

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Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 May 2014 at 8:29 am

Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

Households in England and Wales will be given up to £7,600 each to install solid wall insulation, double glazing and new boilers in another move designed to prop up the flagging green deal. The government’s green deal home improvement fund (GDHIF), which opens in June, will offer …

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How do I get an MCS certificate if my installer went out of business?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 April 2014 at 10:53 am

How do I get an MCS certificate if my installer went out of business?

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) has launched its process for obtaining MCS certificates for homeowners whose installation companies have ceased trading or are no longer MCS certified. The paperwork-intensive process consists of filling in a form with details of yourself, your i…

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Reader's tip of the month - April 2014

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 April 2014 at 9:09 am

Reader's tip of the month - April 2014

This month's tip comes from Lehigh51 who has installed solar PV, solar thermal, a ground source heat pump and rainwater harvesting. "Truly everything has worked as well as I could hope and I am very pleased. My expenditure is within acceptable parameters. My electricity bill is …

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Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 29 April 2014 at 1:07 pm

Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

If you’re getting a green deal assessment for the purposes of claiming government incentives for your renewable heat system, make sure you have the minimum levels of insulation required first. Unless you’re planning to use a green deal loan to fund the work, or hoping you might qu…

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Homebuilding and renovating show - the good, the bad and the ugly

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 April 2014 at 10:59 am

Homebuilding and renovating show - the good, the bad and the ugly

From the sublime to the ridiculous, there were all sorts of goodies vying for attention at the Homebuilding & Renovating Show in Birmingham at the end of March. Tasha and I both visited and here's a summary of some the things we found interesting. Cathy's favourites Did you kn…

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What are the rules about extending my solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 April 2014 at 11:28 am

What are the rules about extending my solar panels?

Q: I have a 3kw solar PV system installed for 3 years now. Originally the roof suffered from shading but I have now removed a tree so could fit another one or two panels. I purchased an extra two panels originally as spares. Could I fit these (using an accredited fitter) and claim the feed-i…

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Small solar must be maintained to meet Solar Strategy goals

Posted by James Page on 24 April 2014 at 11:32 am

Small solar must be maintained to meet Solar Strategy goals

20GW of solar generated electricity was always going to be an ambitious target, but at least the new Solar Strategy (published earlier this month) keeps it alive. Like any long term investment solar will continue to need government support (the writing of the document was outsourced to a…

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Solar panels and feed-in tariffs: making solar pay while the sun shines

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 April 2014 at 9:22 am

Solar panels and feed-in tariffs: making solar pay while the sun shines

It’s one of those crisp blue early spring days that are made for being outside. But Mike Meyerstein is inside doing the hoovering. To misuse a well-known phrase, Mike is making solar pay while the sun shines (sorry). Such is the life of a solar electricity generator. As drawbacks to…

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Domestic renewable heat incentive: your questions answered

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 April 2014 at 1:14 pm

Domestic renewable heat incentive: your questions answered

This blog was originally published on 21 September 2012, substantially updated on 25 July 2013, and updated again on 9 & 19 December 2013 and 10 April 2014 and 10 November 2014 and 5 March 2015. We hosted a live online Q&A with the Department of Environment and Climate Change on 28 Ju…

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Clever heating controls may be the must-have new gadgets

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 April 2014 at 10:23 am

Clever heating controls may be the must-have new gadgets

For most of us controlling our home heating involves setting a timer for the heating to come on morning and evening, setting a room thermostat, and that's about it. We might adjust the thermostat occasionally, or twiddle the individual radiator thermostats every now and then, but mostly the h…

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How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 April 2014 at 2:20 pm

How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

Now the domestic renewable heat incentive is finally live, anyone with an eligible installation will be champing at the bit to get started. To apply, you need three pieces of documentation: Your MCS certificate (supplied by your installer at the time of commissioning); Your green deal…

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Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 14 April 2014 at 9:10 am

Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

The government has a new ally in the battle to increase uptake of the foundering green deal: local authorities. Greg Barker has just announced the winners of the bid for a share of the £88m set aside for their so-called green deal communities scheme.  The scheme will give …

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How much will my biomass boiler installation cost?

Posted by FairEnergy . on 9 April 2014 at 7:30 am

How much will my biomass boiler installation cost?

The price of a biomass boiler can vary greatly. It ranges upwards from around £10,000 for a small domestic log system and from around £20,000 for a standard commercial installation heating two or more buildings. After making an initial enquiry to an installer you should expect to rece…

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Is this the end of the air source heat pump loophole?

Posted by Alistair Pilcher on 7 April 2014 at 9:15 am

Is this the end of the air source heat pump loophole?

Meeting the new energy efficiency and CO2 emissions targets for the construction of new buildings will become tougher when the latest revision to the Building Regulations soon comes into force. This should close a loophole where builders could adopt a limiting (worst case) thermal fabric app…

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Number of accredited boilers for domestic RHI

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 April 2014 at 9:13 am

Number of accredited boilers for domestic RHI

If you’re thinking of installing a biomass boiler and are hoping to take advantage of government incentives for renewable heat, then choose your product carefully. I learnt this week that while there are more than 500 biomass boilers MCS-accredited biomass boiler currently listed by Ofg…

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My heat pump heats two properties, is it eligible for domestic RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 April 2014 at 10:03 am

My heat pump heats two properties, is it eligible for domestic RHI?

Q: My property is made up of the principal property that I live in (The Mill), it also has a flat that I rent out (Mill Studio) that is part of the same building but has a separate entrance, electric meter and council tax bill. I fitted 1 x Nibe F1245 water source heat pump replacing 2 x oil boil…

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Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 31 March 2014 at 8:24 am

Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

Anyone who has ever worked in a commercial kitchen knows how temperatures can soar. Throwing open the windows and sticking on the fans is the obvious solution. But now an innovative new technology has been developed which harnesses the heat kicked out by stoves and fridges to heat water. …

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I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 March 2014 at 8:41 am

I am off-gas and on benefits. Can I get help replacing broken storage heaters?

Q. My mother is an 87-year old who lives by herself in her own home and is in receipt of pension credit. Her home is run on electricity and she has three storage heaters. One of these broke a while ago and last week the one in the front room broke. She now has just one working heater wh…

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Are heated skirting boards any good for use with heat pumps?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 March 2014 at 9:13 am

Are heated skirting boards any good for use with heat pumps?

Radiators or underfloor heating? That has been the traditional question asked among those considering installing an air or ground source heat pump. But should we consider a new contender on the market? A study in Sweden has found that heated skirting boards are significantly more effectiv…

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How to get your ideal solar PV system

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 21 March 2014 at 10:50 am

How to get your ideal solar PV system

The decision to install solar PV panels can be motivated by a number of factors. Whether you’ve had enough of the Big Six et al constantly upping their prices and want a bit of stability or decided that the interest rates on offer from your banks aren't as good as those from solar, ever…

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What can I do if I think my energy performance certificate is wrong?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 19 March 2014 at 8:31 am

What can I do if I think my energy performance certificate is wrong?

Q. I have recently bought and moved into a new house. The house was built seven years ago and the energy performance certificate (EPC) dates from 2009. It states approximate bills of £128 lighting, £43 heating and £117 hot water. I thought this was a good guide taking …

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Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 March 2014 at 2:25 pm

Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

Test drive a green car, quiz a renewable energy installer and find out about the renewable heat incentive direct from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Ofgem. These are just some of the treats on offer at the south west's largest energy efficiency and renewable energy show. …

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