week ending 24 June 2011
Solar Co-operative in Warwickshire
What are believed to be the UK’s first community-owned solar power plants to be sited at hospitals are set to be built in Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon. Local people will be able to play a part in the installation of the 70 kilowatt plants and support other environmental projects in the county by investing in the initiative. The group behind the scheme, Community Energy Warwickshire, is a community benefit society – a form of co-operative.
Birmingham Post 24th June 2011 more >>
Sainsbury goes renewable
Sainsbury’s has announced that it is set to generate enough wind energy to power all of its Scottish stores and depots using Scottish renewable energy by next year. The supermarket said it already generates enough renewable electricity to power over half of its Scottish stores and is now on the brink of securing another site that will enable it to power all 47 of its stores, as well as its depots in Scotland.
Retail Bulletin 24th June 2011 more >>
They are in danger of becoming the modern-day equivalent of the double-glazing salesman. Rogue traders are jumping on the green bandwagon to make a killing out of solar panels. Disturbing evidence of mis-selling of the energy-generating systems has been uncovered by the consumer group Which?
Daily Mail 24th June 2011 more >>
Lords look at solar cuts
A House of Lords Committee report has revealed that proposed government cuts will have a ‘significant negative impact’ on solar power generation, following consultation with industry.
The Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee received submissions from the industry about the government’s proposed licence modifications which would cut subsidies available to low carbon electricity generation. The government plans to cut subsidies available under its Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs) scheme, which was introduced last March to encourage small scale low carbon electricity generation.
Connecting Industry 23rd June 2011 more >>
Farmers in the Scottish Borders have been given the opportunity to receive up to 40,000 kilowatt/hours of free electricity every year under a ground-breaking deal between Borders Machinery Ring and ISIS solar. The added attraction of this agreement is that the farmers involved will have no capital outlay in the scheme. Michael Bayne, manager of BMR which has 850 members, said that all the farmers had to do was provide a suitable site. This, he said, could be on the roof of a building or even just along the side of a hedge.
Scotsman 23rd June 2011 more >>
Scotsman Letters 23rd June 2011 more >>
Renewable Energy Focus 21st June 2011 more >>
London-based ISIS solar has raised £2 million to install solar equipment at rural businesses within the Borders Machinery Ring, a co-operative of farmers and contractors with more than 850 members. About 20 applicants will benefit initially, but ISIS expects this to exceed 100 within weeks, and is already looking to expand the offer elsewhere in Scotland.
Scotsman 22nd June 2011 more >>
Kirknewton Community Development Trust want to install a micro hydro electricity generator within the weir at Harperrig Reservoir. They also have a broad programme of projects encouraging local people to save energy and think about ways of reducing carbon emissions. Funds generated from some of these projects will go back into supporting local community activity.
Energy Share 23rd June 2011 more >>
Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network (WREN) is a social enterprise with three aims: 1. Establish a low carbon economy within Wadebridge and the surrounding area. 2. Invest the benefits within the locality. 3. Subject the process to rigorous evaluation. WREN aims to encourage residents of the town of Wadebridge in Cornwall and its surrounding villages, to consider the collective power of working together as a community.
Energy Share 23rd June 2011 more >>
The government’s new strategy envisages the ideal cost of installing renewable microgeneration technologies to move to around £5,000-6,000 with a payback period of around five years so that millions of householders take it up. But it’s worried that if its strategy is a success, then its support schemes may run out of money.
Energy and Environment Management 23rd June 2011 more >>
Bognor Regis has the potential to become the solar power capital of the UK according to energy company E.ON. After studying UK weather patterns, the West Sussex town has emerged as one of the UK’s sunniest places to live, with 1,902 hours of sunshine every year.
Build.co.uk 23rd June 2011 more >>
PLANS for a solar energy farm in Dunbar are to go on show in a public exhibition next week - though speculation that an anaerobic digester is planned for the site has been downplayed. Hallhill Developments Ltd wants to install a £5 million solar energy farm to the rear of Asda in Dunbar, capable of powering about 900 households. It is one of the first plans of its type in Scotland.
East Lothian Courier 23rd June 2011 more >>
Geoffrey Lean: The prices of solar photovoltaic (pv) panels have been plummeting, wrong-footing even proponents of renewable energy. In just the last two years, says a new report by the blue-chip Ernst and Young the average one-off installation price of pv panels has plunged from about £1.25 per watt of generating capacity to less than 95p. And in another two, it predicts, it will have crashed again to little more than 60p, which would mean that costs had halved in just four years.
Telegraph 23rd June 2011 more >>
A “REVOLUTIONARY” new scheme is to be launched aimed at increasing the community’s ability to generate its own electric power – from the sun. Whittington and Fisherwick Environment Group (WFEG) and Low Carbon Lichfield (LoCaL) are banding together to launch a community co-operative – Southern Staffordshire Community Energy (SSCE) – “to provide affordable ways for local people to invest in solar energy”.
Lichfield Mercury 23rd June 2011 more >>
Microgeneration Action Plan
Action plan to help consumers, communities and businesses become renewable energy generators published today by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) The coalition government’s new strategy to promote microgeneration and decentralised energy is published today, aimed at making localised energy a real possibility for householders and communities across the UK. Today’s publication is the result of successful collaboration with the industry, consumer groups and others, and follows a public consultation which closed in March this year.
New Civil Engineer 22nd June 2011 more >>
Co-generation & on-site Power 22nd June 2011 more >>
Farmers Weekly 23rd June 2011 more >>
The Microgeneration UK Conference saw Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker announce the government’s action plan for microgeneration yesterday.
H&V News 22nd June 2011 more >>
Focusing on the non-financial hurdles to greater microgeneration, the strategy addresses seven key areas, including improvements to the Microgeneration Certification Scheme to aid small businesses. The strategy also lays out steps to ensure sufficient skills exist within the country and maintaining consumer protection through the use of insurance and warranties. A Standard Assessment Procedure is also introduced to create a framework which allows for an accurate representation of how the microgeneration technologies will contribute to low carbon homes.
Low Carbon Economy 22nd June 2011 more >>
The Government’s new strategy to promote microgeneration and decentralised energy is published today
DECC Press Release 22nd June 2011 more >>
During his speech, the energy minister referred to the recent review of the feed-in tariff (Fit), which he described as a difficult decision, but it had been the right thing to do, he said. According to the Government, the feed-in tariff scheme and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) will provide the impetus behind the industry, and help drive costs down over time as technologies such as solar panels, micro wind turbines and small-scale hydro systems reach a critical mass.
Solar Guide 23rd June 2011 more >>
Spare capacity in water company anaerobic digesters should be available to co-digest solid waste together with sewage sludge and generate ‘renewable’ biogas, says the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) in its new Policy Position Statement on co-digestion. Too often this is hampered by complex regulations governing the recycling to land of the solid output (a useful soil conditioner) and wrangling over how the financial proceeds should be reinvested into the tightly regulated water industry.
CIWEM 23rd June 2011 more >>
A MERSEYSIDE renewable energy company has announced plans to open across the UK in the next 12 months, following a big increase in revenues. Eco Environments increased turnover to £1.4m last year – a significant rise on the previous year – and has now set its sights on hitting the £5m mark within two years. The Bootle company already operates six offices across the north of England, North Wales and Midlands but is planning to launch in the South East, East Anglia and the South West by this time next year. Eco Environments designs, installs and commissions a range of renewable energy and energy conservation systems, specialising in solar photovoltaic, wind turbines and solar thermal water heating systems and heat pumps.
Liverpool Daily Post 22nd June 2011 more >>
Bexley Solar Farm
A BEXLEY school has got the green light to provide nearly half of its energy needs using solar power. But the Bexley Business Academy in Yarnton Way, Thamesmead, may be the first and possibly the last school of its size in the country, to achieve it.
News Shopper 22nd June 2011 more >>
Energy Efficiency in Manchester
BEECH Properties has picked up a Pioneer award at the British Renewable Energy Awards last week. The firm beat supermarket giant Sainsbury’s to the prize at a gala dinner at London’s Kensington Hotel attended by around 350 people.Stephen Beech, proprietor of Beech Properties, said: “It shows that small companies can compete with the big boys when it comes to being green in business.”Beech Properties received the award for its portfolio of energy efficient rental properties near Manchester’s universities.
Business Desk 22nd June 2011 more >>
Mansell is launching a new division which will design, fund, build and install solar photovoltaic panels to existing homes throughout the country. Mansell Renewables will be officially launched at the Chartered Institute of Housing conference this week.
Builder & Engineer 22nd June 2011 more >>
Hampshire County Council is to consider installing Solar Photovoltaic panels on its buildings; taking advantage of Government cash incentives and reducing energy costs and carbon emissions. The Cabinet is being asked to agree plans to invite tenders for a project that could see panels that generate electricity from sunlight installed on up to 31,000sqm of the County Council’s roof space (non-school buildings). This is the equivalent to four UK Premiership football pitches.
Hantsweb 22nd June 2011 more >>
Bishop’s Heat Pump
Bishop’s Palace in Somerset is embracing renewable energy by harnessing the power of its own moat to help lower its energy bills. The palace, which has been the home of the Bishops of Bath and Wells for 800 years, has had a heat pump installed by Ecovision which sources energy for the newly constructed visitor’s centre.
Connecting Industry 22nd June 2011 more >>
The Apollo Group has established a retrofit arm to help it target renewable energy as a major new source of revenue. The property services and construction firm established Apollo Ecofit after taking advice on possible new markets last year. The firm has previously been heavily focused on housing refurbishment, particularly Decent Homes work. Apollo Ecofit will initially focus on solar thermal and photovoltaic financing, design and installation.
H&V News 22nd June 2011 more >>
Langcliffe Hall estate, has created the 40kW micro-scale hydro scheme which will generate energy to power the equivalent of a dozen homes. The project cost about £150,000 to install, a third of which was funded by a grant from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust with the remainder paid for by the owners.
Yorkshire Evening Post 22nd June 2011 more >>
WADEBRIDGE Renewable Energy Network (WREN) needs public votes to help it win £100,000 to fund a community project for the town. The group, which is currently facilitating hundreds of solar panels onto Wadebridge roofs, would invest the money in a community solar allotment scheme.
Cornish Guardian 22nd June 2011 more >>
West Country Solar
Four Westcountry communities are named in the top ten UK “solar-powered towns and cities”, according to a study based on installations by energy company HomeSun.
Western Morning News 22nd June 2011 more >>
A BUSINESS has applied for planning permission to erect a massive array of solar power cells on the roof of its Crediton premises. Bakers Peck & Strong wants to put 228 cells on the roof of its building in Marsh Lane, Lords Meadow Industrial Estate. The company, which makes cakes and flapjacks, has submitted drawings to Mid Devon District Council for consideration.
Mid-Devon Gazette 22nd June 2011 more >>
Low Carbon Construction
On Wednesday 21 June, Minister for Construction Mark Prisk will launch the Government’s response to the Innovation and Growth Team report on Low Carbon Construction. Mark Prisk will outline how Government and the construction industry will work together to decarbonise the built environment by 2050. The Government is determined to continue to build on the success of the IGT in focusing business thinking on developing ideas for removing barriers to a fit for purpose low carbon construction industry. This will be an essential part in helping Britain to be powered by cleaner energy, and for homes and businesses to be more energy efficient.
BIS 21st June 2011 more >>
Solar industry campaigners have their last chance to save much-needed subsidies today as MPs meet to decide if the Government’s controversial cuts warrant a debate in the House of Commons.The Merits Committee, chaired by Lord Goodlad, is to consider a letter co-signed by some 58 organisations and businesses – including the Solar Trade Association, the Co-operative, and the Town and Country Planning Association – calling for a rethink of Government plans to slash the “feed-in tariff” (FiT) scheme barely more than year after it was introduced. The committee could trigger a parliamentary debate and vote on the Government’s proposals to cut the subsidy rates available to solar power projects of more than 50 kilowatts (kW). Much of debate centres on the comparative cost of solar power. A report from the Climate Change Committee last month backed new nuclear as the cheapest option for the green power Britain needs to hit its carbon-reduction targets. But the solar industry disputes the point, claiming that solar costs should be compared with retail prices, because of the scale of the technology. A report from Ernst & Young yesterday suggests that solar will compete with retail grid prices as soon as mid-2012, if current subsidy levels are maintained, rather than the mid-2016 “parity” point with wholesale costs.
Independent 21st June 2011 more >>
Mini-turbines fail to impress
THE money Exeter City Council spent on installing wind turbines at its city centre base is unlikely ever to be recouped in energy savings. The authority invested £5,000 putting three wind turbines on the roof of the Civic Centre in 2007.
Exeter Express & Echo 21st June 2011 more >>
AN ENERGY company which aims to help thousands of customers reduce their fuel bills has been launched in Yorkshire. Ethos Corporate Finance has secured multi-million pound funding to back the launch of Solar Capital, which is based in Doncaster. The company has been founded to benefit from the Government’s new Feed-in Tariffs (FITs), which are designed to encourage investment in green technologies.
Yorkshire Post 21st June 2011 more >>
Solar costs falling
Prices of solar panels are falling so fast that by 2013 they will be half of what they cost in 2009, according to a report from Ernst & Young that argues solar electricity could play “an important role” in meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets. The average one-off installation cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels has already dropped from more than $2 (£1.23) per unit of generating capacity in 2009 to about $1.50 in 2011. Based on broker reports and industry analysis, the report forecasts that those rates of decline will continue, with prices falling close to the $1 mark in 2013. At present, solar PV is economically viable in the UK for homeowners, businesses and investors only because of government subsidies given out via feed-in tariffs (Fits). But the new analysis suggests that falling PV panel prices and rising fossil fuel prices could together make large-scale solar installations cost-competitive without government support within a decade – sooner than is usually assumed.
Guardian 20th June 2011 more >>
Energy Efficiency News 21st June 2011 more >>
The crippling cuts to feed-in tariffs for large solar installations could have been avoided, according to a new report that argues that more modest cuts to incentives would have allowed larger projects to remain commercially viable while still ensuring that the scheme does not breach its assigned budget.
Business Green 20th June 2011 more >>
Dramatic cuts in government support for solar power installations were not needed and could undermine the UK’s commitment to renewable energy in the eyes of investors. A new report by the Solar Trade Association and Ernst & Young claims a slight increase in the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) rate for installations larger than 50kW would bring about a return on investment sufficient to attract financial support. If projects were to receive a rate of 20p and 24p/kWh an internal rate of return of five percent would be achieved, BusinessGreen reported.
Low Carbon Economy 20th June 2011 more >>
FARMERS and landowners are disappointed that a government review of the subsidy system for alternative energy has confirmed a decision to cut back support for “sun farms” and keep the incentives for gas-making anaerobic digesters roughly as they are. The NFU said there could be a legal challenge.
Yorkshire Post 20th June 2011 more >>
The UK Solar PV Industry Outlook Report on 50kW to 5 MW market, launched today by independent consultants Ernst & Young, reveals that non-domestic solar could thrive in the UK without subsidy from 2017 and that solar power is providing the opportunity for new non-traditional players to enter the UK energy market, increasing competition with the utilities. The Ernst & Young report says that non-domestic solar could manage on 2 ROCs between 2013-2014 if also supported by net metering. With FIT subsidies for solar over 50kW set to be slashed on 1st August, the industry has only 2 ROCs of support which is not commercially viable, leaving much of the industry facing collapse.
Future Energies 20th June 2011 more >>
Small-scale domestic installations will be the unexpected beneficiaries of the government’s long-awaited review of Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs) for renewable energy and the electrotechnical industry is set to benefit, according to SummitSkills. While most in the renewable and environmental industries are disappointed, the sector skills council for the building services engineering (BSE) sector has welcomed the announcement by DECC confirming that funds will be diverted away from field-sized solar power plants.
Heating & Plumbing Monthly 20th June 2011 more >>
A government minister has pledged to take up a campaign being led by one of the UK’s fastest growing renewable energy companies. Greg Barker, the minister of state for energy and climate change, has vowed to discuss the growing chaos surrounding the installation of solar panels with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Heating & Plumbing Monthly 20th June 2011 more >>
It was with some astonishment that I read in the Evening News that there are plans to erect a wind turbine at Seafield. Since there isn’t even enough wind at Seafield to blow away the “Seafield stench” from the sewage treatment works, what on earth makes someone think this solitary turbine will produce a significant amount of energy? It will be nothing more than an eyesore. Wind turbines in an urban environment simply don’t work.
Edinburgh Evening News 20th June 2011 more >>
Climate Challenge Fund
The Scottish Greens today welcomed the results of an independent review of the Climate Challenge Fund, which stated that “evidence from the CCF suggests that community-based approaches are particularly well-placed to deliver pro- environmental behaviour change”. The Fund was a Scottish Green Party proposal to Scottish Ministers agreed as part of the negotiations around the 2008-2009 Scottish Budget, and more than £37m has been awarded already to 261 communities across Scotland.
Scottish Green Party 20th June 2011 more >>
Solar Bird Watching Centre
The headquarters of Scotland’s birdwatchers near Aberlady is set to produce its own electricity using solar power. Twenty-nine photovoltaic panels have been installed in the roof of Waterston House home to the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club. They could generate up to 5,800 kWh of electricity per year. The club estimates that it will use most of that electricity and what it doesn’t consume will be exported to the grid.
East Lothian News 19th June 2011 more >>
Solar Social Housing
A scheme designed to make houses more affordable for people in Cheadle Hulme is also using the sun’s energy to reduce the costs of running the homes. Equity Housing Group, in partnership with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), recently completed the building of six homes in Vernon Road. The homes have solar panels installed on the roofs which are designed to heat the water in the properties.
Homes & Communities Agency 17th June 2011 more >>
Energy Efficiency – US-style
Since 2004, 26 states have put long-term energy efficiency resource standards (EERS) into place. Like renewable energy standards, these programs set long-term targets for demand reductions that power providers must meet – usually by helping end-use customers save energy. A new report out from the American Council on Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE) looks at 19 of those programs that have been in place for over two years. And guess what? Thus far, the programs are working.
Climate Progress 16th June 2011 more >>