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Keep warm; spend less

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 October 2011 at 5:28 am

Keep warm; spend less

Being cold is miserable. Yet, as energy prices rocket, lots of people will be cold this winter. The dominant narrative about how to get round this focuses on knocking the big six energy companies, and urges us to swap supplier to find a lower price. While I don't argue with this, it's also a grea…

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When eligibility for the feed-in starts: the definitive answer

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 October 2011 at 6:02 am

When eligibility for the feed-in starts: the definitive answer

"What is the start date for my feed-in tariff payments?" and variations on it must be the most frequently asked question we get here at YouGen. Is it the date it's commissioned? Or the date the electricity company gets your application? And what happens if they lose it? Well I've just checked wit…

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Five key ways to get the best from your solar hot water system

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 October 2011 at 1:17 am

Five key ways to get the best from your solar hot water system

Solar hot water systems work best when the user takes control of them, yet only 36 per cent of the householders taking part in the Energy Saving Trust's solar hot water field trial said that their installer gave them information on how they might make best use of their system.   When they di…

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User control is vital for best performing solar water heating

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 October 2011 at 3:23 am

User control is vital for best performing solar water heating

The way householders use their solar thermal system is critical to getting the best results from solar water heating systems, according to new research. The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is calling on installers to give better advice to users on how to control their solar water heating: in terms of volu…

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The Green Deal explained

Posted by Adrian Wright on 17 October 2011 at 3:23 am

The Green Deal explained

Any home or business in Britain will be able to carry out a full energy efficiency refurbishment of their property and fund it through a loan of up to 25 years from October 2012. Under the Green Deal, the loan will be lodged against the property (not the occupier). Repayments will be added to the…

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Solar PV tiles: the pros and cons explained

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 14 October 2011 at 9:06 am

Solar PV tiles: the pros and cons explained

Q: We are currently in the planning process to build our own house and have lots of questions regarding the use of solar roof tiles. 1. Do you generate as much electricity with these roof tiles with the equivalent amount of panel space ? 2. I have noticed you can have panels that heat water an…

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More clean green energy and less energy waste is the recipe for lower UK energy bills

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 October 2011 at 9:32 am

More clean green energy and less energy waste is the recipe for lower UK energy bills

Consumers are being misled about the causes of energy bill increases according to Friends of the Earth. The charity points the finger at the Big Six energy companies, saying that energy bills are rocketing mainly because the energy companies have us hooked on ever more expensive imports of gas, coal…

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Is my solar thermal system safe while I'm away on holiday?

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 10 October 2011 at 9:37 am

Is my solar thermal system safe while I'm away on holiday?

Q: I’m going away for two months. Is there anything I should do to my solar thermal system while the house is empty?  A: It’s always important to look at the relevant part in your solar thermal user manual, but the most important advice is to leave your system turned on. It has been des…

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Government bottles permitted development rights for small wind

Posted by David Hunt on 7 October 2011 at 3:38 am

Government bottles permitted development rights for small wind

Once again the government has shown its weakness when it comes to decisions on planning permission and the green agenda and particularly when it comes to small wind turbines. To give credit where it is due, the recent addition of permitted development (PD) rights for the installation of d…

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REAL's top tips to avoid being ripped off by solar cowboys

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 October 2011 at 8:36 am

REAL's top tips to avoid being ripped off by solar cowboys

The REAL Assurance Scheme* has received a surge of complaints about solar PV installers, leading it to assert that rogue traders are taking advantage of the expanding solar panel market to make a killing before the Government adjusts the Feed-In Tariff in the spring. While they haven't yet specifi…

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Can solar panels improve the efficiency of your ground source heat pump?

Posted by John Barker-Brown on 3 October 2011 at 5:05 am

Can solar panels improve the efficiency of your ground source heat pump?

There is a growing interest in using solar panels to deposit heat within the ground during the summer periods and then using a ground source heat pump to extract this deposited heat during the winter. These systems are commonly called inter-seasonal storage systems and can usually be classed as:- …

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Exporting your home-generated electricity: deemed vs metered

Posted by Kate Turner on 30 September 2011 at 9:43 am

Exporting your home-generated electricity: deemed vs metered

The benefits of ‘deemed’ export versus metered export of solar PV generated electricity can be a source of confusion for many domestic microgenerators, and recent research conducted by YouGen shows it causes confusion among suppliers too. In most cases there is a charge for installing and mai…

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Home seller's guide to buying an EPC: what to consider

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 28 September 2011 at 9:30 am

Home seller's guide to buying an EPC: what to consider

Just as all buyers should receive an EPC (energy performance certificate), all sellers have to show one to people thinking of buying their home, and this usually means having to pay for it yourself.  If your home already has an EPC, there is no legal requirement to replace it, so long as it is …

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MCS suspends Proven P35 and P35-2 wind turbines due to faults (revised)

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 September 2011 at 9:55 am

MCS suspends Proven P35 and P35-2 wind turbines due to faults (revised)

Proven Energy has gone into liquidation following discovery of an acute technical defect in its 15kW wind turbines (known as P35 and P35-2). Owners of the turbines are advised to temporarily brake them, and sales of these models has been suspended. MCS has suspended them from its accredited product…

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Solar PV, conservation area and planning permission: a case study

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 September 2011 at 8:28 am

Solar PV, conservation area and planning permission: a case study

Steve Plater's, story has a happy ending, but it perfectly illustrates that despite being a "permitted development" the path of a solar pv panel installation doesn't always run smoothly: Our house is metres inside a conservation area (CA) boundary, only because it is built on land which used to …

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How SAP ratings are used to measure the annual efficiency of a biomass boiler

Posted by Laurence Jones on 23 September 2011 at 10:15 am

How SAP ratings are used to measure the annual efficiency of a biomass boiler

Q: I understand that biomass boilers come with SAP ratings to measure annual efficiency. Please can you explain what an SAP rating is and how effective it is as a measure of efficiency. A: What is SAP? Standard Assessment Procedure (more commonly known as SAP), is a home energy rating that i…

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Free solar schemes: talk to your mortgage lender before you sign

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 September 2011 at 9:12 am

Free solar schemes: talk to your mortgage lender before you sign

Rumours abound about banks, and whether or not they will let people who hold mortgages with them participate in 'free' or 'rent a roof' solar panels schemes, so I thought I'd investigate. The good news is that most banks will agree to these schemes, subject to certain conditions. Most of the onus…

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How to know if your roof is sound enough for solar panels

Posted by Chris Rudge on 19 September 2011 at 3:29 am

How to know if your roof is sound enough for solar panels

Q: I've built a few houses and know how important it is to have calculations for roof trusses, considering the weight and "sail" potential of PV (I'm considering a 3.99kw 21 panel Schuco system in excess of £10k). Who takes responsibility if this lot blows off or you get some structural damage? The…

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Auto control enables use of solar PV for immersion heater

Posted by Chris Rudge on 16 September 2011 at 10:38 am

Auto control enables use of solar PV for immersion heater

Chris's previous article on how to use excess solar generated electricity in the home generated so much interest that he has written a follow up that goes into more detail about about the control he has built to use solar-generated electricity to heat water. One of the side issues of the …

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Are carbon savings from CERT as big as they seem?

Posted by Adrian Wright on 15 September 2011 at 5:21 am

Are carbon savings from CERT as big as they seem?

Ofgem has just released a report summarising the activity of the last three years of the Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT). This four year scheme requires energy suppliers to reduce CO2 emissions by 292 million tonnes from homes in Britain or receive a huge fine. The activities the energy …

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