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DIY solar PV installation - is it a good idea?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 4 December 2013 at 9:13 am

DIY solar PV installation - is it a good idea?

Q. I am thinking of building a solar PV system as a project and doing the install myself. I have been told that I would not be able to claim the FIT (feed-in tariff) unless the system was installed by an approved installer, but that as long as the inverter had G83/1 approval I would be able to bu…

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Politics wins the day as Government waters down green levy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 December 2013 at 10:41 am

Politics wins the day as Government waters down green levy

The government has just announced a series of measures that it claims will reduce the average energy bill by £50, without slashing the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) which adds about £47 to every energy bill.  While we're glad that they haven't done away with ECO t…

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Readers' tips of the month - solar PV

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 November 2013 at 9:33 am

Readers' tips of the month - solar PV

We always advocate a bit of rigour in choosing a renewable energy installer and we're not surprised to find that also being recommended by a a retired environmental scientist and chartered town planner.  Steven Shuttleworth installed 16 x 250KWh solar panels last month. They are in t…

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Watch a solar PV installation in double quick time

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 28 November 2013 at 10:47 am

If you've ever wondered what's involved in a solar PV installation, these timelapse videos made by GenFit will give you a good idea of the process and some of the situations that they can be installed in: Solar PV on a timber shelter at Upton Heath Primary School   4…

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Insulating under the floor - a photo case study

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 November 2013 at 10:16 am

When insulation is mentioned we tend to think about lofts and walls, but insulating under the floor can make a significant difference too. When we did up our house, we didn't do anything to most of the floors - except lift the carpets and sand them. Since then, annoyed by the howling drau…

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Worried about energy prices? Take control!

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 22 November 2013 at 10:02 am

Worried about energy prices? Take control!

According to the department of energy and climate change's (DECC) public attitudes tracker, 28% of us are giving a lot of thought to saving energy at home and 84% of us are concerned about energy price rises in the future.  This 84% of us are right to be concerned as the majority of the …

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10 cheap and easy ways to make your home warmer this winter

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 November 2013 at 4:08 pm

10 cheap and easy ways to make your home warmer this winter

The start of this winter's first cold snap really contentrates the mind on ways to keep warm. While you can just turn the heating on for longer, or turn the thermostat up, that's a very expensive way of managing the problem. Luckily, there are other ways of improving the energy efficiency…

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Can I pre-register for domestic RHI?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 20 November 2013 at 9:26 am

Can I pre-register for domestic RHI?

Q. We have had solar thermal and a biomass heating system installed. I have two questions: firstly can we pre-register for the domestic renewable heat incentive, and secondly I have read that you need to be in full time employment to qualify, which seems a bit bizarre. Is that true? A. Provid…

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How closely should the input of an inverter match the output of a solar array?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 18 November 2013 at 10:31 am

How closely should the input of an inverter match the output of a solar array?

Q: How important is it to match the Max DC input of the inverter, to the maximum possible output of the solar array? Some companies have given me quotes where the output/input are miles different. A: It is standard procedure to install an inverter that is up to 20% lower in power rating than …

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Research reveals key opportunities for selling energy efficient improvements

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2013 at 10:16 am

Research reveals key opportunities for selling energy efficient improvements

The challenge for green deal providers and installers is to "sell or package" energy efficiency measures as a solution to the trials and tribulations of domestic life according to research published earlier this year by the UK Energy Research Centre.  Researchers debunked the i…

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What is collective switching?

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 13 November 2013 at 11:01 am

What is collective switching?

Q. What is collective switching and should I get involved? A. Collective switching is where a group of individuals club together to negotiate a better deal on their energy bills. While there is no set model for how such a scheme operates, it usually involves a third party such as a local coun…

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How to check that you are getting the most out of your solar panels

Posted by EvoEnergy . on 11 November 2013 at 9:48 am

How to check that you are getting the most out of your solar panels

Q: I am not sure if we are getting the benefit of the solar panels we had fitted in 2011. In short, we appear to be using the same amount of units as we did before the panels were installed. I understand it may be different appliances in the house which are responsible for the increase in ex…

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Building integrated solar panels help power new office block

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 8 November 2013 at 8:53 am

Building integrated solar panels help power new office block

A new office block built to exacting environmental standards aims to improve the productivity of its tenants by up to 18 per cent.  The Future Business Centre in Cambridge is a 35,000sq.ft. facility intended to provide a mix of office and workshop units and hot desk facilities for up to …

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Can I get the feed-in tariff for more than one renewable technology

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 November 2013 at 11:41 am

Can I get the feed-in tariff for more than one renewable technology

Q: I have already have installed a solar PV system for which I get a feed-in tariff payment. If I install a micro CHP (combined heat and power) unit, I can get the feed-in tariff for that too? A: Yes, you are eligible to apply for the feed-in tariff for as many renewable energy technologies a…

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Community hydro power project close to realisation

Posted by Tasha Kosviner on 5 November 2013 at 12:20 pm

Community hydro power project close to realisation

The water that is regularly let out of the Dove Stone reservoir used to tumble, unchecked, into the River Tame.  The so-called compensation flow was simply part of United Utilities obligations in maintaining the reservoir and was of scant interest to local residents so long as the water …

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Will I get the same feed-in tariff rate if my solar panels are storm damaged?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 November 2013 at 10:01 am

Will I get the same feed-in tariff rate if my solar panels are storm damaged?

Q: Following on from the 'storm', I was wondering what would happen if any existing registered solar panels were damaged and needed to be replaced. Would they slot into the existing feed-in tariff (we got on to the higher rate before it was changed), or would they be under the new lower r…

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What help can I get with heating under the Affordable Warmth scheme?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 November 2013 at 9:21 am

What help can I get with heating under the Affordable Warmth scheme?

Q: I have a typical 60s semi. Unfortunately I don't have a central heating system (warm air broken down). I am now retired and on pension credit. I have tried to get something done via the Affordable Warmth scheme but all they seem interested in is replacing boilers which I don't have! …

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How to find an energy efficient alternative to American-style fridge freezers

Posted by Amanda Harvey on 31 October 2013 at 9:43 am

How to find an energy efficient alternative to American-style fridge freezers

American-style fridge freezers are often prized as a must-have appliance for a modern kitchen – and the bigger the better it seems! But should you choose a supersized fridge to complete your kitchen or opt for something more energy efficient? Whether you’re planning an entire kitc…

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How do I find a recommended installer on YouGen?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2013 at 12:47 pm

How do I find a recommended installer on YouGen?

One of the key barriers to investing in renewable energy that I identified before I started YouGen is finding an installer that you trust to do a good job. How do you evaluate what they are saying, and compare them. Our response is to invite installers to become YouGen members. This means they ca…

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Are green deal providers quoting on reports from independent advisors?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2013 at 10:59 am

Are green deal providers quoting on reports from independent advisors?

Getting a green deal assessment is meant to be like getting a new prescription for your glasses. Once you have the prescription you can shop around for the style of frames you want and have your prescription made up by any provider.  So, the idea is that you invite a green deal advisor r…

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