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View blog posts for category: Solar electricity

Where do your solar PV panels come from?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 December 2015 at 10:15 am

Where do your solar PV panels come from?

I could ask a few more questions about this, such as ‘is it more important to you that they are cheap or that they are made in Europe?’, ‘do you worry that Chinese production will mean the closure of EU PV manufacturing plant?’, ‘are you concerned that panels which s…

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Should I cut down a tree shading my roof to make way for solar panels?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 10 December 2015 at 2:15 pm

Should I cut down a tree shading my roof to make way for solar panels?

Solar panels and trees aren’t always the best of companions. Branches and leaves may cast shade over your panels reducing their efficiency. This is an interesting moral dilemma. On one hand you have the benefits of reducing your carbon footprint by switching to solar power. On the other…

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Will V2G solve the problem of storing solar electricity?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 26 November 2015 at 12:05 pm

Will V2G solve the problem of storing solar electricity?

Vehicle to grid (V2G): There are about 43,000 electric vehicles on the road in the UK and that number is set to reach one million around 2020. [1,2] With the expectation of smart meters in every home by 2020, the market looks ripe for the growth of V2G systems. A V2G system combines energy ma…

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Can I move my solar panels to my new home and keep the Feed-in Tariff?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 25 November 2015 at 11:05 am

Can I move my solar panels to my new home and keep the Feed-in Tariff?

Q. Can I move my solar panels to my new house and keep my Feed-in Tariff (FiT)? A.  No. Any PV (Photovoltaic) system under 50 kWp that is transferred to another property would be treated as “second-hand” and would not be eligible for the FiT. When a property is sold PV system…

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55,000 responses to Feed-in Tariff consultation, 2600 unique and detailed

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 November 2015 at 10:15 am

55,000 responses to Feed-in Tariff consultation, 2600 unique and detailed

The Government response to the Feed-In Tariff consultation is now going to be published ‘in due course’. Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State at DECC, confirmed that the consultation which was launched on 27th August and closed on 23rd October had received nearly 55,000 responses.  …

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Should I buy a solar PV system now?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 20 November 2015 at 2:30 pm

Should I buy a solar PV system now?

The answer is yes, absolutely, but you had better get moving.  With tariffs set to reduce or disappear altogether in the new year, you probably have until 31st December 2015 to get your system in and your application for Feed-in Tariff (FiTs) payments to your supplier. Your FiTs applicat…

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When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 19 November 2015 at 11:34 am

When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?

The national grid is ill-equipped to deal with the intermittent supply of electricity from renewables. It was designed with energy production from fossil fuels in mind, leaving innovators and policy makers stuck with an ageing infrastructure which is costly to adapt. Of energy supply, Amber R…

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Is a more market sensitive Feed-in Tariff possible?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 November 2015 at 6:41 pm

Is a more market sensitive Feed-in Tariff possible?

As the green energy technology market continues to grow and develop, the policies and regulation surrounding them need to evolve. The introduction of smart meters in every home could make real-time pricing for both the selling and buying of energy become an intriguing and very real possibility. I…

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How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 29 October 2015 at 11:15 am

How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

A domestic electricity store (ie. lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries) could be one way to make the most of the free clean electricity that you are generating from your solar PV panels. These batteries will be familiar to you – lead-acid is often used in car batteries and lithium-ion is used…

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YouGen responds to government consultation on solar Feed-in Tariffs

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 October 2015 at 2:45 pm

YouGen responds to government consultation on solar Feed-in Tariffs

Consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme Response on behalf of YouGen YouGen is a website which attracts over 550,000 users each year. The site provides information and advice on renewables and energy efficiency measures. It also provides a well-used recommendation service t…

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Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 13 October 2015 at 9:45 am

Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

When we look at renewable electricity or heat generation the first consideration always seems to be the length of time that it will take for the technology to pay for itself. It makes sense: if you’re investing several thousand pounds you want to know that it will be worth it. But is it rig…

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Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 9 October 2015 at 2:45 pm

Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Are you one of those incensed by the current consultation to review the Feed-in Tariff? Are you unhappy that the government is back tracking on its pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever’? Do you think the cuts are going too far? Are you wondering why they would cut solar subsidie…

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How do I make the most of my solar panels?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 2 October 2015 at 10:30 am

How do I make the most of my solar panels?

If you were one of the early installers of solar PV and are receiving generation and export Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) then you are probably making a good profit. However, as the FiT has decreased, newer installers may be wondering how to use more of the electricity generated so that you don’t …

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Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Posted by NEF Gabby on 30 September 2015 at 9:52 am

Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) has been fined £200,000 for making nuisance calls. The firm, based in Glasgow, hired another company (which it now blames for the issue) to conduct its marketing campaign. This company then undertook a comprehensive cold calling campaign whic…

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How do I add more panels to my existing solar PV system?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 September 2015 at 12:45 pm

How do I add more panels to my existing solar PV system?

Q. I would like to have more panels added to my existing system.  What do I need to know? A. There are a few things to consider, mainly changes to the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) since your last install.  Firstly the price you get per kWh has decreased substantially.  When you fir…

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Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

Posted by Helena Ripley on 3 September 2015 at 10:50 am

Feed-in tariffs on rocky ground

The department for energy and climate change (DECC) has started a consultation on the future of feed-in tariffs (FiTs). The government is looking at phasing out the subsidy by 2018/19 but if the scheme can’t be put on an “affordable or sustainable footing” then payments of the g…

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Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

Posted by Helena Ripley on 25 August 2015 at 12:45 pm

Fitting PV on a commercial premises: STA guide

The Solar Trade Association (STA) recently produced a guide to fitting solar PV on a large roof. This contains a checklist of actions needed in order to successfully install a solar PV array on a commercial building. What are the benefits of solar PV on a commercial building? Commercial b…

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How FiTs and RHI made us £5000 a year better off!

Posted by Jacob Morris-Davies on 27 July 2015 at 11:55 am

How FiTs and RHI made us £5000 a year better off!

There is no denying it: upgrading your home with eco-technologies costs. However, it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you might think. There are a variety of government-led subsidies for those upgrading homes with green technology, and one couple in Abertridwr, South Wales, say they are &…

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How does degression work with FiTs?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 24 July 2015 at 2:25 pm

How does degression work with FiTs?

If you have installed a renewable energy technology or low carbon technology in the past few years and you are receiving Feed-in Tariff (FiT) payments then you may have come across the term degression. But what exactly is a degression, what is its purpose and how does it work? What is degress…

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Coloured solar panels - worth it?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 24 July 2015 at 1:50 pm

Coloured solar panels - worth it?

Over the last six months I have done a fair amount of research into photovoltaic solar panels. So I was surprised to discover recently that solar cells can be made in different colours. You might know all about this, but I had somehow missed the coloured solar developments! Coloured Rooftop S…

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Feed-in Tariffs Four Years On

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 21 July 2015 at 12:15 pm

Feed-in Tariffs Four Years On

Ofgem recently published a report on Year Four of the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) scheme (1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014). It makes for an interesting read, but rather than you trawling through the 50 page report, we’ve done it for you. Here are the highlights.  On 1 April 2010 the govern…

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Solar Independence Day - solar open days across the UK

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 June 2015 at 1:25 pm

Solar Independence Day - solar open days across the UK

Are you interested in Solar? From Cornwall to Aberdeen, the Solar Trade Association (STA) is holding open days for the public on 3 & 4 July.  Billed as Solar Independence Day this a unique opportunity to go and visit a solar farm or even a bus depot with a massive PV array. The …

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New feed-in tariffs from 1 July 2015

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 June 2015 at 10:10 am

New feed-in tariffs from 1 July 2015

If you aren’t already in the process of getting you Feed-in tariffs (FiTs) application in then you will probably end up with the new tariffs from 1 July. It’s all based on when your system is commissioned, so you don’t have much time. When the scheme was first introduced bac…

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Five ways to avoid the solar sharks!

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 June 2015 at 10:35 am

Five ways to avoid the solar sharks!

It used to be double glazing that was renowned for dodgy salesmen. Now some of the techniques they used are being kept alive by companies selling renewable energy technologies.  There are plenty of totally trustworthy companies out there, you can find many of them in our ‘find a&he…

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Wadebridge sets the standard - 1 in 10 households with solar PV

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 3 June 2015 at 11:25 am

Wadebridge sets the standard - 1 in 10 households with solar PV

Wadebridge in Cornwall is setting the standard for Solar Energy in the UK with one in ten households sporting Photovoltaic systems. Could this be partly because the local Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network has been promoting reductions in carbon emissions from the town and has a membership o…

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New tool to help detect problems in your solar panel performance

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 26 May 2015 at 10:30 am

New tool to help detect problems in your solar panel performance

Sheffield Solar Farm has developed an online tool to help you detect problems in your solar panel performance. The tool works by comparing the last six month’s data from your system with that of the surrounding hundred systems.  If the data from any one month differs from other loc…

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Do I need two inverters or one for my solar PV panels?

Posted by Cliff Wilson on 20 May 2015 at 10:30 am

Do I need two inverters or one for my solar PV panels?

Question: I have had a quote for PV with 1.75kWp on my south facing roof and 2.25kWp on my west facing roof.  I wanted to use the full 4kWp if at all possible to get the most FiT.  What I wanted to know was about the inverter.  My installer has only quoted for one inverter, but a f…

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Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

Posted by Gordon Glass on 18 May 2015 at 10:30 am

Green Open Homes: visit for inspiration in spring and autumn

This month is a busy one for Green Open Homes with events all over the country, from West Cornwall to Yorkshire. An estimated total of 200 homes are being opened up this spring for visitors, showcasing both low cost energy efficient improvements and larger more expensive options. Event locations …

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New lithium battery technology to store energy from solar PV panels

Posted by Gordon Glass on 13 May 2015 at 10:30 am

New lithium battery technology to store energy from solar PV panels

A houseowner in Lewes has become one of the first in the area to use state-of-the-art lithium battery technology to store energy from solar PV panels. Jill Goulder has installed a lithium battery storage system linked to her solar PV panels. These recharge during sunlight hours and provide po…

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Top tips for setting up a community solar PV project

Posted by Alex Steeland on 11 May 2015 at 10:15 am

Top tips for setting up a community solar PV project

Have you ever wondered how successful community solar PV projects started out? What if you could pick a social entrepreneur’s brain to find out exactly what was involved and the lessons they learned along the way? Well, lucky for you, a new series of action packs has just been launched whic…

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Could new batteries take you off grid?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 5 May 2015 at 11:05 am

Could new batteries take you off grid?

For many years we have wondered about the problem of storing our PV generation.  In fact many customers install PV, thinking that they may be protecting themselves from future power cuts, without realising that the grid is required for their system to function. A new development from Tes…

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How do I know if my solar panels are working correctly?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 24 April 2015 at 4:10 pm

How do I know if my solar panels are working correctly?

1. Keep an eye on your generation meter   Check your generation meter once a week and keep a record of the figure. Your meter should clock up energy generation every day, even in dull weather. Keeping a regular eye on it will help you notice any variation over time that doesn’t seem …

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Solar power in a conservation area: how solar slate tiles pleased the planners

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 15 April 2015 at 2:15 pm

Solar power in a conservation area: how solar slate tiles pleased the planners

Whenever I see a petition designed to get solar panels removed from village roofs, I get a little twitchy. Not only is this, in my view, the worst kind of nimbyism, these petitions invariably cite the ugliness of the panels as a reason for their removal. How unsightly, I wonder, will these vi…

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What questions should you ask when comparing solar PV quotes?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 30 March 2015 at 9:55 am

What questions should you ask when comparing solar PV quotes?

You’ve got a stack of quotes for solar PV but without the technical know-how it can be very hard to figure out which one is best. Following on from our blog about what should be included in your quote, we’ve come up with a list of questions you can ask to help you to sort the wheat fr…

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West Solent Solar: community at the heart of local energy project

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 March 2015 at 12:20 pm

West Solent Solar: community at the heart of local energy project

On the south coast of England, on a patch of land facing the Isle of Wight and the English Channel beyond, a sea breeze blows, cooling a solar array. Not everyone knows this but cool conditions improve a solar panel output. This is because electrons flow faster in cooler temperatures so a hig…

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Companies to face huge fines for cold calling menace

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 March 2015 at 10:50 am

Companies to face huge fines for cold calling menace

With energy efficiency companies now topping the list of nuisance callers it's good to hear that the rules on cold calling are being tightened up. (About time too, some may say). Energy efficiency cowboys recently knocked those calling about compensation for missold PPI (payment protection in…

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Using the new Ace community energy projects support tool

Posted by Alex Steeland on 16 March 2015 at 11:45 am

Using the new Ace community energy projects support tool

If you’re thinking of setting up a community energy project, the Ace for Communities online tool is designed to help. This new tool, developed by the National Energy Foundation, provides detailed ideas, tips and real life case study examples on a wide range of community engagement activitie…

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How do I set up a community energy project?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 4 March 2015 at 9:20 am

How do I set up a community energy project?

First things first: the fact that you’re even asking this shows you’re ambitious and that is good. You are embarking on a thorny and complicated journey and there will be many challenges along the way. But take heart! It is a journey many others have successfully trodden before and he…

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What's the difference between polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels?

Posted by Stuart Elmes on 25 February 2015 at 9:55 am

What's the difference between polycrystalline and monocrystalline solar panels?

When I agreed to write an article on the difference between the two main types of photovoltaic solar panel, those based on monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon, I thought what could be easier?  You can find numerous articles on websites, all saying the same thing.  It usually goe…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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