week ending 10 June 2011
Government changes to the rate at which feed-in tariffs (FITs) are paid for large-scale renewable energy installations will discourage developers and landlords from adding solar panels to the UK’s homes, offices and shops, the British Property Federation has warned.
Housing Excellence 10th June 2011 more >>
A common theme among the responses to the UK’s revised feed-in tariffs for solar photovoltaics (PV) and anaerobic digestion, has been one of disappointment.
Renewable Energy Focus 10th June 2011 more >>
The government has released the final results of its Feed-in Tariff review, confirming rates for ‘large-scale’ solar projects will be slashed.
Low Carbon Economy 10th June 2011 more >>
The Government’s decision to cut subsidies for solar energy to all but the smallest projects will threaten investment and job creation in the alternative energy sector, environmental and industry groups warned yesterday. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said the change to feed-in tariffs would maintain funding for households to put up panels by diverting them from larger projects. But campaigners said the decision would kill off schemes planned by schools, housing associations and other community organisations. Howard Johns, the chairman of the Solar Trade Association, accused the Treasury of handicapping DECC’s ability to respond to developments in the market when the UK should be investing in one of the industries of the future.
Independent 10th June 2011 more >>
The announcement of new and, for the most part, substantially lower feed-in tariffs for solar-power projects will come to be seen as another black mark on the Coalition Government’s record on climate change and a huge missed opportunity. An independent report in the US yesterday revealed that in much of the country, solar power is now no more expensive than electricity generated from oil or gas. This “grid parity” is now being achieved without any subsidies but only because the solar industry has had enough support in the past for technologies to be explored that have brought down costs, and for scale to be reached. What a pity, then, that in the UK, we are withdrawing such support barely a year after introducing it. For the feed-in tariffs for all but the smallest projects in themselves worthy, but not collectively able to produce significant amounts of power are now being cut so drastically that large-scale projects are likely to disappear.
Independent 10th June 2011 more >>
Howard Johns, Solar Trade Association chairman, said: The UK government is derailing solar just as other major economies including China, Japan and Germany are moving solar to the heart of energy policy. Schemes in leisure centres, supermarkets and schools would be severely limited, he added. Some energy policy analysts also questioned the decision. This is an overreaction, said Dr Robert Gross, an energy policy expert at Imperial College London. We should still support people putting solar panels up on factories and warehouses.
FT 10th June 2011 more >>
Reducing subsidies for large-scale solar installations, as the government had done today, is intended to increase the number of panels on house roofs. However, the Guardian has learned of dozens of examples of projects, often community-led, that will not now go ahead because the cuts subsidies on some schemes have been slashed by two-thirds mean the returns on investment now being offered are insufficient to attract bank loans or other forms of financing.
Guardian 10th June 2011 more >>
Solar power developers have secured a judicial review to challenge the Governments controversial decision to slash subsidies for larger projects. Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, is the named defendant in the action, which will go to the High Court for a two-day hearing at the end of next month. If the ten developers involved prevail, the Government would be forced into an embarrassing climbdown over the cuts, the size of which were confirmed yesterday.
Times 10th June 2011 more >>
Telegraph 10th June 2011 more >>
A group of solar power companies have won the right to proceed with a legal case against the Department of Energy and Climate Change after a High Court judge ruled in its favour. The group comprising firms such as Low Carbon Solar UK are looking to challenge DECC’s decision to cut the feed-in tariff for solar photovoltaics installations over 50kW. According to reports, the case will be heard before July 29.
Electrical Times 10th June 2011 more >>
Exeter Express & Echo 10th June 2011 more >>
PV Tech 9th June 2011 more >>
South West Solar Reaction
Slashing incentives for larger-scale solar power projects will kill the industry in the West, ministers were warned last night. The Government claims to be worried about huge commercial “solar farms” cashing in on the feed-in tariffs (FITs) designed to boost small-scale renewable energy. Energy Minister Greg Barker will press on with controversial moves to cut the threshold for the subsidies to prevent the system from being “overwhelmed”. But critics said it was a costcutting exercise designed to save £40 million – and was being forced through despite most respondents to a consultation exercise opposing the move.
Western Daily Press 10th June 2011 more >>
FENLAND’s renewable energy drive is back in the limelight after a plan to build the area’s first solar farm was put back before councillors. Fenland District Council rejected The Abbey Group’s initial plans to build a 35-acre solar farm at Burnthouse Farm in Turves earlier this year. Councillors said the farm - set to provide 5MW of power, enough to support up to 1,200 homes - would result in an “unjustified” loss of high-quality agricultural land for a minimum of 25 years. But the Abbey Renewables branch of the Whittlesey-based firm has appealed against the decision and re-submitted its original application to councillors.
Cambs Times 10th June 2011 more >>
Revenue at renewable energy company Myriad CEG jumped more than 50% last financial year after it acquired wind turbine, solar panel and heat pump businesses, and it plans to almost double its revenue this financial year. In unaudited results for the financial year to 31 March, revenue was £11.5m, up from £7.4m for the previous year. However the company was pushed into a £500,000 loss because of acquisition and reorganisation costs.
Building 10th June 2011 more >>
Fast-growing wind turbine specialist SIAC Wind Energy has joined calls for an easement in the planning approvals process for micro generator wind turbine installations after the matter was raised yesterday in the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Question Time. A question from Michael McCann MP highlighted the plight of a wind turbine supplier having to make redundancies ‘because planning applications for its product are stuck in town halls and bureaucracy all over the United Kingdom’. SIAC Wind Energy is a dedicated supplier of small and medium scale wind turbines and is the exclusive distributor of Bergey Wind Power products in the UK and Ireland. The company offers a complete service from consultancy, planning, grid connection and product selection to fabrication, installation, and maintenance. It is part of the Irish-based SIAC Construction Group, one of Ireland’s largest contractors with a strong reputation and growing business in both the UK and around the world.
SIAC Wind 9th June 2011 more >>
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has today dashed hopes that it would reconsider proposed cuts to feed-in tariff (FIT) incentives for large solar installations, confirming that the new incentive regime will come into effect as planned from 1 August. The solar industry has been lobbying the government to scale back its proposed cuts, arguing that reductions in feed-in tariffs of between 40 and 70 per cent will make virtually all solar installations with over 50kW capacity unviable. But responding to its fast-track consultation, today DECC confirmed it would stick with the changes proposed in the original consultation document, imposing deep cuts in incentives to solar installations with over 50kW capacity and also delivering increases in the level of support available for anaerobic digestion technologies.
Business Green 9th June 2011 more >>
Subsidies for large-scale solar power installations are to be cut drastically, in a move that ministers said would preserve funds for households to put up panels, but industry warned would mean a slower uptake of renewable power.
Guardian 9th June 2011 more >>
Commentary and Analysis by JDS Associates for Micro Power Council.
JDS Associates 9th June 2011 more >>
DECC Press Release 9th June 2011 more >>
The UK solar industry’s worst fears have today been realised as Government ploughs ahead with its proposed feed-in tariff cuts. Paying absolutely no attention to industry’s kicking and screaming, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has kept to its original plan and imposed ridiculously reduced rates of as little as 8.5p per kilowatt hour.
PV Tech 9th June 2011 more >>
Cutting payouts for all schemes above 50 kilowatts (kW) - the equivalent of putting solar panels on around 20 homes - has raised fears that schemes for communities, schools and social housing could no longer be viable. Under the revised rates, which come into force for new installations from August 1, the biggest projects will be paid 8.5p for each unit of green electricity they produce, instead of more than 30p under the current arrangements. Mid-size schemes will see their subsidies slashed by as much as half, from 30p to 15p, while projects over 50kW will have a new, lower rate of 19p.
24 Dash 9th June 2011 more >>
AD FiT Levels
Reacting to DECC’s announcement of new levels of Feed-in Tariff for AD to start in August, Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association chairman Lord Redesdale said: “The AD industry will be disappointed with the new levels announced: FiTs have so far failed to help more than a couple of projects, and this increase is too small to make any significant change to that. “The government does not appear to have taken a strategic view of the role that they want AD to play. These levels are insufficient to encourage AD plants at any scale. Today’s announcement will fail to move us closer to the ‘huge increase’ in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion which the coalition promised.”
Low Carbon Economy 9th June 2011 more >>
Business Green 9th June 2011 more >>
Leicestershire Community Solar
A village is hoping to win £60,000 to pay for a solar energy scheme to power community buildings. The project to reduce energy costs at the school, village hall and sports club in North Kilworth has made it through to the regional finals of the National Lottery Jubilee People’s Millions competition. The scheme will be featured alongside another finalist on ITV Central news this month. Viewers will be asked to vote for the group they think is most worthy of the cash. The project has been launched by Village Power CIC (Community Interest Company), formed by some of the 600 villagers.
Leicestershire Mercury 9th June 2011 more >>
Solar Motor Sport
The M-Sport rally base near Cockermouth has been given the green light to install a massive solar energy plant on its roof.
Times & Star 9th June 2011 more >>
A FORWARD thinking business on the Ferndown Industrial Estate has led the way in greener business practices. MVS Audio Visual has installed 78 photovoltaic solar panels, that will now generate one third of its electricity consumption
Dorset Business 9th June 2011 more >>
Independent research commissioned by TheEcoExperts.co.uk, the free service designed to help homeowners become more energy efficient, has found that despite the Governments’ bid to reduce carbon emissions amongst UK households, the main barrier facing the uptake of solar power is the perceived expense of installing solar panels in the home; with 60 per cent of homeowners believing that solar panels are too expensive to buy and install upfront. A further 7.5 per cent believe that installing solar panels wouldn’t save them much money on their annual household electricity bills.
Real Wire 9th June 2011 more >>
As judicial review gets go-ahead, climate minister defends cuts to solar incentives and pledges to support rollout of hundreds of thousands of installations.
Business Green 9th June 2011 more >>
A Government Minister has pledged to take up a campaign initiated by a UK renewable energy and microgeneration company. Greg Barker, the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, has agreed to discuss the growing chaos surrounding the installation of solar panels with the Department for Communities and Local Government. Barker’s proposed intervention follows lobbying by David Hunt, a director of the company and will be supported by Shadow Energy Ministers Huw Irranca-Davies and Luciana Berger. The campaign, which has been reported on our news page previously, was triggered after a number of local councils, including Eden District Council and West Lancashire Council, told homeowners they needed to seek permission before having solar panels installed.
Green Building Press 8th June 2011 more >>
Heating & Ventilating.net 10th June 2011 more >>
Solar Scheme Scrapped
A scheme to build a 20,000-panel solar power project next to East Midlands Airport has been shelved. Airport bosses had originally hoped the 10-hectare (25-acre) site would produce about a third of the facility’s energy. But some nearby residents said it would use up agricultural land and open the door to further development. An airport spokesman said the move was linked to a recent government decision to reduce incentives for alternate energy projects.
BBC 8th June 2011 more >>
SOLAR panels could be fitted to council houses and new wind farms built under council proposals to generate electricity. Carmarthenshire Council has made reducing its energy use one of its priorities for this year because of the expense. They also wish to be a leading authority on climate change.
Carmarthen Journal 8th June 2011 more >>
North Wales Solar
A STEEL giant’s new £6.5million renewable energy centre will generate tens of millions of pounds for the North Wales economy. Bosses at the Sustainable Building Envelope Centre (SBEC) at Tata Steel in Shotton say their solar project will be a world leader in developing low-carbon, low-energy building technologies.
Daily Post 8th June 2011 more >>
A pioneering co-operative venture which is striving to put the development and benefits of renewable energy projects into the hands of Cornish communities is urging potential investors to come forward to help ensure that the financial, social and environmental benefits of the initiative are kept within the county. In the past 12 weeks Community Power Cornwall has raised over £30,000 through its public share issue, but with the share offer deadline of June 12 looming, the co-operative is keen to encourage more individuals to commit their investment to help the community-ownership model achieve its objectives.
Western Morning News 7th June 2011 more >>
Renewable energy exhibition Intersolar celebrates its 20th anniversary at this year’s exhibition in Munich, Germany from June 8 to 10. Highlights of this year’s event include the Intersolar awards, and a look at the future of solar power in Germany.
Independent 7th June 2011 more >>
Green Deal and Engineers
Microgeneration devices could be included in the government’s proposed ‘Green Deal’, which could potentially aid civil engineering recruitment. Introduced through the recent energy bill, this scheme will enable firms to undertake construction work on homes and other buildings to make them more energy efficient at no up-front charge and then recoup their investment through subsequent energy savings.
Career Structure 7th June 2011 more >>
Toyota and British Gas Solar
Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK has partnered with British Gas for a 4.6MW installation in Derbyshire, England. Costing a total of £10 million, the ground-mounted system will feature 17,000 Sharp 245W monocrystalline panels covering an area of 90,000m2 at Toyota’s UK-based vehicle plant. British Gas will install and pay for the system, meaning that it will benefit from the feed-in tariff payments. In return for the use of its space, Toyota will utilize the energy produced to manufacture Auris, Auris Hybrid and Avensis cars. The installation is expected to generate enough electricity to build 7,000 of these vehicles a year.
PV Tech 7th June 2011 more >>
Guardian 7th June 2011 more >>
SWINDON Council wants to spend £900,000 on fitting solar panels to large town buildings. Five council-connected buildings would have the sun-collecting cells installed on their roofs in a bid to save thousands of pounds every year. If the cabinet decides to adopt the proposals tomorrow, it could save an estimated £12,696 every year in electricity bills, and would let the council export £3,555-worth of power into the National Grid.
Swindon Advertiser 7th June 2011 more >>
Raising the Scottish Standard
Starting with 150,000 of Scotland’s most poorly insulated homes, a rapid increase in the pace and scale of improving the energy efficiency of our homes will be needed if we are to meet our climate change targets, protect public health and reduce fuel poverty, WWF Scotland has said.
WWF Scotland 6th June 2011 more >>
The health risks of living in a poorly insulated home have been highlighted in a new study into the energy efficiency of Scottish housing, reports today’s Herald. WWF Scotland claims that for every £1 spent on keeping homes warm and well insulated, the NHS could well save 42 pence on health costs. Now the charity is calling upon the Scottish Government to draw up new regulations which would ensure every house that is sold or rented meets a minimum level of fuel efficiency by 2015.
Scottish Housing News 6th June 2011 more >>
Green Deal Code
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has outlined plans for a Green Deal Code, intended to ensure the energy-efficiency scheme provides consumer protection. A new document contains plans for the code, which is intended to offer consumer protection through the project, as well as the creation of a Green Deal advice line and the appointment of a United Kingdom Accreditation Service to ensure installers are reputable and qualified.
Low Carbon Economy 6th June 2011 more >>
Edinburgh Community Turbine Plan
Portobello Transition Town and Greener Leith have joined forces to explore the potential to develop a wind turbine within Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works. Early surveys suggest a wind turbine has the potential to generate enough renewable energy to supply the annual electricity needs of 300-1300 households, depending on the size of turbine installed. The generator would be the first community-owned urban wind turbine in Scotland.
Edinburgh Evening News 6th June 2011 more >>
Pedal Press Release 2nd June 2011 more >>
Despite changes expected to the UK feed-in tariff that would make large-scale projects uneconomical, while retaining incentives for the residential rooftop market, First Solar has gained Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certification for its CdTe thin-film modules.The MCS accreditation applies to First Solar’s Series 3 modules FS-370 to FS-385.
PV Tech 6th June 2011 more >>
THE future of Areley Kings Village Hall (AKVH) is looking bright after a £15,000 solar energy system was installed to generate electricity and bring in extra cash. The hall’s trustees called upon user groups, residents and businesses to pull together to raise £8,200 towards the £15,750 initial cost. More than 60 people rose to the challenge and attended a special event on Friday, May 27 to celebrate achieving £6,600 of their goal.
Halesowen News 6th June 2011 more >>
Solar Re-think Urged
The UK Coalition Government needs to rethink its solar energy policy, according a report from the Solar Trade Association (STA). But while the report urges the Government to do more to support the burgeoning solar industry, it does not call on the Government to scrap its plans to cut feed-in tariff rates for developments over 50 kW by 40-70%. The STA argues that falling prices mean that the feed-in tariff could be cut by 25% across the board – regardless of size of installation – without damaging sustainable growth in the sector. However, the Government’s solar strategy comes in for severe criticism in the report.
Energy Efficiency News 6th June 2011 more >>
EOS Energy, the Warwickshire-based renewable energy company, is offering to install photovoltaic (PV) panels on the roofs of houses, small businesses, local authority buildings and community centres for free – and the electricity generated won’t cost a penny. The company has managed to acquire funding of £20 million to enable a scheme for customers who could otherwise not afford a PV system. Rooftop arrays capable of generating solar power for homes and small buildings cost in the region of £15,000.
Heating & Plumbing Monthly 6th June 2011 more >>
Lancashire Heat Pump
A Lancashire secondary school set in a rural area is benefiting from a ground source heat pump which is exceeding expectations in terms of energy efficiency and helping young people to understand more about how renewable energy works.
Build.co.uk 6th June 2011 more >>
NEEN Sollars-based Going Solar has completed a £1.2 million contract for the UK’s largest rooftop solar power installation. The scheme involved fitting 2,200 panels at a site in Suffolk. The renewable energy installer mounted the photovoltaic panels on to a series of roofs that covered the same area as a football pitch at Debach Enterprises in Ipswich
Kidderminster Shuttle 6th June 2011 more >>
Solar panels and other forms of microgeneration have been included in the Government’s Green Deal programme - which the coalition hope will encourage homeowners and landlords make UK homes more energy efficient. Previously, the green building industry had believed that the programme - which will allow households to borrow cash (up to £10,000), paid back through their energy savings - would only stretch to insulation and draught-proofing measures.
Green Building Press 4th June 2011 more >>
Link2Portal 8th June 2011 more >>
After collaborating closely with DECC on the details of the Renewable Heat Incentive, the Micropower Council’s Dave Sowden shares his views on the scheme with H&V News. The coming year carries a great deal of promise for the renewable heat industry, he says. The long-awaited Renewable Heat Incentive will be launched – though not in its final form – and some 25,000 households across Britain are expected to benefit in the next twelve months.
H&V News 3rd June 2011 more >>
WORK on Oxfordshire’s first solar farm has begun. Enough panels to power 1,000 homes for a year are going up on a 30-acre site at Westmill Farm in Watchfield, near Faringdon. But the race against time is on because the Government is expected to cut back a scheme that gives solar panel owners cash for generating electricity from August 1.
Oxford Mail 3rd June 2011 more >>
DECC Microgeneration pages.
DECC (accessed) June 2011 more >>