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Early adopters continue to call for equal feed-in tariffs

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 January 2011 at 9:50 am

Early adopters continue to call for equal feed-in tariffs

While the feed-in tariff is being hailed as a great success, and solar PV installations are sky rocketing, the voice of early adopters has disappeared from the media. However, a group of microgeneration pioneers who are receiving just 9p per kWh generation tariff (compared to the 43.1p received by t…

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Access to finance is a major barrier to microgeneration

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 January 2011 at 9:58 am

Access to finance is a major barrier to microgeneration

Access to finance for renewable energy installations is a critical barrier for consumers, especially those for whom renewable heat would have the most benefits in reducing fuel poverty, according to research published by Consumer Focus Scotland.  In its report Power at Home, published in Nov…

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RHI announcements delayed until February

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 January 2011 at 10:17 am

RHI announcements delayed until February

Those anxiously waiting for news of what's going to be included in the renewable heat incentive and what the tariff levels are will have to wait a bit long according to the following announcement that the Renewable Energy Association just circulated to members:   Renewable Heat Incentive …

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Why using a solar quote site may cost you more than going direct

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 January 2011 at 3:17 pm

Why using a solar quote site may cost you more than going direct

Put solar energy into a search engine and you can almost guarantee that some of the results you get will be solar quote sites. If they aren't in the top 10, they will be in the ads at the side and top of the page. But did you know that you will almost certainly end up paying more for your solar pane…

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YouGen wins EU funding to develop

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 January 2011 at 12:41 pm

We are delighted to announce that we have won EU funding from Making it Local small grants programme to develop and improve YouGen. With it we will develop new services for installers, and improve our marketing and communication.   The funding is from the local action part of the Rural Devel…

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New installer training centre planned for Devon

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2010 at 10:24 am

New installer training centre planned for Devon

  Renewable energy installers of the future are going to have a great place to learn at a new development at Bicton College in East Devon. A couple of weeks ago, I had a tour of the site of Bicton EaRTH (Environmental and Renewable Technologies Hub) site and was impressed by the detail t…

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Solar PV panels installed on 10thC Saxon Church

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 November 2010 at 8:39 am

Solar PV panels installed on 10thC Saxon Church

Solar PV panels have just been installed in the Grade 1 listed, Saxon church in Wing, Buckinghamshire. Inspired by seeing the Bishop of Lincoln switching on a solar PV installation on a Grade 1 Listed church in Sleaford on Songs of Praise, former church warden Martin Findlay thought "we could do …

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FOI request reveals cost of paying feed-in tariffs to early adopters

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 November 2010 at 11:01 am

FOI request reveals cost of paying feed-in tariffs to early adopters

A freedom of information request has revealed the costs of paying early adopters of microgeneration the full feed-in tariff. DECC (the department of energy and climate change) estimates that: There are 4,936 installations affected. Annual cost in 2020 of allowing feed-in tariffs at …

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Feed-in tariff is proving a big success

Posted by David Hunt on 15 November 2010 at 9:01 am

Feed-in tariff is proving a big success

The government's feed-in tariff scheme has already got thousands of people generating their own electricity. When it launched the feed-in tariff scheme in April it was one of a range of policies aimed at inducing people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Now, just five months later, an…

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Renewable heat incentive: to wait, or go ahead?

Posted by Roger Croft on 10 November 2010 at 9:57 am

Renewable heat incentive: to wait, or go ahead?

Anyone considering a renewable heating technology such as: solar hot water, biomass, ground or air source heat pumps, may be best placed to wait for a detailed announcement on rates and technologies covered by the Renewable Heat Incentive. However, self builders, broken-down boilers…

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MCS and the use of subcontractors: how it all works

Posted by John Martin on 9 November 2010 at 10:46 am

MCS and the use of subcontractors: how it all works

Who needs to be MCS approved (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) and how do subcontractors fit in? These questions are often asked by participants on QMSA's national seminar programme. Under MCS it is the business that is approved and not the individual engineers. MCS allows a business to beco…

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Solar thermal and other questions: what we do and don't know about the Renewable Heat Incentive

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 November 2010 at 11:17 am

Solar thermal and other questions: what we do and don't know about the Renewable Heat Incentive

This is an extract from a blog by Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council on the renewable heat incentive: We do know: DECC has secured Treasury approval for the overall spending envelope for the RHI up to and including 2014/15 – £860m in total; these funds are 20%…

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Schools lead the way on energy efficiency

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 October 2010 at 3:14 pm

Schools lead the way on energy efficiency

Electricity consumption has halved at an award-winning Devon school thanks to the energy saving measures it has introduced. Okehampton College’s good practice and leadership role was recognised as it was a finalist at the 2010 Ashden Awards. The college has replaced 3,000 fluorescent lights wit…

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Deeming export of electricity for feed-in tariff

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 October 2010 at 9:05 am

Deeming export of electricity for feed-in tariff

Deeming is usually associated with the proposed renewable heat incentive, but it is also used in the feed-in tariff to estimate the amount of electricity that is exported to the grid by microgeneration systems. We recently received the following question: "It would be interesting and informative …

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Spending review: a solar industry view

Posted by Howard Johns on 21 October 2010 at 10:07 am

Spending review: a solar industry view

Well it is the day after the spending review and I can’t help feeling the renewables sector has been very lucky. The Feed in Tariff (FiT) will remain and we are going to have a renewable heat incentive (RHI). After months of campaigning and ups and downs the waiting game is over and the solar indu…

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Spending review: what it means for home owners

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 October 2010 at 4:27 pm

Spending review: what it means for home owners

Given the dread with which most of the renewables world has anticipated the comprehensive spending review, it has been quite a good day. The Chancellor confirmed that there will be a renewable heat incentive and that he (probably) won't be tinkering with the feed-in tariff before the first scheduled…

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Uncertainty over renewable heat is delaying installations

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 October 2010 at 12:37 pm

Uncertainty over renewable heat is delaying installations

People are delaying installing renewable heat technologies such as solar hot water panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps until they know whether or not the renewable heat incentive is going ahead according to our new poll. 85% of respondents to a YouGen poll said they are waiting until they know wh…

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Radical ideas to change the energy sector wanted

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 October 2010 at 12:22 pm

Radical ideas to change the energy sector wanted

Have you ever had an idea about how we could do things better? Well now's your chance to feed-in to what the future of energy generation, distribution, storage and use might look like. Ideas tend to come when your mind's not on them. When you're out for a walk, having a shower, cooking the tea. N…

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Feed-in tariffs: make sure your installer is accredited

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

Feed-in tariffs: make sure your installer is accredited

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

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7 days left to register for feed-in tariff (from ROCs)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 September 2010 at 2:22 pm

7 days left to register for feed-in tariff (from ROCs)

Around 1,500 early adopters of microgeneration haven't yet transferred from the renewable obligation (RO) scheme to feed-in tariffs. All microgenerators with a solar PV, wind or micro-hydro system of less than 50 kW) that was registered under the renewable obligation MUST fill out a form and return …

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Renewable heat incentive: uncertainty lessens a bit

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 September 2010 at 4:12 pm

Renewable heat incentive: uncertainty lessens a bit

Chris Huhne admitted that he and Oliver Letwin had forgotten about the renewable heat incentive when they were drafting the coalition agreement - and so take some responsibility for the uncertainty around it. He also said "we see heat as being an absolutely essential part of meeting our renew…

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Chris Huhne breaks promise to microgeneration pioneers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 September 2010 at 10:06 am

Chris Huhne breaks promise to microgeneration pioneers

Caroline Lucas (Brighton, Pavilion) (Green):  Will the Government backdate the clean energy cashback scheme and any future renewable heat incentive to ensure that those who pioneer the technology are properly rewarded and supported? Chris Huhne: The hon. Lady makes a point that is dear to m…

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Government breaks feed-in tariff promise for early adopters

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 September 2010 at 5:44 pm

Government breaks feed-in tariff promise for early adopters

Tories and LibDems both promised equal feed-in tariff rates to early adopters of renewable energy in the run up to the general election. Now the coalition government has broken that promise and we're calling on early adopters, and others that care about the shift to renewable energy, to let their M…

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Feed-in tariff registration: why is it taking so long?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 September 2010 at 9:55 am

Feed-in tariff registration: why is it taking so long?

I've heard a number of complaints from people about how long it's taking to register their solar or wind installation for the feed-in tariff, so when I was talking to Ofgem about grants this week, I asked about that too. It appears that the delay is mostly in migrating installations that were reg…

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Good news on grants and feed-in tariffs

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 September 2010 at 2:22 pm

Good news on grants and feed-in tariffs

Many schools and community groups are being told they can claim the feed-in tariff and keep grants received under the Low Carbon Building Programme, following months of uncertainty. Under threat of having to pay back their grant many organisations faced financial difficulty. Their calculations pr…

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Poll reveals Government is on the wrong track with Green Deal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 August 2010 at 12:01 pm

Poll reveals Government is on the wrong track with Green Deal

The Government is talking to big national retailers about delivering the Green Deal, yet our poll on YouGen found that 84% of people would trust locally-based, specialist suppliers more than national retailers such as M&S, Tesco (15%). The idea for the poll came from Greg Barker saying that "…

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Biogas -an inspiring tale from the Ashden Awards

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 August 2010 at 10:56 am

Biogas -an inspiring tale from the Ashden Awards

Inspiring is the only word to describe a day at the Ashden Awards 2010. Sustainable energy champions from around the UK and from the all over the world are recognised for the work they do, and it’s a great privilege to hear them describing the difference they make to people’s lives. The overs…

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Overcoming obstacles to microgeneration part 4: consumer confidence

Posted by on 13 August 2010 at 9:26 am

Overcoming obstacles to microgeneration part 4: consumer confidence

Anyone investing in microgeneration will need between £4,000 and £25,000 to get set up. This is significant expenditure for any household and the homeowner wants peace of mind that they are opting for the right technology at the right scale and the right people to install it. Our survey confirm…

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Is water the new carbon?

Posted by Barry Nutley on 15 July 2010 at 11:20 am

Is water the new carbon?

I've mentioned the importance of water saving in previous blogs, but is it set to become the most talked about environmental issue? I recently read an article eluding to this: David Symons, director of consultancy WSP Environment & Energy, before his presentation at IWEX on Wednesday, Is w…

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Can Greg Barker, and his Green Deal, make insulation sexy?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 July 2010 at 10:56 am

Can Greg Barker, and his Green Deal, make insulation sexy?

Energy efficiency has been the poor relation of British energy policy, according to Greg Barker, minister for climate change in the coalition government. Speaking in the debate on energy efficiency on 30 June, he outlined how he plans to raise its status. He will: 1.    Introduce t…

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The Green Deal: who would you prefer to deliver it?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 July 2010 at 10:56 am

The Green Deal: who would you prefer to deliver it?

For mass take-up of energy saving measures we need effective financing schemes, so we welcome the glimpses of detail on the Green Deal that Greg Barker gave us at the end of June. However, it’s not enough to get a clear view of how the scheme will work. How will it be delivered? Barker said…

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Greg Barker launches microgeneration consultation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 July 2010 at 1:01 pm

Greg Barker launches microgeneration consultation

The government launched the first stage of its strategy to help communities become more self sufficient in how they use heat and power yesterday. “I want to see more homes, communities and businesses generating their own energy. We can literally bring power back to the people," said Greg Ba…

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Scottish home renewables grants expected to close in 3 weeks

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 July 2010 at 10:01 am

Scottish home renewables grants expected to close in 3 weeks

Scottish householders are being urged to snap up grants for home renewables before the cash runs out. Grants are still available for 30% of the cost, up to a maximum of £4,000 for heating technologies like wood pellet boilers, heat pumps or solar water heating. (The LCBP grants in England is alread…

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Feed-in tariffs: how to claim them

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

Feed-in tariffs: how to claim them

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

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Renewable Heat Incentive: 'deeming' explained

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 22 June 2010 at 10:53 am

Renewable Heat Incentive: 'deeming' explained

In the proposed Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), the calculation of how much will be paid for renewable heat production depends on the installation type, as follows: Small scale installation, such as in a home: each installation's entitlement is calculated by multiplying the payment per kW…

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Ask your MP for clarity about the Renewable Heat Incentive

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 June 2010 at 9:44 am

Ask your MP for clarity about the Renewable Heat Incentive

No one can confidently say that renewable heat is a good investment right now, as we don't know whether or not the promised renewable heat incentive will be introduced in April 2011 as laid out by the former Labour government. Making a significant investment when you can't confidently calculate the …

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Overcoming obstacles to microgeneration part 3: planning

Posted by on 11 June 2010 at 9:32 am

Overcoming obstacles to microgeneration part 3: planning

Planning permission for renewable energy and microgeneration brings up such a wide range of issues that we're worried you might fall asleep at your computer if we covered them all. So, in this blog, we focus on: The process of planning application and approval Planning directives The pr…

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Tell Dave and Nick what you think of their energy plans

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 June 2010 at 9:22 am

Tell Dave and Nick what you think of their energy plans

The government is asking for our views on its programme for government. We've had a look at its proposed measures for energy and climate change, and our response is below. You can comment too - but get your skates on, they want to hear from us by Thursday 10 June. Our first thought is of motherho…

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Barriers to microgeneration part 2: finance

Posted by on 31 May 2010 at 9:37 pm

Barriers to microgeneration part 2: finance

Initial capital outlay is a major barrier to installing microgeneration systems, whatever someone's motivation. Renewable energy installations can cost from £4,000 to £25,000. Access to sums of capital of this size is not realistic for most UK homeowners. So how do we get around this? Especiall…

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Uncertainty ahead as Low Carbon Building Programme is cut

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 May 2010 at 12:31 pm

Uncertainty ahead as Low Carbon Building Programme is cut

The Low Carbon Building Programme (LCBP) grants scheme closed to new applications on Monday. We're calling on the Government to act quickly to eliminate the state of uncertainty facing  consumers and the renewable heat industry as a result. The cut came as part of the Department of Energ…

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Coalition plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 May 2010 at 4:20 pm

Coalition plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency

So now we know what the department of Energy and Climate Change's priorities are. It believes that "climate change is one of the gravest threats we face, and that urgent action at home and abroad is required. We need to use a wide range of levers to cut carbon emissions, decarbonise the economy and …

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Why on earth would an energy company want me to use less energy?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 May 2010 at 2:03 pm

Why on earth would an energy company want me to use less energy?

It's so counter intuitive, I struggle to get my head round it. Why would an energy company want me to use less energy? And, stemming from that, why would the Government use energy companies – whose main interest is surely to sell more energy – to deliver their main energy efficiency measures?&nb…

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Barriers to microgeneration, and how to overcome them.

Posted by on 12 May 2010 at 10:03 am

Barriers to microgeneration, and how to overcome them.

Using microgeneration technology to produce heat and power at home could deliver large amounts of energy, help increase the UK's energy security, reduce our carbon emissions and have a positive influence on consumer behaviour towards energy use. So why are only around 100,000 homes in the UK …

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Renewable Heat Incentive consultation: YouGen's response

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 April 2010 at 10:29 am

Renewable Heat Incentive consultation: YouGen's response

The Renewable Heat Incentive consultation closes today. Here is YouGen's response. If you want to respond yourself, you can email DECC's renewable financial incentives team. Key Issues We strongly ask you to reconsider your policy of excluding those who had systems installed prior to July …

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Some questions for prospective parliamentary candidates

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 April 2010 at 9:22 am

Some questions for prospective parliamentary candidates

I know it's unlikely, but if you're short of questions to ask the people seeking your vote on 6 May, here are a few ideas from the combined forces of of the renewable energy industry's trade associations. They published Zero Carbon Switch: Joint Manifesto for Renewables last week, to coincide with t…

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How to buy renewable electricity

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 April 2010 at 10:18 am

How to buy renewable electricity

Until recently the electricity market was flooded with 'green' tariffs, usually for a premium price, with no clear indication of what made them 'green'. Were they just packaging up the renewable energy that they are obliged  to produce under the government’s Renewables …

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Wind farm in my backyard? Yes please

Posted by Gilly Jones on 31 March 2010 at 9:47 am

Wind farm in my backyard? Yes please

Two wind turbines constitute a wind farm. That's just one of the many facts I learned last week on a tour of the Roskrow Barton Wind Farm near Penryn in Cornwall, courtesy of the The Cornwall Light and Power Company (CLP).   Members of Sid Valley Energy Action Group (SVEAG) invited me…

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Renewable Heat Incentive: join the campaign for equal treatment for existing generators

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 March 2010 at 10:19 am

Renewable Heat Incentive: join the campaign for equal treatment for existing generators

More and more people are calling for the renewable heat incentive (also known as the Clean Energy Cashback) to treat existing microgenerators equally. At RegenSW's consultation conference in Bristol earlier this month property developers and installers were flagging it up as important for the scheme…

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Conservative energy policy is a damp squib for renewables

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 March 2010 at 9:30 am

Conservative energy policy is a damp squib for renewables

Twelve actions "to put our energy system back on its feet" are at the heart of the long awaited Conservative energy policy which was finally launched last Friday. Of them, three relate directly to domestic renewable energy and energy efficiency, but it's difficult to see that they add much new to th…

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Renewable Heat Incentive: A homeowners guide

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 March 2010 at 2:09 pm

Renewable Heat Incentive: A homeowners guide

Heat is the biggest use of energy in the UK. Just under half of the UK's CO2 emissions and 60% of domestic energy bills are used on heating space and water. Heat in the UK is currently supplied predominantly by fossil fuels - less than 1% comes from renewable sources. The proposed renewable h…

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Renewable Heat Incentive is welcomed by industry

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 March 2010 at 10:42 am

Renewable Heat Incentive is welcomed by industry

Ambitious and far-reaching were just some of the words delegates used to welcome the Renewable Heat Incentive proposals at yesterday's consultation event organised by RegenSW. However, they said that more education about renewable heat is needed if the Renewable Heat Incentive is going to suc…

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EDM adds weight to campaign for equal rates for microgeneration pioneers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 March 2010 at 9:29 am

EDM adds weight to campaign for equal rates for microgeneration pioneers

Sixty seven MPs have signed early day motion 953 calling for equal clean energy cashback (feed-in tariff) for pioneer microgenerators. You can check whether your MP is one of them on the parliament website. If not, why not ask them to sign it. The easiest way to do this is at Write to Them. The m…

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Warm homes, greener homes: the government's vision for 2020

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 March 2010 at 9:32 pm

Warm homes, greener homes: the government's vision for 2020

Reduced energy use, savings on energy bills and more comfortable homes in cold weather are the benefits claimed by government of its household energy management strategy, Warm Homes, Greener Homes launched on Tuesday at Ecobuild by Ed Miliband. Its aims are that: Every home, where practic…

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Renewable energy is coming to a supermarket near you

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 March 2010 at 10:31 am

Renewable energy is coming to a supermarket near you

"I'm just popping down to Tesco for a solar panel" doesn't sound right somehow. Maybe it's just me, but I not sure that the entry of the supermarkets into the renewable energy market is a good thing.  Sainsbury is first out of the starting gates. It opened Home Energy Centres in three of its…

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Three ways we could improve UK feed in tariffs

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 22 February 2010 at 9:17 pm

Three ways we could improve UK feed in tariffs

I am a stalwart supporter of feed in tariffs, and anticipate a revolution in UK microgeneration in the next few months as a result. Their introduction is long overdue. However, on Monday I sat through a lengthy discussion both of feed in tariffs (FiTs) and the proposed renewable heat incentiv…

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Conservatives support fair treatment for all microgenerators

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 February 2010 at 9:07 am

Conservatives support fair treatment for all microgenerators

If elected, the Conservatives will pay early adopters of microgeneration technologies the same rate of Clean Energy Cashback (the government's new financial incentive for renewable generation) as new installers according to a new campaigning website. Charles Hendry, the shadow minister for energy…

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Energy efficiency a priority for M&S home insurance

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 February 2010 at 9:41 am

Energy efficiency a priority for M&S home insurance

Recently I asked whether renewable energy affects your house insurance. In the twittering that followed the blog's publication I discovered a home insurance policy that stands out from the crowd for the approach it takes to energy efficiency. Ever since Stuart Rose announced its Plan A, M&S h…

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Feed-in tariff scheme is shortsighted

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 February 2010 at 12:46 pm

Feed-in tariff scheme is shortsighted

A last, we've got our foot firmly on the road to making renewable energy part of the UK's energy mix. Yes, the Feed-in Tariff rates could be higher. The government's goals for microgeneration could have been more ambitious. But the rates are probably attractive enough, especially in the current e…

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Feed-in tariff: your questions answered

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 February 2010 at 12:02 pm

Feed-in tariff: your questions answered

Read the updated version of this article here. The introduction of the feed-in tariff (known as Clean Energy Cashback scheme) opens a new and exciting era for microgeneration. Here we answer some of the most common questions on the new scheme. If you've got any more, please add a comment bel…

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Feed-in tariff explained in video

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 February 2010 at 3:41 pm

For those of you who prefer your information visually, here's a great video from Solar Century.   …

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Feed-in tariff rates: the headline figures

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 February 2010 at 12:57 pm

Feed-in tariff rates: the headline figures

At last the uncertainty is over - we now know what the rates are for the Clean Energy Cashback (feed-in tariff) which starts on 1 April 2010. Its purpose is to encourage installations of wind turbines, solar photovoltaic panels, micro hydro and microCHP schemes of up to 5MW capacity to produce low …

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500 households to try Pay As You Save schemes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 February 2010 at 8:53 am

500 households to try Pay As You Save schemes

Talk on how to finance making your house more energy efficient has turned to action - that's the good news. The bad news is that it's a small scheme that will only reach about 500 households in five areas of England between December 2009 and April 2011. Households in Birmingham, Sunderland, Londo…

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Public wants ambitious support for microgeneration

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 January 2010 at 9:32 am

Public wants ambitious support for microgeneration

Renewable energy in homes, communities and businesses got a public vote of confidence this week, but needs ambitious goals and support from government to succeed. A new survey found that people are prepared to pay higher energy bills to support a stronger feed-in tariff. Two thirds of the pop…

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Generating energy from scrap materials

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 January 2010 at 10:27 am

Generating energy from scrap materials

Renewable energy really comes into its own when it's applied at village level in developing countries. While in the UK we argue about whether or microgeneration is eco-bling, there are 1.6 billion people in the world for whom it is the difference between light or dark in the evenings. So it's gre…

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Does renewable energy affect your house insurance?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 January 2010 at 10:20 am

Does renewable energy affect your house insurance?

We've had solar hot water panels for a couple of years now, but it was only recently, when asked by a visitor to this site, that I wondered what, if any implication they had for my house insurance. Happily, a quick call to the insurance company (NFU Mutual) was all I needed to find that it makes …

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Four reasons the renewable energy grants system is failing

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 January 2010 at 9:31 am

Four reasons the renewable energy grants system is failing

The Low Carbon Building Programme started out with worthy goals for domestic microgeneration. Sadly it is failing to achieve most of them, according to research from the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University1. Goal 1: support a more holistic approach to reducing carbon emissions by …

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What will 2010 bring for microgeneration?

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 18 January 2010 at 9:39 am

What will 2010 bring for microgeneration?

I have a growing feeling that 2010 will mark a watershed in the development of microgeneration in the UK . The introduction of feed-in tariffs (FiTs) from April marks a sea change in established attitudes to small scale renewables, and a very belated attempt by the UK to catch up with the rest of…

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Happy Christmas

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 December 2009 at 12:21 pm

Happy Christmas

Seasons Greetings to all our visitors. Our office is now closed until the 4 January 2010. We look forward to seeing you again then. Photo by Jenny Downing …

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Give the gift of light this Christmas

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 December 2009 at 1:51 pm

Give the gift of light this Christmas

We talk about fuel poverty here in the UK, but it's nothing compared to places like Africa, where people spend 15 to 20% of their income on kerosene. Not only is it expensive, but kerosene is also the main source of poison in Africa. Solar power has the potential to bring the gift of light to ma…

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Win a GEO Minim Home Energy Hub

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 December 2009 at 4:56 pm

Win a GEO Minim Home Energy Hub

YouGen will be giving away a GEO Minim Home Energy Hub every month for the next year, to thank people who recommend their renewable energy installer on the site. Everyone who makes a recommendation in the month will be entered in the draw. We're especially pleased to be able to offer a Mi…

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Back UK jobs, innovation and manufacturing through renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 December 2009 at 10:25 am

Back UK jobs, innovation and manufacturing through renewable energy

With the announcement of the final feed-in tariff rates postponed until (probably mid) January, a frenzy of lobbying has erupted for a more ambitious settlement that will deliver more renewable energy, and more British jobs in manufacturing and installing. If you want to join in, here are some sugge…

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Pedal power

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 December 2009 at 10:46 am

Pedal power

I've written before about how difficult it is to get a grip on energy, and understand how much it takes to do different things. Well, you really find out when you try to power a whole house for 24 hours just using cycle power. Luckily for those of us whose muscles don't  feel up to the task,…

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Prices vary hugely between renewable energy installers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 November 2009 at 11:17 am

Prices vary hugely between renewable energy installers

Prices for renewable energy installations vary wildly, making buying decisions difficult for homeowners, according to Power from the People, a new study by researchers at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute. In addition, there is little correlation between price and the gener…

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Feed-in rate announcement may be delayed

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 November 2009 at 4:07 pm

Feed-in rate announcement may be delayed

The much awaited results of the consultation on feed-in tariffs may take a little longer than hoped. Internal wrangling between government departments is to blame according to the Guardian, and it's not clear when we're going to find out. Ed Milliband had apparently hoped to have the policy i…

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YouGen Energy Expert wins installer of the year

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 November 2009 at 9:13 am

YouGen Energy Expert wins installer of the year

Congratulations to everyone at SunGift Solar which has won Installer of the Year in RegenSW's Green Energy Awards. Company founder Gabriel Wandrausch is one of YouGen's volunteer Energy Experts, contributing articles on solar hot water to the YouGen blog. SunGift Solar, which started as a solar t…

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Green party promises best finance scheme for microgeneration

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 November 2009 at 11:59 am

Green party promises best finance scheme for microgeneration

Proper insulation for every home and interest-free loans for domestic renewable energy are just some of the policies promised by the Green party if they win the next election. While it would be expensive, says Paula Black, Totnes councillor, and prospective Green Party parliamentary candidate for Ex…

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Energy: out of sight, out of mind?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 October 2009 at 10:17 am

Energy: out of sight, out of mind?

This week is Energy Saving Week, so it seems as good a time as any to think about energy and what it means to us. Despite the constant calls on us to be more energy efficient, the reality for most people is that we know next to nothing about our energy consumption. Most of us have a grasp of how …

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Learn how to generate your own electricity

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 October 2009 at 2:19 pm

Learn how to generate your own electricity

Wind farms - you either love them or you loathe them. I'm on the side of love. Ever since the first time I drove down the A395 in Cornwall, and they loomed, eerie and magnificent in the bleak dusk, I've been a wind turbine fan. So I'm excited to hear about Good Energy's Power from the People day …

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Building a thermal store - experience sought

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 October 2009 at 9:35 am

Building a thermal store - experience sought

Can anyone help Jeff B with this query: I am thinking of having a very large thermal store (of the order of 2000 litres capacity) to use with my 30kw wood pellet boiler. Due to space restrictions this would have to be located just outside the house. Does anyone have experience of making a wel…

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Equal feed-in tariff for existing generation has heavyweight support

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 September 2009 at 10:10 am

Equal feed-in tariff for existing generation has heavyweight support

Support for equal feed-in rates for those who already have small solar PV, wind turbines or hydro came from diverse parts of the renewable energy sector at yesterday's RegenSW conference in Bristol. Sponsor Christine Griffiths of Aeolus Power got her passionate call in early in the day - to be me…

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Is Carlos Tevez a green god?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 September 2009 at 9:36 am

Is Carlos Tevez a green god?

Manchester City's Carlos Tevez has "signed for the greens", according to the Daily Star following his move into "the country's most environmentally friendly superhome". A claim in the article that this makes him "probably the greenest footballer in the country" overlooks  David James' long-s…

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Low carbon UK is well down the pecking order

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 September 2009 at 11:35 am

Low carbon UK is well down the pecking order

How much does the government really care about shifting the UK to a low carbon economy? Not a lot is the only conclusion I can come to from its spending figures. Yesterday's Guardian published a wonderfully simple, easy to read, chart called the definitive atlas of UK government spending, created…

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Existing generators angry at feed-in cuts to income

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 September 2009 at 8:32 am

Existing generators angry at feed-in cuts to income

Feed-in tariffs are designed to incentivise people to invest in renewable sources of energy generation. Yet, the government's proposals will give much lower rates to existing microgenerators, leading to a cut in income for many. This seems a perverse move from government. The numbers of micro wi…

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Warm Front leaves many households cold

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 August 2009 at 2:29 pm

Warm Front leaves many households cold

The Warm Front scheme may be failing the poorest and most vulnerable households according to a report from the Public Accounts Committee published last month. Warm Front is meant to  improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel poverty through installing heating and insulation in eligible house…

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The case for secondary double glazing

Posted by Tim Pullen on 21 August 2009 at 12:08 pm

The case for secondary double glazing

I recently helped a lady refurbishing a typical 1960s three-bedroom semi with energy efficiency issues. A quick heat loss calculation gave a peak heat load of 8.5kW which should have equated to a use of about 10,000kWh of gas per year. Her actual gas consumption was 15,000kWh p.a. which was used…

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Off-grid versus on-grid microgeneration in practice

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 17 August 2009 at 11:57 am

Off-grid versus on-grid microgeneration in practice

I really needed a holiday this year. So when we arrived at the holiday cottage we had rented in Orkney and saw the 6kW wind turbine outside my heart sank a little. We had accidentally opted for two weeks of off-grid existence – and slightly dodgily designed off-grid existence at that – with only…

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Feed-in tariffs are not fair to renewable energy pioneers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 August 2009 at 9:17 am

Feed-in tariffs are not fair to renewable energy pioneers

Renewable energy pioneers have been dealt a dismal hand by DECC's proposed rates for the feed-in tariff. Existing microgenerators (whose installation has been accredited under the Renewable Obligation) will be automatically transferred to the feed-in tariff on a rate of 9p per kWh (kilowatt hours)…

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Welsh ease planning rules for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 August 2009 at 9:40 am

Welsh ease planning rules for renewable energy

Welsh planning rules for domestic renewable energy installations have been changed to make it easier for homeowners to generate their own heat and electricity. Following Scotland's lead, the Welsh Assembly has announced new regulations which mean that some microgeneration technologies will no lon…

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Will feed in tariffs change the market?

Posted by Matthew Rhodes on 7 August 2009 at 9:03 am

Will feed in tariffs change the market?

The announcement by the Government last month of proposed feed-in tariffs (FiTs) for renewables from next April marks a fundamental change in the way small scale renewables are incentivised in the UK, and is long overdue. There is no question that feed-in tariffs are the right mechanism to use. …

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What the renewable energy strategy and low carbon transition plan mean for your home

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 July 2009 at 3:01 pm

What the renewable energy strategy and low carbon transition plan mean for your home

Households are expected to make cuts in their carbon emissions of 29% by 2020 according to the Government's Low Carbon Transition Plan, announced by Ed Miliband last week (houses currently emit more than a third of the UK's carbon). This will be done through a combination of cutting the amount o…

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BBC's Freefall points to solar sales danger

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 July 2009 at 12:37 pm

BBC's Freefall points to solar sales danger

Dodgy salesmen, and the terrible impact they can have on their victim’s lives, was one aspect of last night’s powerful BBC drama Freefall (catch it here for a week). It took a look at the financial disaster we’re all in from three points of view: a City trader packaging up sub prime mor…

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Pioneering renewable energy finance scheme wins award

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 July 2009 at 8:50 am

Pioneering renewable energy finance scheme wins award

Loan schemes and finance for energy efficiency or renewable energy schemes are thin on the ground, so it's always good to hear about a new one. It's especially good to hear about a pioneering new approach that has the potential to be replicated around the country. I recently wrote about Kirklees…

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Breakthrough ideas for sustainability

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 July 2009 at 10:26 am

Breakthrough ideas for sustainability

Energy efficiency and renewable energy ideas featured heavily in the 19 breakthrough ways to transform the UK into a sustainable society launched by the Sustainable Development Commission last week. In the normal deluge of doom and gloom (and Andy Murray being knocked out of Wimbledon) it made a nic…

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Renewable energy for Devon

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 June 2009 at 11:19 am

Renewable energy for Devon

As a Devon resident it's great news to hear that our county council has won a prestigious award for its efforts to support renewable energy and boost a green rural regeneration. Devon County Council won the second local authority prize in the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy earlier this mon…

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UK renewables lag behind Europe

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 June 2009 at 10:53 am

UK renewables lag behind Europe

I’ve got good news and bad about the UK’s efforts at introducing renewable energy. For all the Government talk, you’d think that we’re doing quite well at generating heat and power from renewable sources. But, no, we’re not. In fact, if we compare ourselves with other European countries, o…

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Sustainable energy solutions recognised by Ashden Awards

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 June 2009 at 2:42 pm

Sustainable energy solutions recognised by Ashden Awards

Inspirational people combined with sustainable energy technologies makes me feel hopeful for the future, and at the Ashden Awards ceremony last night both abounded. The winners spoke humbly about their achievements, yet many of them are significantly transforming people's lives. For example the …

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Solar photo competition

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 June 2009 at 10:09 am

Solar photo competition

We Support Solar is running a photography competition to celebrate daylight in the UK. The campaign group is a network of organisations (including YouGen) and individuals who want solar power to be an important part of the renewable energy mix in the UK. To enter the competition you need to take…

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Selling the electricity you generate

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 June 2009 at 10:12 am

Selling the electricity you generate

If you think that choosing your utility supplier is complex and painful, then just wait until you start exploring the tariffs for exporting the electricity you generate back to the grid.  There are two main ways of selling your electricity. Some suppliers pay for all the electricity you gen…

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A short break

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 May 2009 at 9:57 am

A short break

YouGen's bloggers will have a week off while I go on holiday. Normal service returns from 1 June. …

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Support for solar hot water in Warwick

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 May 2009 at 10:18 am

Support for solar hot water in Warwick

Doubling the number of solar hot water systems installed homes in Warwick District is the aim of a great new project to support homeowners. The Solar 300 Challenge was launched last week by Action 21, a social enterprise which helps people live more sustainably. Their aim is to encourage more p…

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