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RHI makes some commercial solar hot water systems very attractive

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 21 May 2012 at 9:39 am

RHI makes some commercial solar hot water systems very attractive

Solar thermal was by far the most cost effective renewable energy technology on the market a few years ago. Since the government support schemes have been introduced, first for renewable electricity generating systems via the feed-in tariff and now through the renewable heat incentive (RHI) for non-…

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Buyer beware: don't believe everything a cold caller tells you about solar PV!

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 May 2012 at 10:10 am

Buyer beware: don't believe everything a cold caller tells you about solar PV!

Do you know what the difference is between daylight and sunlight? Is there one? I was under the impression that we only have daylight thanks to the sun. Not according to a solar PV salesman who rang me recently. I'm on the telephone preference service, so I don't get many unsolicited phone calls.…

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Solar PV remains one of the best investments around say trade bodies

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 May 2012 at 8:40 am

Solar PV remains one of the best investments around say trade bodies

Thanks to drastically falling costs, solar PV remains one of the best investments around, according to the four trade bodies which represent the British solar industry. They have joined together to debunk the myth that it is no longer attractive. The reasons they give for that claim is that it shiel…

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Solar PV Installers can benefit twice if they invest in training to be a Domestic Energy Assessor.

Posted by Pete Roberts on 14 May 2012 at 9:40 am

Solar PV Installers can benefit twice if they invest in training to be a Domestic Energy Assessor.

With the Green Deal starting in October this year and the new EPC requirements for the feed-in tariffs, there is now more reason than ever to diversify and train to become a Domestic Energy Assessor. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) requirement for feed-in tariffs came into force on 1 Apr…

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How to choose a tumble dryer: vented or condenser?

Posted by Ross Lammas on 11 May 2012 at 9:21 am

How to choose a tumble dryer: vented or condenser?

OK, we know the most energy efficient way to dry our clothes is outdoors, but modern lifestyles don’t always allow for this, and a tumble dryer, for a busy family, is often seen as a necessity. But should you choose a vented or a condenser tumble dryer? And what else should you look for? …

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How to choose the best low energy lighting

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 May 2012 at 9:14 am

How to choose the best low energy lighting

Traditionally we've measured the strength of our lightbulbs in watts. A 40 watt incandescent light bulb was dim, a 100 watt one was bright. However, that measure was misleading. Watts are a measure of power consumption, not of light. A 100 watt incandescent bulb needed 100 watts of electricity to…

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Comparing light bulbs: upfront costs vs running costs

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 May 2012 at 9:10 am

Comparing light bulbs: upfront costs vs running costs

Do you know the difference in annual energy costs of an LED (light emitting diode) lightbulb and a halogen bulb? You probably know that halogens are cheaper to buy, and more expensive to run, but do you know how great that difference is? I didn't, until I visited the tp24 stand at Ecobuil…

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Switch energy supplier to get the best deal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 May 2012 at 9:31 am

Switch energy supplier to get the best deal

Have you switched energy supplier since the industry was deregulated? If the answer is no (and it will be for about half of you), you are almost certainly not getting the best deal. Energy companies have a complex maze of different rates, and the only thing you can be sure about is that if you've be…

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Rumours of solar PVs death have been greatly exaggerated

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 2 May 2012 at 9:26 am

Rumours of solar PVs death have been greatly exaggerated

Like many people, I have noticed the drop in installations of solar PV since the introduction of energy efficiency (EPC) requirements on April 1 this year. With DECC publishing weekly data on the feed-in tariff scheme’s capacity, I am not alone. It has been suggested in the press and by some in…

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New MCS heat pump standard should improve performance

Posted by Chris Davis on 30 April 2012 at 11:11 am

New MCS heat pump standard should improve performance

Are you thinking of installing a heat pump? Well there’s good news for householders and businesses in the shape of new standards to improve the performance of heat pump installations. Snappily titled “MIS3005 v3.1a”, the new standard affects all new heat pump systems since 1 March 2012 and …

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Readers tips of the month - April 2012

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 April 2012 at 11:10 am

Readers tips of the month - April 2012

We're always keen to hear your tips about you make your homes and businesses more energy efficient - and how you get the best out of your renewable energy. Here's our favourite tips and stories from the past month. Chemeng says: "Our PV system has reduced our annual grid electricity usage by a…

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Wattson Solar Plus helps me to get the most out of my solar PV

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 April 2012 at 7:45 am

Wattson Solar Plus helps me to get the most out of my solar PV

Key to getting the best out of your solar PV system is knowing when you are producing more electricity than you are using. This is the time to do things that use the most electricity. Of course, this isn't always possible. If you want to relax in front of the telly in the evening, the sun…

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The feed-in tariff is still alive & paying out - so why do so many people believe it's finished?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 April 2012 at 11:42 am

The feed-in tariff is still alive & paying out - so why do so many people believe it's finished?

The phones have stopped ringing for many solar PV companies, and my totally unscientific research indicates that the constant changes and media coverage of it are to blame for a widespread belief that the feed-in tariff is no longer available for solar PV. This couldn't be further from the tr…

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The feed-in tariff still offers good rates of return - so why have solar PV installations dried up?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 April 2012 at 11:02 am

The feed-in tariff still offers good rates of return - so why have solar PV installations dried up?

Since the beginning of April solar PV installations have fallen off a cliff. The only time they have been lower over the past 15 months was after the Christmas 2011 feed-in tariff deadline. In this time five companies have resigned their YouGen membership - two going into liquidation, one ceased …

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Take time out from your day to be inspired

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 April 2012 at 11:34 am

Take time out from your day to be inspired

Reading the papers or watching the news these days is pretty miserable. It brings a deluge of things that have gone wrong, and despite being a fervent news junkie, I find myself tuning out more and more often. So it was wonderful to spend last Friday being inspired by 20 amazing people who spend the…

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Retrofit of Victorian terrace house reduces energy bills by 89%

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 April 2012 at 7:38 am

Retrofit of Victorian terrace house reduces energy bills by 89%

Described as a "labour of love" by designers Green Tomato Energy the conversion of a Victorian mid-terrace, built in approximately 1870 with solid brick walls, to PassivHaus standard has significantly improved comfort and reduced energy bills. Due to planning restrictions in the local conservatio…

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New feed-in tariff rate from July "probably won't be 13p"

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 April 2012 at 3:15 pm

New feed-in tariff rate from July "probably won't be 13p"

"We have probably overestimated" the cost reductions for solar PV going forward, admitted head of the feed-in tariff review at DECC, Rachel Solomon-Williams, yesterday. Speaking at RegenSW's event on the current feed-in tariff consultations, she also gave a ray hope for feed-in tariff (FIT…

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Prices of solar PV and other renewable energy vary significantly: always get three quotes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 April 2012 at 9:32 am

Prices of solar PV and other renewable energy vary significantly: always get three quotes

Getting three quotes was dinned into me in my first job. It was more than good practice - it was compulsory. Even though I was generally getting quotes from among the same pool of printers, I couldn't necessarily tell which would come in best on a particular job. It made sense, so it's something …

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A cautionary tale of a heat pump gone wrong

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 April 2012 at 9:06 am

A cautionary tale of a heat pump gone wrong

"Our Peak district farm offers self-catering accommodation in eco-renovated barns," write Paul & Elspeth Walker. "When we recently developed an adjoining building as a venue for courses and public events it was an opportunity to enhance the alternative energy potential of the site. "So in 20…

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Energy efficiency of TVs rises by 60%

Posted by Ross Lammas on 11 April 2012 at 9:02 am

Energy efficiency of TVs rises by 60%

When plasma and LCD TVs first arrived in the shops, we were dazzled by their stunning picture quality and screen size, and overlooked the fact that, compared with most tube televisions, these beasts were energy guzzlers. This was something the salesman, wowing us with bright colours and a 42 inch sc…

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