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Grants of up to £5,600 available for insulation and other home improvements

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 9 December 2014 at 10:35 am

Grants of up to £5,600 available for insulation and other home improvements

STOP PRESS: the £24m available for solid wall insulation ran out after a day and a half. Get your skates on! Up to £30m of grants is available with a new release of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF). This next tranche of funding will open to new applications tomorrow (9…

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Which is best: solar thermal or solar PV with a immersion switch?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 December 2014 at 9:07 am

Which is best: solar thermal or solar PV with a immersion switch?

Q: My question is whether solar thermal or solar panels would be the best investment. We have a large unshaded roof, facing less than 5 degrees from due south. Its a 3 bed semi with solid walls and a new gas boiler with insulated pipes and a dual coil cylinder in the loft. We have cold fill appli…

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Why aren't there more solar panels on industrial roofs?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 December 2014 at 2:40 pm

Why aren't there more solar panels on industrial roofs?

We have had a number of questions from readers recently asking why there aren't more solar panels on industrial roofs, and suggesting that they would be more suitable places for solar farms than green fields. It's a good question, especially as I've lost count of how many times I'…

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How is solar generation spread across the year?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 December 2014 at 11:35 am

How is solar generation spread across the year?

Q: Approximately what is the increase in available light for generation of electricity in April to September compared to the winter months of October to March? A: While I haven't been able to lay my hands on details of the available light I can illustrate the variations in generation that…

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Readers' tip of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 November 2014 at 3:04 pm

Readers' tip of the month

A ground source heat pump with underfloor heating provide the warmth in DeriM's new-build house which was constructed in 2008. But it's not all been a bed of roses, heat-wise. Here's what he's learned: "Having had some fairly massive electricity bills (c.£300) …

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Why are people who are eligible for renewable heat incentive failing to apply?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 November 2014 at 3:01 pm

Why are people who are eligible for renewable heat incentive failing to apply?

Have you installed a renewable heating system since 15 July 2009? If so, you are probably eligible to apply for the renewable heat incentive (RHI), a government scheme to encourage take up of air and groundsource heat pumps, solar water heating and biomass stoves and boilers. The scheme, which is…

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Have I got cavity wall insulation?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 November 2014 at 9:33 am

Have I got cavity wall insulation?

Q: We moved into this property 4 years ago, last year the outside wall felt very cold. We think we have got insulation in them, but can they be topped up if so. A: Cavity wall insulation, done right in a suitable property, can make a significant difference to warmth and comfort as it stops th…

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I've lost my MCS certificate. Can I still claim FITs/RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 November 2014 at 9:48 am

I've lost my MCS certificate. Can I still claim FITs/RHI?

MCS certificates are vital if you want to claim the feed-in tariff or the renewable heat incentive. If you have lost yours - or your installer never gave you one, and has gone out of business - don't despair. There is a way around it. As long as the installation was originally carried out…

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FITS to degress in January for all solar PV of 50kW or less

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 November 2014 at 2:42 pm

The feed-in tariff for solar PV panels will reduce by 3.5% from 1 January 2015 for all new installations of up to, but not exceeding, 50kW.  This is as part of the government's planned degression for the feed-in tariff.  Changes to FIT rates from 1 January 2015 …

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Can I power infrared heating from my solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 November 2014 at 10:11 am

Can I power infrared heating from my solar panels?

Q: Having had solar panels installed a few years ago, the same company is trying to sell me infrared heating for inside the house which will use electricity generated by the panels. Do you have any advice about infra red heating? I currently have gas central heating using a combi boiler. …

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How can I register as a self-supplier of biomass fuel for the RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 November 2014 at 8:58 am

How can I register as a self-supplier of biomass fuel for the RHI?

Q: How and with whom does one register as a self-supplier of biomass material. A: To register as a self-supplier of biomass material you need to register using this form on the gov.uk website. You can download a detailed supplier question and answer document from the biomass suppliers li…

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How do I distinguish between two solar PV quotes?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 November 2014 at 10:01 am

How do I distinguish between two solar PV quotes?

Q: I am considering two quotes both similar in price. I live in merseyside and have a south east facing and south west facing roof. There is a chimney on the southwest facing roof and so there are some shading issues. The first quote is for LG monocrystalline panels, 250watts, with 15.6% effi…

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MCS strengthens procedures - but will it kill the cowboys?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 November 2014 at 12:10 pm

MCS strengthens procedures - but will it kill the cowboys?

Knowing that your installer (and the product they are installing) is going to do a good job is always important. In a new industry, with unfamiliar products and taxpayers money available to support it, it's even more important.  This is exactly what the Microgeneration Certification …

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Changes to eligibility for domestic renewable heat incentive announced

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 November 2014 at 9:54 am

Changes to eligibility for domestic renewable heat incentive announced

Some welcome changes to eligibility for the domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI) were announced this month by the Department of Energy & Climate Change. Subject to parliamentary process and approval of draft regulations they should come into force in spring 2015. Also coming in spring is t…

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Are there solar PV tiles to match clay roofs?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 November 2014 at 11:13 am

Are there solar PV tiles to match clay roofs?

Q: We are going to build a house. We want to use solar/photovoltaic tiles but may have to use clay tiles for the roof. There seem only to be slate photovoltaic tiles. Are there any that look like clay? Any advice very welcome. A: At the moment the vast majority of solar tiles are blue. Howeve…

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Legacy application make up the bulk of first 10,000 RHI accreditations

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 November 2014 at 3:22 pm

Legacy application make up the bulk of first 10,000 RHI accreditations

South west England has the most accreditations (1,847) under the new domestic renewable heat incentive (dRHI) according to new statistics from Ofgem. Renewable heat was nearly as popular in Scotland (1,596 accreditations), with south east England next. Not surprisingly London was the region with …

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Musa 22 and Club 22 Hydro wood pellet stoves removed from MCS list

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 3 November 2014 at 11:30 am

Musa 22 and Club 22 Hydro wood pellet stoves removed from MCS list

Homeowners who have installed a Musa 22 or Club 22 Hydro wood pellet stove manufactured by Italian MCZ Group received a letter from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) last week advising them not of potential faults and advising them not to use them.  The MCS warns that it has…

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Readers' tips of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2014 at 5:34 pm

Readers' tips of the month

With the clocks going back, I'm kicking off this month's tips with one from House-Saver. "We hang a thick curtain over our draughty french doors during winter months," he writes. "We keep the curtain opened during the day to allow sun light to heat the living room and then …

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TV researchers help couple to design eco renovation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2014 at 9:12 am

TV researchers help couple to design eco renovation

Does bringing in the TV cameras benefit a new build or renovation project? As a fan of Grand Designs, it's something I've often wondered. While I see that the architects and builders involved gain publicity, for your average home owner it seems more likely to add to the stress. So, it…

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£310 million available for those in finding it difficult to keep warm this winter

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 October 2014 at 9:25 am

£310 million available for those in finding it difficult to keep warm this winter

Now that the clocks have gone back, the nights are darker and the heating is more likely to be on. So it's a good time to think about how you can keep your heating bills down. If you are on a low income there may be help available from the Home Heat Helpline. The coalition between energy …

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