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15 more measures added to Green Deal as launch date looms

Posted by Pete Roberts on 17 January 2013 at 9:56 am

The long awaited and much heralded Green Deal is fast approaching. The soft launch of the Green Deal took place on 1 October 2012 and the first Green Deal finance plans will be signed on 28 January 2013. Over the past few months, installers, advisors, advisory services and providers have bee…

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Solar Power UK takes to the road again - coming soon to a place near you!

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 January 2013 at 9:25 am

Solar Power UK takes to the road again - coming soon to a place near you!

How to improve the way you sell and promote your solar business will be the focus of this year's Solar Power UK Roadshows. In February, the series of seven, half-day events will take place in locations across the UK. I am delighted to have been invited to join the speaker panel again this yea…

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Planning permission not needed for (most) external solid wall insulation

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 January 2013 at 9:04 am

Planning permission not needed for (most) external solid wall insulation

In a welcome bit of joined-up government thinking, the departments of energy and climate change and of communities and local government have clarified that the installation of external solid wall insulation constitutes an 'improvement' to a house rather than an 'enlargement' or &#…

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Thermodynamic panels: your questions answered

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 January 2013 at 9:12 am

Thermodynamic panels: your questions answered

This blog was updated in February 2014, 6 November 2014 and 10 March 2015. If someone told you that there's a new solar panel that could heat your hot water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year come rain, shine or snow, would you believe them? It sounds too good to be true, and that always mak…

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Is Solar PV a fire hazard?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 7 January 2013 at 9:50 am

Is Solar PV a fire hazard?

Q: Are you aware of Times article and web site pvsolardoctor.com which claims PV panels are a fire risk if water enters the wiring system? A: This question has resulted in a lot of research and investigation and the answer is, unfortunately, a bit involved. Generating your own electricity…

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Over 70% of E.on customers have problems getting FIT payments

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 21 December 2012 at 9:10 am

Over 70% of E.on customers have problems getting FIT payments

Earlier this year we found E.on had more disgruntled feed-in tariff customers than any other energy company. New research by Which?, with a bigger sample of 1,700 respondents, has come to the same conclusion. More than a third of their members had problems with their FIT supplier, and of thos…

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Gas or electric heater with solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 December 2012 at 11:25 am

Gas or electric heater with solar panels?

Q: In discussions of draught proofing a room I realise that a lot of heat must be drawn up the flue behind my gas fire & therefore wasted due to its inevitable escape to the environment. Would it be worth it to replace my gas fire in the lounge by an electric fire with resultant minimal loss …

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Why are wind turbines so ridiculously expensive?

Posted by David Hunt on 18 December 2012 at 3:22 pm

Why are wind turbines so ridiculously expensive?

Q: For £5,995+VAT (advert NFU Farmer & Grower page 69 July 2012) I can buy a 34kW diesel generator (four cylinder Cummins diesel engine, Stamford alternator, diesel tank, radiator, frame, controls etc) whereas a 6kW wind turbine costs >£20k. Why are wind turbines so expensive - the mast? - the …

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Review of Amelec Intelligent Solar Switch

Posted by Chris Rudge on 17 December 2012 at 9:27 am

Review of Amelec Intelligent Solar Switch

For the cost, this looks to be really good value. The Amelec Eco2 Solar Switch is housed in a standard electrical housing such as used for consumer units and the like. As can be seen from the photo, it also has a standard DIN rail for fitting your selection of MCB/ RCD depending on application …

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Is fleece or board best for underfloor insulation?

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 14 December 2012 at 10:37 am

Is fleece or board best for underfloor insulation?

Q: Underfloor insulation: good access to 126sq m underfloor but joist widths vary from 32 to 40cm. Fleece or boards best? (it arrived via Twitter, hence the brevity) A: In terms of insulation there's little to choose between them: insulation boards are generally thinner for the same perfo…

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Ban deal on the day: open letter to Greg Barker MP and Jo Swinson MP

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 2:16 pm

Ban deal on the day: open letter to Greg Barker MP and Jo Swinson MP

An open letter from Mike Stephenson, H2Eco  to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Jo Swinson MP, and the Energy Minister, Greg Barker MP and the wider Renewable Energy Installation industry. Help reduce pressure selling in the home by banning ‘deal on the day.’ I would …

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Seven top tips for selling renewable heat technologies in the domestic market

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 12:23 pm

Seven top tips for selling renewable heat technologies in the domestic market

A lot of work is needed to raise awareness among the British public of renewable heat technologies such as solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass boilers according to research by Delta Energy and Environment. Speaking at Renewable Energy Installer's business strategy conference in November…

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Will the domestic RHI incentivise installers to invest in training?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 December 2012 at 10:14 am

Will the domestic RHI incentivise installers to invest in training?

Renewable heat zones led by local authorities would provide the incentives necessary for heating engineers to invest in training and skills for renewable heat installation, according to Kelly Butler of BEAMA. Speaking at the Westminster Forum on Progress of the RHI last month, Butler pointed …

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What is the most profitable best kept secret in renewable energy?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 December 2012 at 12:17 pm

What is the most profitable best kept secret in renewable energy?

Developing a sustainable business in a field as dominated by politics as renewable energy is a hazardous undertaking. So how do you pick the route to the most stable market? Ask what the strategic policy drivers are, is the advice of Erich Scherer, an assistant director in the renewable energ…

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How to get the best out of solid wall insulation

Posted by Chris Newman on 10 December 2012 at 10:45 am

How to get the best out of solid wall insulation

A few years back, it would be common to hear people say “I’ve got solid walls so there’s not a lot I can do about them”. With over a third of our houses having solid walls (or ‘hard to treat’ cavities), that represented a big slice of the UK’s domesti…

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Have you been subject to pressure sales for solar?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 December 2012 at 2:30 pm

Have you been subject to pressure sales for solar?

A small minority of renewable energy companies are ignoring the rules on selling set down in the REAL Assurance consumer code, to which all MCS accredited installers must adhere.  This is the relevant section of the code: Sales employees and representatives, whether employed  di…

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Join our campaign to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 4:20 pm

Join our campaign to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

If you don't like being pressured to buy in your own home, then support our campaign to to stop renewable energy companies being able to sign up customers on the day of a sales visit. These are substantial investments which are not suitable for a 'deal on the day sale', and most reput…

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Why we are calling on ministers to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 4:16 pm

Why we are calling on ministers to ban 'deal on the day' for renewable energy

There are occasions when signing a contract on the day with the first sales person you come into contact with is a good idea, but they are few and far between. An example might be when your boiler has broken down, and the plumber you know and trust comes to replace it. However, when a company has…

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Should I cancel my contract for solar panels?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 December 2012 at 12:32 pm

Should I cancel my contract for solar panels?

Q: I had a visit Thursday evening from Ecohome Renewables. They quoted me £15,560 for a 16 panel 230w system, gave me a discount down to £10,560 but guaranteed me a tariff inflator to inflate my PV FIT system to 40p for 20 years. I had to agree then and there and signed a contract for…

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Introduction to biomass boilers for heating and hot water

Posted by FairEnergy . on 4 December 2012 at 12:23 pm

Introduction to biomass boilers for heating and hot water

With the price of fossil fuel rising, people of the UK groan as they reluctantly turn up their thermostats, as temperatures plummet for the festive season. I know this as I speak to these folks daily through my role at Fair Energy. There is no hiding from the pain of this rise in energy costs. So…

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Consumer protection in the Green Deal 2: green deal finance

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 3 December 2012 at 10:19 am

In this second instalment of my blog about Consumer Protection in Green Deal, we’ll cover Green Deal Finance, and particularly the Golden Rule and savings estimates, and the role of Green Deal Advisors in explaining this to their customer.    The Advisor needs to …

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Review of IntellyGreen PV Kit: intelligent solar power monitoring

Posted by Chris Rudge on 30 November 2012 at 11:16 am

Review of IntellyGreen PV Kit: intelligent solar power monitoring

The IntellyGreen PV kit setup is not just a power saving device to send excess power to an immersion heater or similar, but has a comprehensive large LCD display to provide information on your power usage too. The complete set I tested comprised of a radio transmitter unit to be installed n…

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Biomass boiler means house is warm for the first time

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 November 2012 at 4:10 pm

Biomass boiler means house is warm for the first time

"It's the first time in the history of our house that we've had a warm house. Last year we were scraping ice off the inside of the windows." Anyone who lives in an old, leaky farmhouse and heats it with oil will probably prick up their ears at a quote like that and want to k…

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Review of ImmerSUN: using solar electricity to heat water

Posted by Chris Rudge on 27 November 2012 at 9:28 am

Review of ImmerSUN: using solar electricity to heat water

This relevant newcomer to the market of power optimisation of solar PV systems seems to have taken off in a big way due to facilities, design and marketing. Certainly this little unit is well packaged and documented.  Unlike most of the other PV power optimisation units currently on the …

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YouGen wins WWF Green Game-Changer award

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 26 November 2012 at 2:16 pm

YouGen wins WWF Green Game-Changer award

YouGen was announced the winner of the WWF Green Game Changer Award in the International Green Awards 2012 last week in a glitzy presentation at Battersea Power Station. The Green Game-Changer category was new this year in a tie up with WWF-UK. It was looking for innovations in products, serv…

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The benefits of using solar PV energy to power your immersion

Posted by Nick Mills on 26 November 2012 at 10:27 am

The benefits of using solar PV energy to power your immersion

We all hate the though of giving something away for nothing, and, although we get paid to generated solar electricity, and get an additional nominal sum for exporting the surplus, do you ever dream of getting a little bit more from your solar PV system? There are now a few systems on the mark…

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A 100% renewable future: Yes we can

Posted by James Page on 23 November 2012 at 8:43 am

A 100% renewable future: Yes we can

So President Obama gets a second shot at cutting carbon. It will be a tough call, but he should remember that some of the leading renewables manufacturers are from the USA, and the export potential is huge. At least three other leading economies have their work cut out keeping the lights on, neve…

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Government's new energy efficiency strategy is flawed

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 November 2012 at 10:31 am

Government's new energy efficiency strategy is flawed

The Government published its new Energy Efficiency Strategy earlier this week, setting out its ambition to save up to 22 power stations-worth of energy by 2020.  The Strategy is aimed at saving energy in housing, transport and manufacturing.  New energy saving initiatives announced toda…

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Consumer protection in the Green Deal 1: the oversight body

Posted by Linn Rafferty on 20 November 2012 at 8:59 am

This is part one of a series of blogs introducing the key aspects of consumer protection in the Green Deal, including: The role of GD-ORB - the oversight and registration body – the Green Deal Code of Practice and Green Deal Mark; Green Deal finance, the Golden rule, …

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5 small tweaks for a greener (more energy efficient) lifestyle

Posted by Cindy Liu on 19 November 2012 at 9:38 am

5 small tweaks for a greener (more energy efficient) lifestyle

As a member of a younger generation, I feel that I’m far more acutely aware of just how much our lifestyle choices and energy consumption affects environmental change and global warming. For me, there’s definitely enough scientific evidence to suggest that if we don’t change the…

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Will customer awareness of the domestic RHI be great enough?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 November 2012 at 9:16 am

Will customer awareness of the domestic RHI be great enough?

Government needs to take action to ensure customer awareness of the renewable heat incentive (RHI), said Peter Connor, senior lecturer in renewable energy policy at the University of Exeter. He was speaking at the Westminster Forum seminar on delivering the RHI earlier this week. This was somethi…

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Metering is biggest challenge to RHI

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2012 at 3:09 pm

Metering is biggest challenge to RHI

The biggest challenges in the RHI are around metering, according to Lindsay Goater, senior manager, RHI generation at Ofgem. Speaking at the Westminster Forum seminar, Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive, earlier this week he said that the main problem is meters not installing them to the man…

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Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive - speech to Westminster Forum

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 November 2012 at 9:44 am

Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive - speech to Westminster Forum

This is my speech to the Westminster Energy, Environment and Transport Forum seminar on Delivering the Renewable Heat Incentive: controlling costs suppporting new technologies and moving towards the domestic roll out on Tuesday 13 November 2012. YouGen is a information website for home and sm…

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Voltage spikes cause drops in solar PV performance

Posted by Rob Palgrave on 12 November 2012 at 10:36 am

Voltage spikes cause drops in solar PV performance

A members of my local Friends of the Earth group installed solar PV on her roof at the  start of the year. This is in Surrey. The generated energy is much lower than  expected, and the installer has not been able to resolve the issue so far.  Suspicion falls on the compatibility of…

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Do you know what the best options are for improving the energy efficiency of your home?

Posted by Chris Newman on 9 November 2012 at 8:37 am

Do you know what the best options are for improving the energy efficiency of your home?

With winter approaching and energy prices rising again, you may be thinking about how to make your home warmer. But where do you start?  Our mantra at Parity is that every “home is different”, and by that we don’t just mean the physics of the house, we mean th…

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Domestic or not? Where's the divide for the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 November 2012 at 9:03 am

Domestic or not? Where's the divide for the Renewable Heat Incentive?

Businesses that run from home can experience complications when claiming the renewable heat incentive. Do they count as  domestic or commercial for the purposes of the RHI? It's an important question, as the two versions of the scheme are quite different. The non-domestic renewable h…

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How to measure your energy consumption

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 6 November 2012 at 2:19 pm

How to measure your energy consumption

Most householders are made aware of the energy efficiency of their home using energy performance certificate (EPC) ratings. While EPC ratings are relatively simple and are useful for providing high level information, they are not very transparent, not possible to measure without outside help and…

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Free, comprehensive guide to farm energy saving

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 5 November 2012 at 9:57 am

Free, comprehensive guide to farm energy saving

Keeping the costs of energy down is a must for most farms, but the challenge is often knowing where to start. As in most businesses it's easy to let the urgent take priority over the important, but as the writers of a detailed new guide to energy efficiency say, if you don't start planning change no…

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Feed-in tariff for solar PV falls, but ROI increases

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 November 2012 at 10:09 am

Feed-in tariff for solar PV falls, but ROI increases

The first automatic degression of the solar PV feed-in tariff rate occurred yesterday. To put that in plain English, the rate for new installations fell by 3.5 per cent for all installations of 150kW and below. For a 4kW installation that meant a reduction in tariff from 16p per kWh to 15.44p.&nb…

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How can we best use our solar generated electricity?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 2 November 2012 at 9:34 am

How can we best use our solar generated electricity?

Q: We have just installed PV solar panels, rated at max output of 2.25 kW. Very pleased so far (3 weeks). Careful use of daytime electricity and a woodburning stove for cooking means our energy is only costing an average of around 50p per day. (We collect waste wood to burn and we do most of our co…

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I'm on mains gas, am I eligible for the domestic RHI?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 November 2012 at 3:06 pm

I'm on mains gas, am I eligible for the domestic RHI?

Q: I am very interested in the RHI (renewable heat incentive) but a little confused! I would love a biomass boiler or air source heat pump but I have read somewhere that if I have gas and disconnect from the gas mains I still can't claim RHI? Is this true? Are biomass and ASHP RHI payments only for …

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How to choose an installer - October's reader tip of the month

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 October 2012 at 11:15 am

How to choose an installer - October's reader tip of the month

Wise words on choosing an installer from Dax: "Beware the cold callers and their convenient ability to reduce the cost by a) working locally so can install at a reduced cost b) ringing the director when you continue to say 'NO' as there are commercial installations at business …

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Should the RHI aim to raise performance of renewable heat technologies?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 October 2012 at 8:58 am

Should the RHI aim to raise performance of renewable heat technologies?

If the renewable heat incentive (RHI) is to meet its stated goals of generating more energy from renewable sources and reducing carbon emissions, it is important that the installations subsidised by it are efficient and high performing. This requires good design and installation and owners who know …

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Proposals aim to make the energy market clearer and fairer

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 October 2012 at 9:22 am

Proposals aim to make the energy market clearer and fairer

Simpler, clearer and fairer is how Ofgem describes its proposals to reform the energy market. It aims to put an end to the confusion of complex (impenetrably so in most cases) tariffs, thus making the market more competitive. Ofgem is proposing simplifying the market by limiting each supplier to…

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Ten top tips to reduce the cost of running your fridge-freezer

Posted by Ross Lammas on 26 October 2012 at 10:57 am

Ten top tips to reduce the cost of running your fridge-freezer

Virtually every modern appliance we use runs on electricity, but the biggest consumer is the refrigerator. Fridges and freezers are found in almost every single home in the country, and they collectively use over £1.2 billion worth of electricity each year. Refrigerators require so much …

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How do you decide whether or not to install a microgeneration system?

Posted by Paul Balcombe on 25 October 2012 at 2:43 pm

How do you decide whether or not to install a microgeneration system?

Microgeneration systems can be more environmentally friendly and generate cheaper energy (most of the time, taking into account the life span of the system) than their normal alternative: gas boilers or electricity from the grid. This makes microgeneration an appealing prospect for some a…

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Solar power is most popular energy for the future

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 October 2012 at 3:30 pm

Solar power is most popular energy for the future

While the message from government seems to be focusing on a dash for gas and fracking, the public has just demonstrated that it's way ahead of government in its support for future powered by renewable energy. Results of a new poll from YouGov found that people would like to see more investment in so…

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DECC announces cashback scheme to incentivise energy saving improvements

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 22 October 2012 at 2:59 pm

DECC announces cashback scheme to incentivise energy saving improvements

Householders making energy saving improvements to their home will be able to claim up to half the cost back under a new cashback scheme. The government has put aside £125m to help kick start its flagship Green Deal scheme which will provide finance for energy efficiency measures from 28 January nex…

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Industry asked to support national solar campaign

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 October 2012 at 1:25 pm

Industry asked to support national solar campaign

Solar PV still offers attractive returns, yet domestic sales have slowed radically. I've heard many theories about why, and much hand wringing, but not much about solutions. Until now. I'm delighted to hear that the industry is launching a positive nationwide solar campaign to highlight the benefits…

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Loyalty card scheme aims to boost take up of energy saving measures

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 19 October 2012 at 9:14 am

Loyalty card scheme aims to boost take up of energy saving measures

Loyalty cards have been around for ages. Most airlines and supermarkets have them. But so far, they haven't played much of a part in the energy market. This is all set to change with the launch of the National Energy Card which will be piloted with solar PV, and is due to start in November this year…

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How to keep your solar panels clean

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 October 2012 at 9:01 am

How to keep your solar panels clean

We're often asked whether you should clean your solar panels so I was interested to see two very different methods of keeping them in tip top generating condition at the Solar Power UK exhibition last week. Anything that blocks the light transmission to your solar PV (or thermal) panels …

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Storage system for domestic solar electricity launched

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 16 October 2012 at 9:48 am

Storage system for domestic solar electricity launched

With a large discrepancy between the cost of buying and selling electricity, the owners of domestic solar PV systems are always asking how they can use more of it on site. So it was exciting to speak with the inventors of the first fully integrated storage system for domestic Solar PV at Solar Po…

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Conservation officer asks home owner to remove solar panels

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 October 2012 at 10:16 am

Conservation officer asks home owner to remove solar panels

Solar PV is a permitted development, however that doesn't stop problems with planning cropping up. Individual councils are left to interpret the rules as they see fit.  We have just heard of a recent example in Dacorum Borough Council in Hertfordshire. A YouGen reader had a 3kw system instal…

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Two energy companies raise their prices today

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 October 2012 at 4:08 pm

Two energy companies raise their prices today

British Gas announced today that electricity and gas prices would be increasing by 6% for their customers. Npower followed suit with a 8.8% hike for gas and 9.1% for electricity. The price increase comes at a time when there are already 6 million households in fuel poverty across the UK, sp…

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What the domestic RHI means for air source heat pumps

Posted by Chris Davis on 11 October 2012 at 9:40 am

What the domestic RHI means for air source heat pumps

The long awaited details of how the Government will support householders who install renewable heating systems have been announced at last. The RHI (renewable heat incentive) is due to be introduced in the summer of 2013, and one of the answers most keenly awaited has been whether or not air sou…

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A new approach to renewable energy is needed

Posted by Merlin Hyman on 9 October 2012 at 12:08 pm

A new approach to renewable energy is needed

The south west is one of the windiest parts of Europe and a pioneer of wind farms, with the first UK site at Delabole in Cornwall. Yet each new proposal for a wind farm faces strong opposition from a vocal minority. This toxic process slows the development of renewable energy and makes it more e…

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How solar energy has evolved

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 8 October 2012 at 9:26 am

How solar energy has evolved

Solar energy is a remarkable yet simple concept. Thanks to solar panels, you can use sunlight to create electricity for your home or business. The technology behind this has evolved dramatically in the past few decades, but you might be surprised to know the history of solar power goes back thousa…

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How to quantify the value of energy saving improvements

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 5 October 2012 at 8:53 am

How to quantify the value of energy saving improvements

A question we get asked a lot is whether energy saving improvements add value to your property. For many of our clients, a positive answer makes the capital expenditure easier to bear as you know that you get the value back on a sale. Traditionally, energy and energy efficiency measur…

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Solar panels make your house more attractive to buyers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 4 October 2012 at 6:52 pm

Solar panels make your house more attractive to buyers

Solar panels are one of the most desirable 'deal-sealers' for people buying a new house according to new research. Logic says that solar panels should add value to a property, especially as most installations currently come with 20 or more years of feed-in tariff income attached. However, research o…

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3 simple steps to recommending your installer on YouGen

Posted by Gilly Jones on 3 October 2012 at 3:15 pm

3 simple steps to recommending your installer on YouGen

Here at YouGen we help people to find good installers by publishing recommendations from people like you. That feedback also keeps companies on their toes, and helps them to improve their service. To let them know how they did: Step 1. Sign up on the site and log in. (We a…

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Why the RHI probably won't encourage domestic solar thermal installations

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 October 2012 at 12:12 pm

Why the RHI probably won't encourage domestic solar thermal installations

New announcements about the solar water heating calculation for domestic RHI render this blog no longer relevant. For the latest information click here. Unlike the feed-in tariff, the RHI (renewable heat incentive) is not designed to provide a specific rate of return. It is intended as a boil…

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Solar Power UK opens tomorrow!

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 1 October 2012 at 9:14 am

Solar Power UK opens tomorrow!

Don’t miss out on the UK’s largest solar dedicated event! Whether you are already involved or new to the solar sector, make sure you visit Solar Power UK and discover exactly what the hype is all about. Connecting you with over 180 of the world’s leading product and service suppliers, Sola…

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Get snug with under-floor insulation

Posted by Tom Bragg on 28 September 2012 at 9:36 am

Get snug with under-floor insulation

We have a wood stove in our sitting-room and normally get snug there on a winter’s evening, with the rest of the house often unheated. But the floor has been noticeably cold – it’s a typical old terraced house with suspended wooden floors above about half a metre of space, venti…

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Reader tip of the month - turn it off!

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 27 September 2012 at 4:22 pm

Reader tip of the month - turn it off!

We talk about technology a lot on the website, but technology by itself is not enough - it's the user that makes the most difference. It's no good having the most efficient boiler, if you turn the thermostat up high, and then open the windows when it gets too hot.  User-behaviour was the the…

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Solar PV: still an attractive investment

Posted by John Ditchfield on 27 September 2012 at 11:30 am

Solar PV: still an attractive investment

In these challenging times for investors, diversity is king. With interest rates low, getting a guaranteed index linked income long term is attractive. So how do solar photovoltaic panels (PV) fit the bill? The Feed in Tariff (or FIT) has been around for a couple of years as an in…

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Energy efficiency is the answer to rising fuel bills

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 25 September 2012 at 9:27 am

Energy efficiency is the answer to rising fuel bills

Four of the Big Six UK energy providers are expected to increase energy prices by the end of this year after Scottish and Southern Electric (SSE) announced plans to increase domestic gas and electricity prices by an average of 9 per cent from October 15. The price rise, set to affect 5 million el…

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Heating controls often aren't used effectively

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 24 September 2012 at 9:21 am

Heating controls often aren't used effectively

Difficulties using heating controls are widespread according to Consumer Focus which has reviewed a wide range of research on the subject (click here to download the full research results). Displays are difficult to see, buttons difficult to use, they don't tend to be intuitive to use, they are ofte…

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Details of proposed domestic RHI now available

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 September 2012 at 2:19 pm

The long-awaited proposals for support for householders who install renewable heating systems have been announced today. People changing their heating to technologies such as biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal receive a financial incentive along the same lines as the feed-in tariff…

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Strong shortlist for SW Renewable Energy Installer of the Year

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 September 2012 at 12:23 pm

Strong shortlist for SW Renewable Energy Installer of the Year

Judges will have a hard time choosing a winner in the Installer of the Year category of the South West Green Energy Awards sponsored by us at YouGen, and organised by RegenSW.  Our mission is to help people to get the right renewable or energy saving solution for their home or business. Know…

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Review: Home Energy Handbook: A guide to saving and generating energy in your home and community

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 September 2012 at 9:38 am

Review: Home Energy Handbook: A guide to saving and generating energy in your home and community

I've read a lot about energy in the past four years: how to save it, and how to generate it. But I until now I haven't found any one source that explains how we use energy in our homes, and how to use it more effectively, as well as the Home Energy Handbook. Published a couple of months ago by th…

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Lightning strikes and solar PV

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 17 September 2012 at 9:36 am

Lightning strikes and solar PV

YouGen reader Alan Drever lives on the south west coast of Isle of Skye. This part of Scotland has a higher than average lightning incidence, so when considering installation of a solar PV system it was something he wanted to take into consideration. The risk of lightning strike is not just theor…

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Installers may not be doing adequate solar PV tests

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 September 2012 at 12:31 pm

Installers may not be doing adequate solar PV tests

Shocking results of a recent survey suggest that many MCS Solar PV installers may not be doing key PV array tests. Writing in his blog on Solar Power Portal  yesterday, Sundog Energy founder Martin Cotterell said: "Every PV installer accredited under MCS should know how to test a completed PV s…

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Solar thermal and the RHI: find out the latest at SPUK 2012

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 14 September 2012 at 11:02 am

Solar thermal and the RHI: find out the latest at SPUK 2012

Solar thermal installers who want to know more about the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) can get the latest updates straight from the horse's mouth at Solar Power UK on 2 October. Announcements of two consultations on the RHI - one on the domestic scheme, and the other on changes t…

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4 things to consider before installing a domestic wind power

Posted by Dave Houston on 14 September 2012 at 9:31 am

4 things to consider before installing a domestic wind power

Wind turbines are a Marmite technology - you either love them or hate them. Whichever way you feel, they are still a credible source of energy for the home if you have a good site, so the pros and cons deserve serious consideration prior to installation.  1. Visual impact on the land…

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Davey upbeat about continued green growth

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 12 September 2012 at 11:27 am

Davey upbeat about continued green growth

The green economy is the engine of growth according to Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey. Speaking yesterday at a Sustainable Energy Reception organised by RegenSW and hosted by Duncan Hames MP, he was upbeat about the contribution the renewable energy sector will make. We wo…

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Great discounts available for Solar Power UK seminars

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 11 September 2012 at 8:15 am

Great discounts available for Solar Power UK seminars

YouGen has teamed up with Solar Power UK to support UK renewable energy installers. If you are an MCS accredited installer and want to expand your product knowledge, learn more about how the right business model can boost your business or are considering expanding into the commercial sized market; t…

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How does a passivhaus handle the summer heat: a case study

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 10 September 2012 at 9:31 am

How does a passivhaus handle the summer heat: a case study

This is our second summer of experience from one of our passivhaus retrofits. The good news is that, with a little bit of occupant management, both summers have been a great success – the house has stayed cool and fresh, with minor instances of localised over-heating.  When we mode…

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Feed-in tariff hits the Archers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 September 2012 at 11:24 am

Feed-in tariff hits the Archers

Last night grumpy old Adam Macy on Radio 4's The Archers acknowledged that his step father Brian had made a good move building an anaerobic digestion system. "It's the one part I do buy into. Even with the tariff cuts the figures do look pretty good. ... It's going to produce a lot more power than w…

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How to send a simple signal that energy efficiency is important

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 September 2012 at 10:49 am

How to send a simple signal that energy efficiency is important

We can bang on about the importance of energy effiiciency as much and as loudly as we want, but maybe there are more subtle ways of stating its importance and raising it up people's consciousness. On my recent holiday in France I saw two examples of simple, yet really effective awareness (and consci…

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Solar PV or solar thermal: which is best for heating water?

Posted by Paul Hutchens on 6 September 2012 at 9:46 am

Solar PV or solar thermal: which is best for heating water?

When I started Eco2Solar in 2007 it was clear where the growth area was in the market. Fuelled by rising energy prices, increased awareness of climate change and fuel security, as well as new targets such as Code for Sustainable Homes or Merton Rule (10% of energy from renewables) for new build …

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Is domestic voltage optimisation all it's cracked up to be?

Posted by James Page on 3 September 2012 at 9:27 am

Is domestic voltage optimisation all it's cracked up to be?

See recent article: 'Add-on' equipment for solar PV: an opportunity but beware of possible pitfalls   The domestic microgeneration market has seen an increased interest in voltage optimisation (VO) technology. This is either being promoted by voltage optimisation compani…

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Readers tips of the month - August

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 31 August 2012 at 3:28 pm

Readers tips of the month - August

Claire Tindel, who has installed solar PV, says "put your dishwasher and washing machine on in the middle of the day" (it's probably best to run them one after the other, rather than together unless you've got a large system, and the sun's shining stronly). Mike Beale is a 71 year old enthusiasti…

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If you're not sure about renewables, nothing beats seeing them in situ

Posted by Gordon Glass on 31 August 2012 at 9:35 am

If you're not sure about renewables, nothing beats seeing them in situ

The unfamiliarity of a lot of new technologies such as biomass boilers, solid wall insulation, heat pumps and solar panels puts many people off the idea of installing one. Seeing one working in someone's home, and being able to ask questions about how they find it can make all the difference. …

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Specialist energy companies give best feed-in tariff service; E.on gives worst

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 August 2012 at 2:16 pm

Specialist energy companies give best feed-in tariff service; E.on gives worst

Questions and complaints about energy companies and how the service they deliver to feed-in tariff (FIT) customers regularly pop up in our inbox and in comments on blogs. When people get solar panels, or other microgeneration technology, they often just sign up with their existing supplier. But o…

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I'm getting solar panels: should I switch electricity supplier?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 30 August 2012 at 11:38 am

I'm getting solar panels: should I switch electricity supplier?

Q: Dear Cathy - From the customer side of things, I will have a brand new 4KW PV system shortly and am currently on a Scottish Power May 2013 fixed electricity only deal (with Econ7)  - no standing charge - with staged day rate tariff of first 225 kwh used each quarter @23.319p with r…

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How to use excess solar electricity for water heating

Posted by Stuart Houghton on 28 August 2012 at 2:02 pm

How to use excess solar electricity for water heating

I am asked again and again how to maximise the use of the generated electricity of my customers' solar PV systems. Apart from using your large appliances when the sun is shining bright, the largest benefit would be using the excess electricity to power your immersion heater. Un…

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7 easy wins to improve the energy efficiency of your home

Posted by greentomatoenergy . on 24 August 2012 at 9:19 am

7 easy wins to improve the energy efficiency of your home

With a lot of discussion about rising energy bills, many concerned homeowners now feel compelled to make a positive effort to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.  Easy wins are those measures which can be adopted without major cost or disruption and you can often instal…

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Top tips for disposing of energy saving lightbulbs and other WEE

Posted by Liam Tarry on 22 August 2012 at 9:02 am

Top tips for disposing of energy saving lightbulbs and other WEE

Here in the UK we throw away a million tonnes of household electrical and electronic waste every year - and that’s just from our homes. If that figure wasn’t shocking enough, at least as much comes from non-household sources such as offices, factories, schools and hospitals. Waste electrical …

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10 techniques for marketing your renewable energy business

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 20 August 2012 at 8:53 am

10 techniques for marketing your renewable energy business

The first thing most people think of when they talk about marketing is advertising. However, there are lots of other ways of getting your renewable energy technology into domestic and commercial buildings, many of which are more cost effective than traditional advertising. But first, some bas…

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The five most common solar misconceptions I experience as a solar surveyor

Posted by Gabriel Wondrausch on 17 August 2012 at 10:01 am

The five most common solar misconceptions I experience as a solar surveyor

Working in the renewable industry can be a challenging experience, particularly over the past six months or so with the confusion surrounding the feed-in tariff. Now the uncertainty has been resolved, it appears the industry is on the up. However, there are a number of misconceptions abou…

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Can I connect solar PV to my storage heaters?

Posted by Chris Rudge on 16 August 2012 at 8:37 am

Can I connect solar PV to my storage heaters?

Q: Can I connect my solar power to my storage heaters, and what are the pros and cons? A: I would strongly advise that unless you have a large (10kwP) solar PV system, having a diversion unit installed to re-direct excess power to a storage heater during the day will not be economic, ma…

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Open homes: see how others have improved their homes

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 15 August 2012 at 9:35 am

Open homes: see how others have improved their homes

Every year there are more and more people opening up their homes, so others can see what measures they have taken to make them warmer, more comfortable, last but not least cheaper to heat. With energy bills on a steep upward trajectory, taking action to reduce your need for energy has never made so …

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Renewable energy market research: experiences of domestic consumers

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 13 August 2012 at 9:39 am

Renewable energy market research: experiences of domestic consumers

The best market research I've seen on what drives consumers in the domestic market for renewable energy is an excellent publication from Consumer Focus. Although it is called Keeping FIT, it is subtitled consumers' attitudes and experiences of microgeneration. Inevitably most of the experience is ab…

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Can I get an EPC for my solar installation before I finish my renovation?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 10 August 2012 at 8:47 am

Can I get an EPC for my solar installation before I finish my renovation?

Q: I am carrying out a substantial renovation of our new family home. Prior to starting it  had a EPC (energy performance certificate) grade F. I have installed Solar but was not told of the rules on EPC for the feed-in tariff, nor did the survey etc pick it up prior to installation. It ha…

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Definition of hard to treat cavity wall for green deal

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 8 August 2012 at 9:35 am

Definition of hard to treat cavity wall for green deal

We know buildings with 'hard to treat' cavity walls will be eligible for funding under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), when it comes on line early next year. But how do you know if your walls count as hard to treat? Greg Barker made a written statement to house of commons on the …

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YouGen sponsors SW Installer of the Year Award

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 August 2012 at 9:07 am

YouGen sponsors SW Installer of the Year Award

At YouGen we are all about promoting quality and excellence, and helping put consumers in touch with the best installers. That's why we've decided to sponsor the south west Green Energy Awards 2012 Installer or Supplier of the Year category. Run by RegenSW, the awards are now in their 10th year. …

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7 top tips for getting your award entry noticed

Posted by Gilly Jones on 7 August 2012 at 9:06 am

7 top tips for getting your award entry noticed

Who doesn’t like being recognised for a job well done? Awards are brilliant for PR and marketing, and we know from personal experience here at YouGen, that even reaching the finals of any award creates a buzz, and as for winning, well..... We’d love your business to have that buzz too, so we…

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Solar Power UK announces seminar programme

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 August 2012 at 8:56 am

Solar Power UK is proud to announce its 2012 seminar programme. At Solar Power UK in 2012, you can gain access to more than 80 practical and valuable presentations in three dedicated seminar halls. Across 14 carefully constructed half day sessions you will hear from the industry's leading experts…

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YouGen guide to marketing renewable energy

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 6 August 2012 at 10:35 am

YouGen guide to marketing renewable energy

While many of the renewable energy technologies have been around for a long time, the market for renewable energy is still young. The products are  expensive, the government subsidies can be complicated and (in the case of solar PV) a moving feast. Buyers are generally pretty ignorant about how…

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EPC software seems unable to handle eco improvements

Posted by Martin Hodnett on 2 August 2012 at 10:44 am

EPC software seems unable to handle eco improvements

Recently, we had to get an energy performance certificate (EPC) done to qualify for the feed-in tariff (FiT) for solar panels. We live in an old Devon longhouse constructed of cob. An Esse wood burning range cooker, a solar thermal panel system, and an oil-fired boiler (as backup for very cold we…

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