week ending 2 September 2011
West Lothian College
Oatridge College in West Lothian is to slash its energy demands from the National Grid by 60 per cent and prevent 20 tonnes of carbon from being pumped into the atmosphere every year by commissioning one of Scotland’s largest solar power projects. The land-based college has installed 204 photovoltaic panels worth £140,000 on the roof of its main teaching block to generate 50kW of electricity and a smaller array of solar thermal panels on four residential blocks to provide hot water for students. Oatridge received support from the Energy Savings Trust to help cover the £60,000 cost of the solar thermal element. The college will save thousands of pounds a year on electricity and will also receive renewable energy grants.
Horticulture Week 2nd Sept 2011 more >>
Businesses and organisations seeking to give a green makeover to London’s public sector buildings, such as hospitals, fire and police stations, are being urged to apply for a loans of up to £10m. The loans will come from a package of new funds worth £100m set up by mayor Boris Johnson.
Business Green 2nd Sept 2011 more >>
Britain’s solar sector is reeling from an overhaul of the Government incentives offered to those installing the technology, the head of the industry’s trade association warned yesterday. Howard Johns, the chairman of the Solar Trade Association, said forecasts that last month’s revamp of the feed-in tariff rules would damage the sector and Britain’s efforts to generate more energy from renewables were already proving correct. The revamp, introduced at the start of August, saw the Government reduce what is paid to those who generate more power than they need from solar installations. In most cases, the tariffs on offer to installations feeding such energy back into the national power grid are now much lower. While the cuts did not affect the smallest solar installations with domestic homes that have fitted the technology still benefiting fro m higher rates these projects provide far less energy than panels on large commercial premises. However, Mr Johns warned that in many cases, these bigger projects, which could have substantially increased the amount of energy generated by solar power, were not economically viable under the new feed-in tariffs. “We cannot understand why, at such a critical point, the UK is turning its back on a major opportunity to strengthen its position in what will be the biggest and cheapest energy generation technology,” Mr Johns said.
Independent 2nd Sept 2011 more >>
China is emerging as the dominant force in the manufacture of solar panels in a world desperate for renewable sources of energy, as collapsing prices and disillusion over government subsidies has hobbled US efforts to take a lead in the development of the new industry. Prices of solar panels have fallen by more than 40 per cent in the past year, as a result of increased manufacturing capacity and disappointing demand, and the US was reeling yesterday from news that taxpayers may have lost more than half-a-billion dollars on one solar energy firm that shut its doors this week.
Independent 2nd Sept 2011 more >>
After the failure of Solyndra, a much-hyped Californian solar power company heavily backed by the US government, there has been a renewed spate of speculation that the American solar industry is in terminal decline. Reports of its death have been exaggerated. However, the market segments and technologies where money can be made are changing. Companies that are badly positioned, particularly high-cost manufacturers, are likely to see further closures, bankruptcies and rationalisation. As Jeremy Leggett, chairman of Solarcentury, a British solar equipment company, says: Its the inevitable shake-out of an industry that is coming of age. On Wednesday Solyndra sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, making it the third US solar company to collapse last month, following Evergreen Solar of Massachusetts and SpectraWatt, a spin-off from Intel. Yet while these failures hav e cast a pall over the industry, the worst of the gloom is concentrated in one area: the manufacture of solar modules. This relatively labour-intensive business has become dominated by Chinese production, from companies including Suntech Power, Trina Solar and Yingli Green Energy, backed by loans from the state-controlled China Development Bank. Aggressive expansion by Chinese and other companies worldwide has created huge oversupply of modules: there is enough capacity to supply the expected global market this year twice over. As a result, prices of modules have plummeted, from $3.50 per watt of generation in 2008, to $1.43 today, according to GTM Research. The Chinese companies have suffered a margin squeeze and higher-cost manufacturers are being forced to adapt or die.
FT 2nd Sept 2011 more >>
Ground Source Heat Pumps
GROUND SOURCE heat pump systems are being installed in a wide variety of applications, from individual homes to district energy systems. Renewable energy technologies are typically more costly to install than conventional ones, though scaling up of technologies has resulted in a significant drop in costs across most areas of renewables. Return on investment is a major concern for most clients though – more so with commercial developers than institutional clients. Much of the work done in the geothermal heat pump industry is to find methods and techniques that either reduce construction cost or improve efficiency, or both.
Renewable Energy Focus 2nd Sept 2011 more >>
Good Energy going solar
Renewable electricity supplier Good Energy has stepped up its commitment to solar energy, aiming to source one third of its electricity from solar power. Solar previously represented less than 1% of the company’s output. The utility has signed power purchase agreements with 3,000 independent solar generators, as well as 30 larger-scale solar PV projects across the UK. Unlike the ‘Big Six’ UK electricity suppliers, Good Energy pledged earlier this year to hold prices until 2012. An increased reliance on solar power is expected to help stabilise the company’s future energy prices.
Energy Efficiency News 1st Sept 2011 more >>
Edie 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Business Green 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Insulation – can’t be bothered?”
Ten per cent of UK homeowners simply “can’t be bothered” to insulate their cavity walls and lofts, missing out on savings of around £390 a year, according to a new study from Eon. Research carried out last month by OnePoll of 2,000 people revealed a myriad of reasons homeowners give for failing to insulate their homes. Fifteen per cent did not know how to go about insulating their homes, while nine per cent had too much clutter in the loft to install lagging. Three per cent cited the lack of a ladder as a major hurdle.
Guardian 1st Sept 2011 more >>
Low Caron Training Centre
Low carbon technologies used for training installers on accredited and certified courses at Acorn House, Warwick, are also used to provide heating, hot water and electricity for the building. For example, solar thermal panels on the roof and a biomass boiler provide hot water to the washrooms and kitchen area and a Baxi Ecogen dual energy system (micro-CHP) supplies electricity, as will solar PV due to be installed later this year.
Builders Merchant News 1st Sept 2011 more >>
Electricity Home Rule
Currently, residents and businesses in Washington spend over $1.5 billion dollars a year on electricity. According to a study of DC’s energy dollars by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 90% of that amount (largely unchanged since the 1979 study) - $1.4 billion - leaves the city. With rooftop solar power, DC residents could keep more of those electricity dollars at home. In its recently published atlas of state renewable energy potential, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) found that the District of Columbia could generate 19% of its electricity from rooftop solar PV systems. That’s $267 million spent on electricity bills that could be kept locally. But maximizing local electricity generation with rooftop solar has enormous additional economic benefits. To fill District roofs with solar panels, residents would need to install just over 1,800 megawatts (MW) of rooftop solar. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that every megawatt of solar generates $240,000 in additional economic activity, making the economic value of maximizing solar energy self-reliance close to $432 million.
IB Times 1st Sept 2011 more >>
Farmers turn to renewable
FARMERS in East Yorkshire are investing heavily in renewable energy, with 50 turbines already built and 20 more in the pipeline. Generating electricity and being able to sell the surplus back onto the National Grid is proving increasingly popular as fuel prices continue to rise. At next week’s eastern area planning committee, four farmers are applying for turbines.
Yorkshire Post 1st Sept 2011 more >>
Renewable energy expertise in the south is in the spotlight with the official opening of one of the largest solar power stations in the country. Slepe Farm, near Poole, is the largest of its kind in Dorset and unlike similar projects, which have been managed by teams from outside the UK, Slepe Farm has been masterminded entirely by specialist local firms.
Anesco 31st Aug 2011 more >>
The government has rejected claims that its planned increase in biomass and biofuel use to meet clean energy targets will result in the displacement of people or competition with food crops in developing countries.
Business Green 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Solarcentury has this year donated £130,000 worth of solar panels and cash to SolarAid, the charity founded by the company to tackle poverty and climate change with solar power. Solarcentury, founded in 1999 to address the threat of climate change, established SolarAid in 2006 to bring this mission to the developing world. Since then, the charity has raised over £10m for its work in Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi. The £95,000 worth of solar panels donated by the company will bring electricity to 50 schools in Zambia as part of the charity’s schools programme. SolarAid has equipped 178 schools across East Africa with solar, seeing marked improvements in exam performance and the reduction of fuel bills in those schools with the technology.
Roofing Cladding Insulation 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Almost £100,000 is to be made available to encourage more community groups and families around Norwich to go green and find ways to use renewable energy. The money will be offered for projects in Broadland w hich aim to use technology such as solar panels and air source heat pumps to cut carbon emmissions and improve energy efficiency. Broadland District Council was allocated just under £290,000 by the government in 2008 to provide grants to environmentally friendly schemes. The Broadland Community Renewables scheme had what officers called a “tenatative” start, but turned out to be very popular, with seven community groups awarded funding to go green.
Norwich Evening News 31st Aug 2011 more >>
HOW to earn money through renewable energy will be the subject of the next event staged by the Exeter Sustainable Business Network (ESBN). The workshop takes place on Friday, September 23, from 11.30am to 2pm at Darts Farm, near Topsham. Tom Kennard, of Zero2050, will provide independent information regarding renewable technology installations.
Exeter Express and Echo 31st Aug 2011 more >>
A DOG care charity jumped at the chance to work with a sustainable heating company to provide renewable energy at its £5 million headquarters. A wood pellet boiler has been installed at the Dogs Trust’s site in Shropshire by Organic Energy, based in Welshpool, to provide the canine eco-home with its heating and hot water.
Daily Post 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Heat Pump Visit
Graeme Morrice the Member of Parliament for Livingston, has paid a visit to Mitsubishi Electric’s Scottish factory to see the renewable energy products being produced. The plant manufactures Ecodan air source heat pump systems for the residential heating market and has just started producing a dedicated cylinder so that Mitsubishi Electric is able to offer a complete packaged home heating solution.
Building Talk 31st Aug 2011 more >>
Sunshine may have been in short supply at the opening ceremony but one of the largest solar power stations in the country has been officially opened in the Dorset countryside. Green power can be controversial - wind turbines are unpopular because they’re visible for miles - but the new solar panels on land can’t be seen from surrounding homes or roads.
Merdian Tonight 30th Aug 2011 more >>
BBC 30th Aug 2011 more >>
A green electricity initiative that promised big returns for energy producers has led to hundreds of acres of countryside disappearing beneath solar panels in the past few months. Developers have been busy installing the panels on dozens of greenfield sites across the south of England in a rush to meet a government deadline and reap the rewards of vastly inflated prices for the electricity they produce. The Feed-In Tariff scheme, launched in April last year, promised to pay four times the going rate for electricity generated by solar power for 25 years.
The Times 30th Aug 2011 more >>
The nimbys are mutating. Until recently the main opposition to renewable energy in the UK was directed against onshore wind turbines, along with some strong pylon-hating. But today’s Times reveals the existence of solar farm nimbys too. You may not be able to read that story, it’s behind a paywall, but luckily it’s a pretty shameless replica of a story from the Daily Mail on Friday. It even has the same nimby, Robin Smith, who says his view of Somerset Levels has been spoiled, using exactly the same words: “It is blanket desecration of the countryside. I feel very sad that it is just for people lining their coffers.”
Guardian 30th Aug 2011 more >>
More than one third of farmers want to install renewable energy projects on their farmland, most of them within the next year, and hope to generate average returns of 25,000 pounds per year, UK bank Barclays said.
Reuters 30th Aug 2011 more >>
Guardian 30th Aug 2011 more >>
Farming UK 30th Aug 2011 more >>
Farmers Weekly 30th Aug 2011 more >>
Business Green 30th Aug 2011 more >>
Telegraph 29th Aug 2011 more >>
The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has launched a campaign urging the Government to back its proposals on the incentives regime for renewable energy.
Heating & Ventilating.net 30th Aug 2011 more >>
Renewable Energy Focus 30th Aug 2011 more >>
Solar on Hold
PLANS for a large-scale multi-million pound solar power station in Broadclyst have been put on hold after a number of objections. Solar power company Low Carbon Solar selected a 30-acre site in the village for a solar energy farm.
Mid Devon Gazette 30th Aug 2011 more >>
Renewable energy companies have either scrapped, postponed or scaled down plans for huge solar farms in the Leicestershire countryside. It follows a reduction in subsidies from the government for large-scale solar panel projects, which came into force this month. Companies behind 30-acre schemes at Kirby Bellars and Asfordby, near Melton, have withdrawn plans for development. A third company planning a solar farm at a quarry near Lutterworth with 23,000 electricity-generating panels is now considering a scheme with 250. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has slashed the rate it pays companies from around 30p per kilowatt hour to 8.5p under its Feed in Tariff (FIT).
Leicester Mercury 29th Aug 2011 more >>
Solar generators may produce the majority of the world’s power within 50 years, slashing the emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment, according to a projection by the International Energy Agency.
Bloomberg 29th Aug 2011 more >>
IB Times 30th Aug 2011 more >>
A double whammy of low-price wind turbine and solar panel installations and an increase in energy costs this coming winter means there has never been a better time to invest in renewable energy, an industry expert believes.
Click Green 26th Aug 2011 more >>
North Tyneside Solar
North Tyneside council and energy provider E.on have announced a joint project to fit solar panels to council house roofs and public buildings. This should lead to savings for the tenants as well as reducing the borough’s carbon footprint.
Public Sector Executive 26th Aug 2011 more >>
MARKET Deeping-based renewable energy products distributor Eco Building Products has launched a new website - www.solarpoweredsavings.co.uk - to help consumers reap the rewards of installing solar panels in their homes.
Peterborough Evening Telegraph 26th Aug 2011 more >>