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View blog posts for category: Solar heat & hot water

Solar hot water: It's the best thing I ever did

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 August 2010 at 9:53 am

Solar thermal panels are a no-brainer for John Wood of East Devon, as he explains in this video: …

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Solar thermal panels are possible with a combi boiler

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 27 August 2010 at 9:56 am

You will find more up to date information on this subject in this blog (28/1/15).  Solar hot water panels require a cylinder, but it is possible to use them with a combi boiler. This video explains how it works. And for those who prefer to read the information, here's a sum…

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

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

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

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

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Solar hot water delivered quicker and cheaper

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 July 2010 at 9:10 am

Solar hot water delivered quicker and cheaper

A system that delivers solar water heating at a lower cost, quicker installation and with no need to buy a new cylinder was one of the finalists in the 2010 Ashden Awards for sustainable energy. John Willis invented the Willis Solasyphon because he found that the cost and disruption of installing…

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Renewable Heat Incentive: yes please, but with changes

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 9 July 2010 at 11:16 am

Renewable Heat Incentive: yes please, but with changes

First let's get something straight. I think the renewable heat incentive (RHI) is a good idea. Rewarding people for their contribution to reducing carbon emissions is great and will stimulate the market. However, in its current form the RHI may not reduce emissions, and due to lack of Government cla…

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Six tips to save you from solar panel cowboys

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 28 June 2010 at 9:07 am

Six tips to save you from solar panel cowboys

Solar hot water is intrinsically an ethical industry. We all want to save the planet don't we? So we need to ensure that unscrupulous companies do not thrive and give us all a bad name! When there is a chance of making a buck or two it will always attract the greedy and less scrupulous businesses…

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DIY solar panel installation: a case study

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 June 2010 at 3:22 pm

Thank you to fuelexplorer for this article:  I did my own solar thermal panel installation, on the slate roof of an old Victorian house, with not the most accessible roof in the world!  Am I pleased with the result? Yes. Could I have designed the system better? Yes. I did quite …

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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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How to avoid bugs in your solar hot water

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 21 June 2010 at 9:07 am

How to avoid bugs in your solar hot water

The plumbing, heating and solar industry is paranoid about legionella and bacterial infections in hot water systems. This is right and proper as the consequences of legionella infection can be fatal in vulnerable people - but it is actually very rare and I am told there are no recorded cases linked …

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Renewable heat incentive: important, but with dangers

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 17 June 2010 at 1:03 pm

Renewable heat incentive: important, but with dangers

The uptake of renewable heat technologies has really dropped off with the renewable heat incentive (RHI) still looming, but no confirmation of the final tariffs or criteria, and the recent removal of the LCBP grants. No doubt things will pick up once the RHI details have been announced there.…

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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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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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MCS explained, plus quick guide for wannabe installers

Posted by John Martin on 14 May 2010 at 9:58 am

MCS explained, plus quick guide for wannabe installers

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) appears to be suffering in a similar way as the Gas accreditation scheme did  when it was introduced. It is shrouded in mystery, with rumour-mongers spreading the word that 'none shall pass' and that 'its only for large companies'. This situatio…

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Avoiding the solar cowboys

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 April 2010 at 10:01 am

Avoiding the solar cowboys

Only one of 14 solar thermal salespeople proved worthy of recommendation in Which?'s recent investigation into solar panel companies. This is devastating news both for the industry and, more importantly, for people wanting to switch to solar hot water systems. Ten of the companies misled research…

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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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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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Seven steps for servicing your solar thermal system

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 19 March 2010 at 10:09 am

Seven steps for servicing your solar thermal system

How to service a solar thermal system is a really common question asked by many of our customers and prospective customers. Unfortunately there isn't really a definitive answer. It depends on how technically minded you are and how much peace of mind you need. So here are some guidelines: 1. Solar…

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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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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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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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Renewable heat soon to join the energy revolution

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 6 November 2009 at 9:13 am

Renewable heat soon to join the energy revolution

Until a few months ago, solar thermal hot water heating has been the most cost effective way for people to generate their own renewable energy - for every pound invested it has usually delivered the highest units of energy. The reason for this is that solar thermal systems have always been the most…

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Are roof mounted turbines any good?

Posted by Graham Eastwick on 24 September 2009 at 10:43 am

Are roof mounted turbines any good?

Roof-mounted turbines were very popular a year ago or two. However, over the last few months a couple of reports have been published that suggest building-mounted turbines may not deliver as much electricity as hoped. One of the major manufacturers has just closed and stopped supplying turbines to …

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Controlling solar thermal systems

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 10 September 2009 at 9:43 am

Controlling solar thermal systems

The controllers used in solar thermal systems come in many different shapes and sizes and offer a variety of different options. The most basic controllers just have a differential control - this activates the solar pump when the temperature at the sensor on the collector is at a higher temperature t…

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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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What is the best solar hot water panel for a small space?

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 31 July 2009 at 8:47 am

What is the best solar hot water panel for a small space?

Question from YouGen user: I have a 7 year old Solartwin panel on my roof which I believe is performing poorly and is not metered. The company say that the harder water is likely to be too much for the panel and that it needs an indirect panel. Thus I feel I need to replace it. It is a landscape sha…

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Old homes can be energy efficient: visit a superhome and be inspired

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 July 2009 at 9:08 am

Old homes can be energy efficient: visit a superhome and be inspired

Old homes tend to be the worst offenders when it comes to leaking hot air out into the atmosphere. This means higher than average energy bills, and correspondingly high carbon emissions. Often labelled 'hard to treat', older homes can be more complicated when it comes to installing energy eff…

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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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Wind power without the guesswork

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 June 2009 at 11:01 am

Wind power without the guesswork

Measuring wind power to see whether it makes sense to get a wind turbine has, until now, been either expensive or inaccurate. Now with the launch of the Power Predictor, it’s possible to take the risk out of what is a significant investment. The device is the invention of Toby Hammond, managing…

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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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Solar thermal for space heating

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 21 May 2009 at 10:23 am

Solar thermal for space heating

I am often asked whether a solar thermal system can be used for space heating as well as for hot water. Technically, it can.  However in most cases it is neither cost effective nor energy efficient to do so.  The cost of upgrading the system to work with space heating as well as hot w…

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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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Calculators shed light on renewable choices

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 March 2009 at 11:16 am

Calculators shed light on renewable choices

Comparing costs of different renewable technologies and working out potential savings in cash and carbon has just got a whole lot easier. Encraft has developed a range of calculators that help you work out all the figures, so that you can see what's best for your house much more easily. Anyone can u…

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Planning for solar panels

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 March 2009 at 11:59 am

Planning for solar panels

Living in a listed building or conservation area doesn't mean that you can't have solar panels, as Anne Robbins' experience shows. You may, however, need determination and energy, and money for an appeal, if you want to leap over all the planning hurdles. Anne lives in a conservation area in Gre…

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Scots make renewable energy easier

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 February 2009 at 11:06 am

Scots make renewable energy easier

The Scottish Government has made it easier for people to get renewable energy for their home following a consultation on planning reform. The aim of the consultation was to increase renewable energy generation and cut carbon emissions. The result is that anyone living in Scotland will be able to ins…

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Storing your solar heat

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 20 February 2009 at 8:42 am

Storing your solar heat

A vital part of a solar thermal system is storage. The sun is not always shining when you need your hot water! On larger systems molten salt is sometimes used as the storage medium for the heat. Generally however, the heat is stored in water, especially if the purpose of the system is to provi…

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Evacuated tubes: make sure you don’t get burnt

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 4 February 2009 at 8:34 am

Evacuated tubes: make sure you don’t get burnt

Evacuated tube collectors are the Formula One of the solar thermal world. They are more efficient than other types of collector as they are almost perfectly insulated, and heat cannot pass through a vacuum. As the tubes are cylindrical, they are always perpendicular to the sun reducing the amount of…

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Microgeneration makes you feel good

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 January 2009 at 10:55 am

Microgeneration makes you feel good

What makes you feel good? For me, the sun is one of many things. When it pops it's head out on a cloudy day life just perks up. When it streams through my office window on a winter's afternoon, not only am I warmer, but I feel better, and I think I get more done. Watching it light up the hills as i…

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Five ways to recognise a solar shark ... and make sure they don't eat you

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 December 2008 at 10:51 am

Five ways to recognise a solar shark ... and make sure they don't eat you

It used to be double glazing that was renowned for dodgy salesman. Now some of the techniques they used are being kept alive by companies selling solar thermal panels, heat pumps and wind turbines. The BBC and the Mail on Sunday are just two of the media who have been watching out for fins. T…

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Getting the best out of solar panels

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 December 2008 at 4:20 pm

Get a few people with solar panels together (as happened this weekend) and inevitably there's discussion about how to get the most out of your solar thermal system. This is probably because the amount of hot water generated by solar thermal systems is dependent on how we use the system (as was confi…

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How much of my hot water can I get from the sun?

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 13 December 2008 at 9:01 am

Have you ever wondered how much energy falls on your roof each year? Well probably not, but it is really quite interesting. The average UK house with a south facing roof of 30m² will be exposed to around 30,000KwH of the sun’s radiation every year. When you compare that to the amou…

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