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Help CAT celebrate their 40th birthday!

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

Help CAT celebrate their 40th birthday!

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

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UK community energy awards entries due in!

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

UK community energy awards entries due in!

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

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Domestic renewable heat incentive LIVE online Q&A!

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

Domestic renewable heat incentive LIVE online Q&A!

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

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Questions asked around sudden closure of green deal home improvement scheme

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

Questions asked around sudden closure of green deal home improvement scheme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Community group funding available to help spread the energy saving word

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

Community group funding available to help spread the energy saving word

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

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

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

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

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

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How much space does a biomass boiler take up?

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

How much space does a biomass boiler take up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Great LED light giveaway!

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

Great LED light giveaway!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Can cavity wall insulation be topped up or refilled?

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

Can cavity wall insulation be topped up or refilled?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top tips for entering this years Solar Power Portal Awards 2014

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

Top tips for entering this years Solar Power Portal Awards 2014

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

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What small businesses should think about BEFORE installing renewable energy

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

What small businesses should think about BEFORE installing renewable energy

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

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Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

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

Solar panels and subsidies mean payday on Northern Ireland farm

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

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

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

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

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

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Will my solar panels power an air source heat pump?

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

Will my solar panels power an air source heat pump?

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

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

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

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

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

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Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

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

Biomass suppliers must register to prove fuel is sustainable

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

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When should I have my green deal assessment for RHI?

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

When should I have my green deal assessment for RHI?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Are thermodynamic panels eligible for the RHI?

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

Are thermodynamic panels eligible for the RHI?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

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

Green deal home improvement fund offers grants for energy saving

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

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

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

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

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

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Reader's tip of the month - April 2014

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

Reader's tip of the month - April 2014

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

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Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

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

Green deal reports and renewable heat incentive: a personal journey

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

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

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

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

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

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What are the rules about extending my solar panels?

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

What are the rules about extending my solar panels?

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

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Small solar must be maintained to meet Solar Strategy goals

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

Small solar must be maintained to meet Solar Strategy goals

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

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

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

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

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

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Domestic renewable heat incentive: your questions answered

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

Domestic renewable heat incentive: your questions answered

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

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Clever heating controls may be the must-have new gadgets

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

Clever heating controls may be the must-have new gadgets

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

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How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

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

How do I apply for the domestic renewable heat incentive?

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

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Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

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

Government enlists local authorities to deliver green deal to fuel poor

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

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How much will my biomass boiler installation cost?

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

How much will my biomass boiler installation cost?

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

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

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

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

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

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Number of accredited boilers for domestic RHI

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

Number of accredited boilers for domestic RHI

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

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

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

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

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

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Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

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

Comedy club uses heat from the kitchen to produce hot water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to get your ideal solar PV system

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

How to get your ideal solar PV system

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

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

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

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

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

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Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

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

Renewable Energy Marketplace - get your YouGen discount tickets

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

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Can I compare my solar panel output with that of other local installations?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 March 2014 at 8:48 am

Can I compare my solar panel output with that of other local installations?

Q. I had a 4kWp solar panel system installed on my roof last October and on the face of it, it seems to be working really well. I have the owl intuition system installed and can monitor my system’s output online. What I would like to do now is to compare this output with what I should be ge…

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The slow progress of the domestic RHI: a rough timetable

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 March 2014 at 4:01 pm

Lots of us were hoping that the domestic RHI would go live on 1 April this year. Sadly, that doesn't look possible now. The good news is that I understand that department for environment and climate change (DECC) officials are still confident that it will launch in spring (real spring that is…

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Even prefabs can be made warm, comfortable and energy efficient

Posted by Tom Bradley on 13 March 2014 at 3:01 pm

Even prefabs can be made warm, comfortable and energy efficient

Following the second world war, new homes were urgently needed to replace those destroyed or damaged through the war. One of the options the UK government took was to use the wartime manufacturing and organisation structure to roll out prefabricated housing. 156,623 prefabricated homes had been c…

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How installers can demonstrate their expertise

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 March 2014 at 8:47 am

How installers can demonstrate their expertise

Demonstrating your expertise and establishing trust with potential customers is always good for sales, but how do you do it? As all renewable energy installers in the domestic and small scale markets must be MCS accredited, it's no good for helping you stand out from the crowd. Testimonials f…

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Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 March 2014 at 8:42 am

Where can I recycle my wood pellet packaging?

Q: I have a new red 24 pellet burner. I use one 15kg recyclable plastic bag per day. I live in Flintshire and the authority will not allow collection of plastic recyclables. They suggested I put them in ordinary refuse for landfill! They even said I could drive 12 miles to a skip site. What to do…

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Are new build houses eligible for the RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 March 2014 at 9:16 am

Are new build houses eligible for the RHI?

Q: We moved into our new home last April, a new build, can we claim for the RHI as we have an air source heat pump. A: Well, it depends. If you are a self builder, then the answer is yes. You can claim the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI). You will need an energy performance certi…

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Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 March 2014 at 11:36 am

Solid wall insulation to suffer under proposed changes to ECO

PEOPLE on low incomes will still be eligible for free loft and cavity wall insulation under the government’s proposed changes to the energy company obligation (ECO), announced this week. However, it will be harder for those not on low incomes who live in solid-walled or hard to treat ho…

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How do I calculate the feed-in tariff for a hydropower project?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 March 2014 at 10:46 am

How do I calculate the feed-in tariff for a hydropower project?

Q I am considering creating a new hydropower scheme. Can you please explain how to calculate the feed-in tariff for a small hydropower project? A Under the government’s new community energy strategy, greater financial incentives have become available for groups looking to generate power…

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Fans recirculate heat to save factory 60 per cent on energy bills

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 3 March 2014 at 8:34 am

Fans recirculate heat to save factory 60 per cent on energy bills

Hot air rises. Galileo knew it. We know it. And staff at a Dorset soap factory certainly knew it when they shivered in their boots at work each day. That was until someone thought to install a destratification fan which recirculates the warm air that collects at the ceiling, pushing it ba…

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Is there a range cooker and boiler with an automatic feeder?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 February 2014 at 9:39 am

Is there a range cooker and boiler with an automatic feeder?

Q We would like to install a wood pellet-powered range cooker and boiler which is fed automatically from a pellet store. Do you know if such a product exists? So far we have only found ones where you have to manually lift the pellets into a hopper and we are getting to an age where we can’t…

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What is the real inflation rate for energy?

Posted by Stuart Elmes on 25 February 2014 at 12:01 pm

What is the real inflation rate for energy?

There’s been a lot of coverage of increasing energy bills in the media in recent months.  Also I’ve been doing a bit of thinking about the return on investment for solar thermal under the imminent domestic renewable heat incentive. (I like writing ‘imminent’ inst…

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Significant increase in green deal support for solid wall insulation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 February 2014 at 9:19 am

Significant increase in green deal support for solid wall insulation

Tricky and expensive home insulation work is now eligible for more financial help from the government under changes made to the green deal cashback scheme announced this week. Up to £4,000 is now available for solid wall insulation (up from £650). Up to £1,000 is available f…

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Feed-in tariff rates from 1 April announced

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 February 2014 at 9:50 am

Feed-in tariff rates from 1 April announced

The new feed-in tariffs from 1 April 2014 are now available. For new applicants after that date the rate will degress (reduce) for the first time since July last year. New installations of 4kW or less will get 14.38p per kWh. Existing recipients of the feed-in tariff will get their annual cost of…

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Data collection demonstrates the value of solar PV

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 19 February 2014 at 9:02 am

Data collection demonstrates the value of solar PV

A recent solar PV blog on YouGen highlighted the importance of making sure that your solar PV system is well managed, well designed and well maintained. We thought we’d illustrate this message with a case study of a solar PV system we installed in a 3 bedroom semi in Hertfordshire at the he…

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Help! I want to make my home more energy efficient but have no idea where to start

Posted by Gilly Jones on 17 February 2014 at 9:21 am

Help! I want to make my home more energy efficient but have no idea where to start

Our inbox here at YouGen has made it pretty clear to us that many of you would like to make your homes warmer, cosier and cheaper to run, but just don’t know where to start, or that you have taken the first steps but aren’t sure what should do next. Well, help is at hand. We have …

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Air-to air or air-to-water: which air source heat pump is best?

Posted by Graham Hazell on 13 February 2014 at 1:26 pm

Air-to air or air-to-water: which air source heat pump is best?

Air source heat pumps, which have been used extensively for many decades, are an increasingly popular form of heating. They take the heat from ambient, external air. There are two main choices for emitting the heat from an air source heat pump: via air - warm air is blown within …

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Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 12 February 2014 at 12:10 pm

Online networking platform for energy saving groups launched

An abattoir looking for a biogas plant to take away 10 tonnes of sheep guts a week; a willow coppice ready for harvesting; and someone looking for a source of waste heat to warm some greenhouses. These are just a few of the posts that have appeared on the online networking platform, the Renew…

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Future for solar installers is bright, says government's solar advisor

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 11 February 2014 at 3:24 pm

Future for solar installers is bright, says government's solar advisor

Solar panel installers have a two-year window in which to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the government incentives for installations. At least that’s the message from one of the country’s leading solar experts and government advisor on solar energy. Speaking at the Sol…

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There is risk in being an early adopter of renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 February 2014 at 9:01 am

There is risk in being an early adopter of renewable energy

Q: We installed a ground source heat pump about 4 years ago and have been waiting to claim RHI to help pay for the cost. We now may have to sell our house before we can claim, and certainly before the full payment has been made. It seems wrong that the benefit passes to the new owner when we…

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Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 7 February 2014 at 9:19 am

Community groups 'disappointed' with government's energy strategy

The government’s new community energy strategy has been given a lukewarm welcome by groups who have already developed their own community energy schemes. Kevin Frea, part of the Halton Lune community hydro project and a director of LESS CIC, an energy saving community interest…

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New MCS standards for renewable heat installers

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 3 February 2014 at 10:28 am

New MCS standards for renewable heat installers

Installers of renewable energy technologies will have to complete a compliance certificate for every installation, in order to meet new standards set out by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). The certificate is part of a range of measures the MCS has introduced in preparation for…

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Speakers and sponsor confirmed for Solar Energy UK installer roadshow

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 January 2014 at 9:01 am

Speakers and sponsor confirmed for Solar Energy UK installer roadshow

Natural Sparx powered by Rexel Energy Solutions have confirmed as headline sponsors for this year’s Solar Energy UK (SEUK) Roadshow (previously branded as Solar Power UK Roadshow) taking place in six locations across the UK in February. The roadshow, now in its third year, is a series o…

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Domestic RHI: how do we know which products are eligible?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 January 2014 at 9:41 am

Domestic RHI: how do we know which products are eligible?

Q: We received an email yesterday from MCS which had the following paragraph: RHI Products Reminder: The MCS Helpdesk has been receiving an increasing number of phone calls regarding what products will be eligible for the RHI and whether all MCS products do qualify.  Please be a…

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Register for TWO FREE tickets to the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show worth £34*

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 January 2014 at 9:08 am

Register for TWO FREE tickets to the National Homebuilding & Renovating Show worth £34*



Whether you’re planning to build your own home, add an airy new loft conversion, create a family-friendly kitchen, fit a green heating system or replace tired windows and doors – help is at hand. A visit to The National Homebuilding & Renovating Show will give you all the pr…

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35% of domestic solar systems may be underperforming

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 January 2014 at 11:23 am

35% of domestic solar systems may be underperforming

Some homeowners are getting a significantly lower return on investment from their solar panels than expected according to PassivSystems. The company found that a third of residential solar panels monitored by its home energy management systems are not generating as much electricity as promised. I…

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Is there such a thing as ground-to-air heat pump and would you recommend one?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 27 January 2014 at 9:50 am

Is there such a thing as ground-to-air heat pump and would you recommend one?

Q. Is it possible to have a ground source heat pump system linked to air vents rather than radiators and if so, would this be a less expensive option than installing radiators? A. The system you describe is known as a ground-to-air heat pump, as opposed to a ground to water (or 'wet')…

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6 ways to keep the heat in with sash windows

Posted by Chris Newman on 24 January 2014 at 10:15 am

6 ways to keep the heat in with sash windows

Sash windows are inherently draughty. A combination of age, the hollow boxes and the requirement to slide rather than abut all contribute. A single-glazed sash window has a U-value somewhere between the centre pane U-value of around 5.7 and the whole window U-value of around 4.5W/m2K. As a co…

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How to write a brief for a renewable heat system

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 22 January 2014 at 9:05 am

How to write a brief for a renewable heat system

Once you have decided that you’d like to install a renewable heating system in your home or office, it’s a good idea to write a brief for the project. Rather than detailing all the various technologies you’ll need, a brief is designed to set out your expectations and can be a be…

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Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 January 2014 at 9:28 am

Solar, wood, insulation: a case study of a home energy-saving retrofit

Heather Hullah and Jenny Barnes are not your average pensioners. Where other 60-somethings might be thinking about winding down, these two are more likely to be found wielding chainsaws and humping logs in their 2.5 hectare woodland. But then Heather and Jenny’s ex-council house is no l…

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Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 17 January 2014 at 10:34 am

Renewable heat premium payment deadline approaching

If you’re considering installing a renewable heating system in your home and would like to take advantage of a one-off grant to help with the cost, then now’s the time to act. The deadline for applying for a renewable heat premium payment (RHPP) is fast approaching with all applic…

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Energy saving sector must speak out about proposed changes to ECO

Posted by Alastair Mumford on 15 January 2014 at 8:47 am

Energy saving sector must speak out about proposed changes to ECO

Government proposals to change the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) have created substantial uncertainty within the solid wall insulation (SWI) market and highlight the need for companies in the sector to make their voices heard.  With funding set to drop from April 2014, job cuts are predi…

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Two tickets up for grabs to this years Solar Energy UK Roadshows (worth £105 each)

Posted by Gilly Jones on 14 January 2014 at 12:35 pm

Two tickets up for grabs to this years Solar Energy UK Roadshows (worth £105 each)

YouGen is pleased to support this year's Solar Energy UK Roadshow taking place at six locations across the UK in February. With domestic installations seeing better returns this quarter and the UK continuing as one of the strongest markets in Europe, how will you cope with the deman…

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6 key things to consider when choosing insulation materials

Posted by Chris Newman on 13 January 2014 at 9:09 am

6 key things to consider when choosing insulation materials

1. Insulation myths busted It's never easy knowing which insulation materials to choose, especially with a lot of the guff you see on many TV programmes. In this blog we'll give you some hints and tips to guide you through the quagmire. Starting with a few truths to keep in mind: …

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District heating networks may not be as efficient as hoped

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 10 January 2014 at 9:30 am

District heating networks may not be as efficient as hoped

The difference between the actual and assumed efficiency of district heating networks has come under the spotlight from a number of different sources.  A YouGen reader, Adrian Turner, writes that his system linking three holiday cottages, runs at a disappointing 37 per cent. Bruno P…

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Homebuyers to get grants for energy efficiency measures

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

Homebuyers to get grants for energy efficiency measures

Homebuyers need no longer be put off by draughty homes under government plans to offer one-off grants for energy saving measures.  The proposal, which is yet to be consulted upon, is likely include a £1,000 discount on stamp duty for basic energy efficient measures and up to £…

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Which brand of biomass boiler is best?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 January 2014 at 9:52 am

Which brand of biomass boiler is best?

Q: We are going to put in a log gasification biomass boiler, and while there seem to be many companies out there that can do the job, none of them can provide us with unbiased advice on what is the best boiler. They have one brand /manufacturer that they deal with and proceed to sl…

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Readers' tips of the month - December

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 December 2013 at 10:16 am

Readers' tips of the month - December

"Cut energy first by improved insulation, air tightness and appliance energy efficiency, then install renewables," is the tip from chartered building services engineer, Gary Bennett.  "You will spend less overall to acheive a better end result," he adds. He practices …

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Can I get RHI for my biomass boiler if it's not recommended by the green deal?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 December 2013 at 12:20 pm

Can I get RHI for my biomass boiler if it's not recommended by the green deal?

Q: I have just taken a call from a lady who is considering installing a biomass boiler to replace her current LPG boiler.  A couple of green deal assessors have told her that she will only be eligible for domestic RHI (renewable heat incentive) if her green deal assessment report recommends …

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Is my boiler stove eligible for the renewable heat incentive?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 December 2013 at 9:20 am

Is my boiler stove eligible for the renewable heat incentive?

Q: I own and am having installed a Aquatherm ECoF34V boiler stove‏ which seems an extremely substantial piece of Italian kit that should meet MCS criteria but the machine is not MCS certified. There is a considerable amount of money at stake for me personally, and I'm sure the machine wil…

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Solar allowances to change in Northern Ireland

Posted by Andy Baird on 18 December 2013 at 12:01 pm

Solar allowances to change in Northern Ireland

The size of solar installations allowed without applying for permission will reduce from 1 March next year. Under the G83 rules Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) currently allows people to insall arrays of up to 6.5 kWp and 20 kWp on single- and three-phase supplies respectively. This generous a…

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