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Readers tips of the month - August

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 August 2012 at 3:28 pm

Readers tips of the month - August

Claire Tindel, who has installed solar PV, says "put your dishwasher and washing machine on in the middle of the day" (it's probably best to run them one after the other, rather than together unless you've got a large system, and the sun's shining stronly). Mike Beale is a 71 year old enthusiasti…

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If you're not sure about renewables, nothing beats seeing them in situ

Posted by Gordon Glass on 31 August 2012 at 9:35 am

If you're not sure about renewables, nothing beats seeing them in situ

The unfamiliarity of a lot of new technologies such as biomass boilers, solid wall insulation, heat pumps and solar panels puts many people off the idea of installing one. Seeing one working in someone's home, and being able to ask questions about how they find it can make all the difference. …

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Specialist energy companies give best feed-in tariff service; E.on gives worst

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 August 2012 at 2:16 pm

Specialist energy companies give best feed-in tariff service; E.on gives worst

Questions and complaints about energy companies and how the service they deliver to feed-in tariff (FIT) customers regularly pop up in our inbox and in comments on blogs. When people get solar panels, or other microgeneration technology, they often just sign up with their existing supplier. But o…

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I'm getting solar panels: should I switch electricity supplier?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 August 2012 at 11:38 am

I'm getting solar panels: should I switch electricity supplier?

Q: Dear Cathy - From the customer side of things, I will have a brand new 4KW PV system shortly and am currently on a Scottish Power May 2013 fixed electricity only deal (with Econ7)  - no standing charge - with staged day rate tariff of first 225 kwh used each quarter @23.319p with r…

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How to use excess solar electricity for water heating

Posted by Stuart Houghton on 28 August 2012 at 2:02 pm

How to use excess solar electricity for water heating

I am asked again and again how to maximise the use of the generated electricity of my customers' solar PV systems. Apart from using your large appliances when the sun is shining bright, the largest benefit would be using the excess electricity to power your immersion heater. Un…

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7 easy wins to improve the energy efficiency of your home

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 24 August 2012 at 9:19 am

7 easy wins to improve the energy efficiency of your home

With a lot of discussion about rising energy bills, many concerned homeowners now feel compelled to make a positive effort to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.  Easy wins are those measures which can be adopted without major cost or disruption and you can often instal…

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Top tips for disposing of energy saving lightbulbs and other WEE

Posted by Liam Tarry on 22 August 2012 at 9:02 am

Top tips for disposing of energy saving lightbulbs and other WEE

Here in the UK we throw away a million tonnes of household electrical and electronic waste every year - and that’s just from our homes. If that figure wasn’t shocking enough, at least as much comes from non-household sources such as offices, factories, schools and hospitals. Waste electrical …

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10 techniques for marketing your renewable energy business

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 August 2012 at 8:53 am

10 techniques for marketing your renewable energy business

The first thing most people think of when they talk about marketing is advertising. However, there are lots of other ways of getting your renewable energy technology into domestic and commercial buildings, many of which are more cost effective than traditional advertising. But first, some bas…

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The five most common solar misconceptions I experience as a solar surveyor

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 17 August 2012 at 10:01 am

The five most common solar misconceptions I experience as a solar surveyor

Working in the renewable industry can be a challenging experience, particularly over the past six months or so with the confusion surrounding the feed-in tariff. Now the uncertainty has been resolved, it appears the industry is on the up. However, there are a number of misconceptions abou…

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Can I connect solar PV to my storage heaters?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 16 August 2012 at 8:37 am

Can I connect solar PV to my storage heaters?

Q: Can I connect my solar power to my storage heaters, and what are the pros and cons? A: I would strongly advise that unless you have a large (10kwP) solar PV system, having a diversion unit installed to re-direct excess power to a storage heater during the day will not be economic, ma…

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Open homes: see how others have improved their homes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 August 2012 at 9:35 am

Open homes: see how others have improved their homes

Every year there are more and more people opening up their homes, so others can see what measures they have taken to make them warmer, more comfortable, last but not least cheaper to heat. With energy bills on a steep upward trajectory, taking action to reduce your need for energy has never made so …

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Renewable energy market research: experiences of domestic consumers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 August 2012 at 9:39 am

Renewable energy market research: experiences of domestic consumers

The best market research I've seen on what drives consumers in the domestic market for renewable energy is an excellent publication from Consumer Focus. Although it is called Keeping FIT, it is subtitled consumers' attitudes and experiences of microgeneration. Inevitably most of the experience is ab…

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Can I get an EPC for my solar installation before I finish my renovation?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 August 2012 at 8:47 am

Can I get an EPC for my solar installation before I finish my renovation?

Q: I am carrying out a substantial renovation of our new family home. Prior to starting it  had a EPC (energy performance certificate) grade F. I have installed Solar but was not told of the rules on EPC for the feed-in tariff, nor did the survey etc pick it up prior to installation. It ha…

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Definition of hard to treat cavity wall for green deal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 August 2012 at 9:35 am

Definition of hard to treat cavity wall for green deal

We know buildings with 'hard to treat' cavity walls will be eligible for funding under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), when it comes on line early next year. But how do you know if your walls count as hard to treat? Greg Barker made a written statement to house of commons on the …

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YouGen sponsors SW Installer of the Year Award

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 August 2012 at 9:07 am

YouGen sponsors SW Installer of the Year Award

At YouGen we are all about promoting quality and excellence, and helping put consumers in touch with the best installers. That's why we've decided to sponsor the south west Green Energy Awards 2012 Installer or Supplier of the Year category. Run by RegenSW, the awards are now in their 10th year. …

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7 top tips for getting your award entry noticed

Posted by Gilly Jones on 7 August 2012 at 9:06 am

7 top tips for getting your award entry noticed

Who doesn’t like being recognised for a job well done? Awards are brilliant for PR and marketing, and we know from personal experience here at YouGen, that even reaching the finals of any award creates a buzz, and as for winning, well..... We’d love your business to have that buzz too, so we…

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Solar Power UK announces seminar programme

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 August 2012 at 8:56 am

Solar Power UK is proud to announce its 2012 seminar programme. At Solar Power UK in 2012, you can gain access to more than 80 practical and valuable presentations in three dedicated seminar halls. Across 14 carefully constructed half day sessions you will hear from the industry's leading experts…

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YouGen guide to marketing renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 August 2012 at 10:35 am

YouGen guide to marketing renewable energy

While many of the renewable energy technologies have been around for a long time, the market for renewable energy is still young. The products are  expensive, the government subsidies can be complicated and (in the case of solar PV) a moving feast. Buyers are generally pretty ignorant about how…

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EPC software seems unable to handle eco improvements

Posted by Martin Hodnett on 2 August 2012 at 10:44 am

EPC software seems unable to handle eco improvements

Recently, we had to get an energy performance certificate (EPC) done to qualify for the feed-in tariff (FiT) for solar panels. We live in an old Devon longhouse constructed of cob. An Esse wood burning range cooker, a solar thermal panel system, and an oil-fired boiler (as backup for very cold we…

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Feed-in tariff rates for solar PV reduce today - but still offer good value

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 August 2012 at 9:29 am

Feed-in tariff rates for solar PV reduce today - but still offer good value

The feed-in tariff rates for solar PV fall today. This is part of a planned degression, which aims to keep the rate of return more or less the same, as prices within the industry fall. For installations from today the rates will be: 4kW or less: 16p per kWh (6.3% return on investment) …

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