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5 things to bear in mind when buying LED lightbulbs

Posted by Tom Bray on 23 February 2015 at 1:30 pm

5 things to bear in mind when buying LED lightbulbs

Over the last few years there has been a real shift in awareness and attitudes surrounding energy efficient lighting. LED lights are currently spearheading the way. Whether it’s a business or a family home, LEDs are being used all over with the promise of reducing energy consumption and ele…

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Anyone else with a Klover BiFire stove no longer eligible for RHI payments?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 February 2015 at 11:40 am

Q: Today I received an email from Ofgem saying that my Klover Bifire stove which I installed last year (and for which I have received one payment under the Domestic Scheme) was incorrectly classed as eligible under the scheme. They have stopped all payments and advise that it is illegal for them …

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How to sell solar PV: tips for installers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 February 2015 at 10:05 am

How to sell solar PV: tips for installers

Build your reputation, do due diligence and change the way you sell solar says Rexel UK's energy solutions director Jerry Hamilton. Speaking at the Solar Energy UK Roadshow he advised installers that local reputation is far the best way of getting referrals and jobs. This is something we …

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Changes to regulations for domestic RHI now in force

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 February 2015 at 2:08 pm

Changes to regulations for domestic RHI now in force

Rules about the sustainability of biomass fuel and the following changes to the regulations for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) came into force on 5 February 2015. Cooker stoves “Cooker stoves” are biomass stoves with a back boiler that are predominantly designed f…

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Ten top tips for major energy saving home improvements

Posted by Jonathan Atkinson on 6 February 2015 at 8:12 am

Ten top tips for major energy saving home improvements

With a goal of reducing costs and carbon emissions by 80%, Carbon Co-op ran a 'deep retrofit' project for nine of our owner-occupier members last year. The Community Green Deal project was funded by DECC and run as a pilot.  Work on the first phase of houses took place last year,…

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Feed-in tariff for Solar PV to decrease in April

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 February 2015 at 10:14 am

Feed-in tariff for Solar PV to decrease in April

The feed-in tariff rates from 1 April 2015 have now been announced. There has been a 1.6% cost of living increase across the board for those who are already receiving feed-in tariff payments.  There is a surprise reduction in the rate for most sizes of solar PV installed from 1 April 201…

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Two million children are growing up cold due to cold homes leaking heat

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 February 2015 at 10:39 am

Two million children are growing up cold due to cold homes leaking heat

Cold Homes Week begins today (2-6th Feb), and fuel poverty is again firmly back on the political agenda. The harsh reality is that thousands of people die because they simply can’t afford to turn on their heating. Two million children are growing up cold. They face twice the likelihood of c…

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Readers' tips of the month - January 2015

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2015 at 9:57 am

Readers' tips of the month - January 2015

Mistakes are always one of the best learning opportunities, so we're always grateful when readers share theirs making it possible for the rest of you to get the learning without the pain of getting it wrong first. And pain is what this retired widow from Staffordshire experienced at the h…

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How to benefit from solar hot water with a combi boiler

Posted by Stuart Elmes on 28 January 2015 at 9:34 am

How to benefit from solar hot water with a combi boiler

A combi boiler provides central heating and hot water. Hot water is heated on demand as cold water flows through a heat exchanger in the boiler on its way to the taps.  This type of boiler accounted for 77% of all new boilers sold in the UK in the last 12 months and around 50% of all homes n…

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Does Chop-Cloc really reduce energy bills? A review

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 January 2015 at 9:58 am

Does Chop-Cloc really reduce energy bills? A review

What if there was a device that could knock up to 30 per cent off your heating bills without you even noticing the difference? The Chop-Cloc, which hit the market last year claims to do exactly that simply by turning off your heating for a period every hour. The idea is that your heating&rsqu…

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Book your discounted tickets for the Renewable Energy Marketplace now

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 January 2015 at 10:13 am

Book your discounted tickets for the Renewable Energy Marketplace now

The south west’s biggest energy event; everything you need to know about renewable energy, energy efficiency measures and generation. Join us for talks, demos and to meet the 100+ exhibitors at Westpoint Arena on Tuesday 21 April. This year, expert advice will be available in five dedic…

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Do I need to have a green deal assessment to apply for dRHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 January 2015 at 10:23 am

Do I need to have a green deal assessment to apply for dRHI?

Q: I have an EPC and a flat panel solar water heater.  I need a Green Deal Assessment number to complete my RHI (renewable heat incentive) claim. How do I go about getting one?    A: You will have to have a green deal assessment. This is based on the EPC, but goes into more det…

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Should I keep the heating on all day?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 January 2015 at 4:47 pm

Should I keep the heating on all day?

Q: We own quite a large old stone house and each winter we have the same discussion! Should we leave the oil heating turning over at a low temperature (we like a cool temp of around 18) or use it during 2 or 3 periods of the day? The same for underfloor electric heating in the bathroom? A: Ge…

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Should I divert excess solar energy into my hot water cylinder?

Posted by Chris Jardine on 20 January 2015 at 4:48 pm

Should I divert excess solar energy into my hot water cylinder?

Most people don't use all the electricity they generate from their solar panels. Any excess is exported into the grid for someone else to use. But there are ways to keep and use more of your own electricity by using the surplus electricity to heat your hot water cylinder.  Opinions d…

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Can a village hall get a grant for a biomass boiler and claim RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 January 2015 at 9:27 am

Can a village hall get a grant for a biomass boiler and claim RHI?

Q: I have recently taken over as treasurer of a local village hall. Our heating is all electric. We want to put in a biomass boiler. With donations only will we qualify for renewable heat incentive (RHI)? If we get grants will we qualify for RHI? If we get a lottery grant will we qualify for RHI?…

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Win new business in 2015 with Solar Energy UK Installer Roadshow

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 January 2015 at 2:25 pm

Win new business in 2015 with Solar Energy UK Installer Roadshow

Solar Energy UK Installer Roadshow is a series of half day seminars that provide an accessible, educational opportunity for SME and commercial installers to learn more about all the latest trade essentials for running a successful solar business in the upcoming year. YouGen members get a 20% disc…

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Guidance on acceptable third party finance for RHI available for trade

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 January 2015 at 10:24 am

Guidance on acceptable third party finance for RHI available for trade

Do your customers want to install renewable heat, but struggle with the upfront cost? Unlike the feed-in tariff, where rent a roof (FIT) schemes are possible because FIT payments can go to a third party, the rules of the domestic renewable heat incentive (d-RHI) do not currently allow third parti…

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Time is running out for 'legacy' applications to the RHI

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2015 at 3:25 pm

If you installed an air source heat pump, ground source heat pump, wood pellet stove, biomass boiler or solar thermal system between 16 July 2009 and 8 April 2014 you may well be eligible to apply for the renewable heat incentive. This is the government's financial incentive to help homeowner…

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What should be included in a quote for solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2015 at 11:28 am

What should be included in a quote for solar panels?

Q: I have read your 10 questions to ask a potential installer. You say 'Make sure the quotation is comprehensive - it should itemise all the equipment'.  How can you know what should be there and what might be missing?  Also you suggest asking 'Are they qualified electrician…

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Is my solar thermodynamic system eligible for RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 January 2015 at 11:46 am

Is my solar thermodynamic system eligible for RHI?

This blog was amended on 14 January 2014 in light of the comment from Celtic Renewable Energy below Q: I have a solar thermal installation ECO 200esm manufactured by Energie thermodynamics. I have applied for the RHI (renewable heat incentive) and been refused by Ofgem. I have a green deal ce…

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Solar trade must address ignorance and lack of trust to boost solar sales

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 January 2015 at 2:50 pm

Solar trade must address ignorance and lack of trust to boost solar sales

There is a healthy appetite for solar panels among home owners in the UK, but the findings of a recent survey indicate that the solar trade still has considerable work to do to ramp up domestic installations.  The good news (for solar installers, not homeowners!) is that 81% of UK a…

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What YouGen readers liked: top 10 blogs of 2014

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 January 2015 at 2:01 pm

What YouGen readers liked: top 10 blogs of 2014

With an election on the horizon it's hard to know what's going to happen in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors in 2015. Maybe the political parties (and others) will be able to take a hint about what important to householder by looking at our most popular blog last year. T…

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How to ensure you get the best rate of Domestic RHI for biomass before 1 January 2015's fall

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 December 2014 at 9:28 am

How to ensure you get the best rate of Domestic RHI for biomass before 1 January 2015's fall

The rate of domestic renewable heat incentive (DRHI) for biomass boilers and stoves will decrease from 12.2p per kWh to 10.98p for all installations made on or after 1 January 2015. This is because, just six months after the DRHI launched, forecast expenditure for biomass has exceeded the gov…

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How can I store my solar generated electricity to use at night?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 December 2014 at 10:24 am

How can I store my solar generated electricity to use at night?

Q: How can solar power produced in the summer during the day be stored for use at night or in the winter? Converted to hydrogen or stored in batteries?  A: There are a number of options that you can take to use more of your solar generated power. Some are (relatively) cheap and chee…

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Can I believe this solar salesman?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2014 at 3:09 pm

Can I believe this solar salesman?

Q: We had a salesman/assessor  around last week. I was quite impressed with his spiel, but I did not sign up on the spot, as I wanted to do some research. Reviews of the company are mixed. The poor reviews seem to be mainly based on the pushiness and the hard sell of the salesman, but o…

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Can you insulate a steel framed house?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 December 2014 at 3:23 pm

Can you insulate a steel framed house?

Q: My question relates to the bead type of insulation. We own a steel frame property and had the insulation put in a few years ago. There have been no issues with it for us but we are hoping to sell our property.  However, the buyer is making the insulation a big issue as they have heard tha…

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GDHIF for solid wall insulation runs out in less than two days

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 December 2014 at 3:39 pm

GDHIF for solid wall insulation runs out in less than two days

Just a day and a half after the green deal home improvement fund opened for applications at 9am yesterday, the £24m worth of funding for solid wall insulation has all been allocated.  Applications for solid wall insulation have now closed. However, it is still possible for househol…

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Why have wood pellet prices for biomass boilers risen so much?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 December 2014 at 9:44 am

Why have wood pellet prices for biomass boilers risen so much?

Q: I installed a Grant wood pellet boiler in May 2013. Prior to installation, I monitored Enplus A1 pellet prices for about a year. They seemed to hover around the £230 a tonne for 10kg bags. Since installing the price has crept up to £262 (Liverpool fuels balcas brites). I have been …

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Grants of up to £5,600 available for insulation and other home improvements

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 December 2014 at 10:35 am

Grants of up to £5,600 available for insulation and other home improvements

STOP PRESS: the £24m available for solid wall insulation ran out after a day and a half. Get your skates on! Up to £30m of grants is available with a new release of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF). This next tranche of funding will open to new applications tomorrow (9…

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Which is best: solar thermal or solar PV with a immersion switch?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 December 2014 at 9:07 am

Which is best: solar thermal or solar PV with a immersion switch?

Q: My question is whether solar thermal or solar panels would be the best investment. We have a large unshaded roof, facing less than 5 degrees from due south. Its a 3 bed semi with solid walls and a new gas boiler with insulated pipes and a dual coil cylinder in the loft. We have cold fill appli…

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Why aren't there more solar panels on industrial roofs?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 December 2014 at 2:40 pm

Why aren't there more solar panels on industrial roofs?

We have had a number of questions from readers recently asking why there aren't more solar panels on industrial roofs, and suggesting that they would be more suitable places for solar farms than green fields. It's a good question, especially as I've lost count of how many times I'…

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How is solar generation spread across the year?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 December 2014 at 11:35 am

How is solar generation spread across the year?

Q: Approximately what is the increase in available light for generation of electricity in April to September compared to the winter months of October to March? A: While I haven't been able to lay my hands on details of the available light I can illustrate the variations in generation that…

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Readers' tip of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 November 2014 at 3:04 pm

Readers' tip of the month

A ground source heat pump with underfloor heating provide the warmth in DeriM's new-build house which was constructed in 2008. But it's not all been a bed of roses, heat-wise. Here's what he's learned: "Having had some fairly massive electricity bills (c.£300) …

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Why are people who are eligible for renewable heat incentive failing to apply?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 November 2014 at 3:01 pm

Why are people who are eligible for renewable heat incentive failing to apply?

Have you installed a renewable heating system since 15 July 2009? If so, you are probably eligible to apply for the renewable heat incentive (RHI), a government scheme to encourage take up of air and groundsource heat pumps, solar water heating and biomass stoves and boilers. The scheme, which is…

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Have I got cavity wall insulation?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 November 2014 at 9:33 am

Have I got cavity wall insulation?

Q: We moved into this property 4 years ago, last year the outside wall felt very cold. We think we have got insulation in them, but can they be topped up if so. A: Cavity wall insulation, done right in a suitable property, can make a significant difference to warmth and comfort as it stops th…

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I've lost my MCS certificate. Can I still claim FITs/RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 November 2014 at 9:48 am

I've lost my MCS certificate. Can I still claim FITs/RHI?

MCS certificates are vital if you want to claim the feed-in tariff or the renewable heat incentive. If you have lost yours - or your installer never gave you one, and has gone out of business - don't despair. There is a way around it. As long as the installation was originally carried out…

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FITS to degress in January for all solar PV of 50kW or less

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 November 2014 at 2:42 pm

The feed-in tariff for solar PV panels will reduce by 3.5% from 1 January 2015 for all new installations of up to, but not exceeding, 50kW.  This is as part of the government's planned degression for the feed-in tariff.  Changes to FIT rates from 1 January 2015 …

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Can I power infrared heating from my solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 November 2014 at 10:11 am

Can I power infrared heating from my solar panels?

Q: Having had solar panels installed a few years ago, the same company is trying to sell me infrared heating for inside the house which will use electricity generated by the panels. Do you have any advice about infra red heating? I currently have gas central heating using a combi boiler. …

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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?

See: Air Source Heat Pump: Is it right for your home? 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 or…

Read More | 6 comments

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'…

Read More | 13 comments

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…

Read More | 2 comments

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…

Read More | 3 comments

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&…

Read More | 2 comments

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…

Read More | 9 comments

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…

Read More | 4 comments

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 …

Read More | 7 comments

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…

Read More | 8 comments

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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