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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. The below bolded section was added on 23 July 2014. WE ARE HOSTING A LIVE ONLINE Q&A SESSION WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT …

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