week ending 23 September 2011
Wrexham goes solar
A FLAGSHIP £60m green project powering 3,000 council houses with the sun is set to go ahead. Wrexham County Borough Council yesterday announced the multi-million pound scheme to fit homes with solar panels, slashing annual energy bills by up to £300.
Daily Post 23rd Sept 2011 more >>
Click Green 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
Ever since the Government announced the introduction of Feed-In Tariff (FiT) subsidies for renewable energy projects in 2010, the race was on to maximise the investment opportunity, particularly within solar energy installations. After all, the UK has been lagging the rest of the world for years when it comes to solar power, a well-established, clean and reliable form of renewable energy technology that also drastically reduces CO2 emissions.
Birmingham Post 23rd Sept 2011 more >>
This Year’s InstallerLive (NEC, Birmingham, 16-19 October) will be packed full of products, advice and training to gain hands on experience of the latest renewable technologies is a must for electrical contractors seeking to take advantage of the Green Deal and other Government initiatives.
Plumbing Park 23rd Sept 2011 more >>
Green energy specialist Stiebel Eltron has welcomed the launch of a new set of industry standards for renewable energy installers. The guidelines were launched by Energy Minister Chris Huhne at an event at Whitehall, which was attended by all the major players from the UK’s renewables industry. Mr Huhne said the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had worked closely with industry to develop the standards, which will raise the quality of installations and give consumers more protection.
Heating & Plumbing Monthly 23rd Sept 2011 more >>
The government announced last week that payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme will commence from August 1st with initial funding capable of supporting 25,000 households. Homeowners will be able to receive £1,250 towards a range of technologies, although many of the grants will only be available to those without mains heating.
IBM Times 23rd September 2011 more >>
Advancing solar technology is a trade-off between the efficiency of the cells themselves and the cost of producing and installing them. Quantum dot solar cells, which use nanoscale semiconductors to produce electricity, promise low-cost production and, because they can be sprayed or painted on, big benefits in terms of installation. In the efficiency stakes quantum cells don’t score as well as silicon-based or CIGS solar cells, but a new efficiency record for colloidal quantum dot solar cells represents a big step towards narrowing the gap.
Gizmag 23rd Sept 2011 more >>
National policies on waste, renewable energy and other issues relevant to the sector have generally been well-received in a report from an environmental think tank. Climate Check, produced by Green Alliance in conjunction with Christian Aid, Greenpeace, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the World Wildlife Fund, analyses progress on all of the Government’s 29 low carbon commitments. The report concludes that seven are making good progress, 13 are progressing moderately and six are failing. One of the seven to get a ‘green light’ rating is anaerobic digestion (AD) on which ministers pledged: “We will introduce measures to promote a huge increase in energy from waste through anaerobic digestion”.
MRW 23rd Sept 2011 more >>
Solar Funding Drought
The fledgling boom in solar power across the UK is in danger of being snuffed out, the renewable energy industry has warned, as ministers have determined to stick by spending plans that would severely limit future investment in the power source. Almost all of next year’s budget for feed-in tariffs – a subsidy paid to generators of solar power and other forms of small-scale renewable energy – is already “spoken for”, because it will have to be allocated to existing solar installations, according to Dave Sowden, chief of the Micropower Council, the trade body for the sector. Once the renewable energy equipment has been installed, the owner is entitled to feed-in tariffs for as long as it generates electricity, unless the government changes the rules in future. As most of the allocated budget, running to £161m next year, will go to owners who installed equipment this year, that will mean much less money available for new small-scale renewable electricity installations next year and in subsequent years up to 2015, when the current government spending period is due to end. The prospective funding drought has become a serious worry for renewable energy companies, Sowden said.
Guardian 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
A SCHOOL will use solar panels to boost its funds and teach pupils about renewable energy. Plans to place 42 solar panels on the roof of Stamford Queen Eleanor School were approved by South Kesteven District Council on Friday last week.
Rutland & Stamford Mercury 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
A RENEWABLE solar energy project, saving money and lowering the carbon footprint, is to be taken up by Bromsgrove District Council. Solar panels are to be added to the roof of the district council’s depot in Aston Road, Aston Fields, which houses waste and recycling operations for the Bromsgrove district. The scheme was approved by the authority’s planning committee at its latest meeting, held on September 12
Bromsgrove Advertiser 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
Solar Housing Assoc
A £1.6 million scheme to create homes of the future is helping housing association tenants save hundreds of pounds a year by harnessing solar power. The 30 Cartrefi Conwy properties in Maes y Dre, Abergele, are now teeming with technology. As a result, tenants can hook up to the internet, DAB radio and satellite television, in all the main rooms, including the bedrooms. Meanwhile, solar panels on the roof ensure that approximately 70 per cent of their hot water is free.
Welsh Country 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
Scottish farmers are calling on the country’s government to break down the barriers preventing the deployment of renewable energy on farms. The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Scotland has called upon John Swinney, cabinet secretary for finance, employment and sustainable growth, to get the government to tackle the challenges faced in generating green energy.
IB Times 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
A CHURCH is aiming high to reap the benefits of power from above. Engineers have been working to install solar panels at Newsome South Methodist Church this week. And members of the Berry Brow organisation hope that harnessing sunlight will add to their impressive tally of energy-saving ideas.
Huddersfield Examiner 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
Historic Building Heating Scheme
A £2m renewable energy heating system is to be installed in an historic Greater Manchester mill. New Charter Housing Trust, which owns Cavendish Mill, in Ashton under Lyne, will introduce the technology at the Grade II listed property. Developed by Warrington-based Belfry Group, the EcoPod system features a biomass boiler, 40 solar thermal panels and eight gas boilers. It will provide heating and hot water for 160 flats at the former cotton mill. The installation is one of the first of its kind in the UK and will reduce the building’s carbon footprint by more than 40 per cent.
H&V News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
A POPULAR golf course could become Bolton’s first to be powered by wind.
Bolton News 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
OCCOMBE Farm in Paignton has become the largest solar power station in South Devon with the installation of 500 heat-harnessing panels. The array of 100W photovoltaic panels at the conservation charity will generate 76,000 kilowatt hours per year.
Herald Express 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
A POOLE company has been named the top renewable energy installer in the south and south west at a national awards ceremony
Business Dorset 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
Solar Job Cuts?
Over 10,000 jobs will have been created by April 2012 as a direct result of the government’s feed-in tariff support scheme for renewable energy generators, research published later today will say. Another 50,000 will be generated by 2015 if the government sticks to the current feed-in tariff rates following its forthcoming review of incentives, according to the new research from solar company Engensa.
Business Green 22nd Sept 2011 more >>
Solar Century Growth
Revenue of more than £50m this year has kept Solarcentury’s place at the top of a renewable business league. The London-based firm said today (September 21) it been listed as the fastest growing private renewable energy company in the UK, for the second consecutive year, by the Sunday Times Tech Track 100.
Edie 21st Sept 2011 more >>
Solar to save Greece
Once an empire, Greece is now confronted with maybe the country’s most harsh economic crisis since its birth in ancient times. However, solar power seems to represent part of Greece’s salvation, just like Archimedes’ solar rays once saved them from the enemy.
IB Times 21st Sept 2011 more >>
Proven looking for buyer
Following the identification of a defect in its flagship P35-2 small wind turbine and the inability to obtain necessary additional funding, Proven Energy has been forced to cease trading. Although the design flaw is believed to be minor and repairable, Proven Energy has had to advise customers to temporarily cease using the product, and the company is now looking for potential buyers of the business.
Renewable Energy Focus 21st Sept 2011 more >>
Reading Solar Schools Plan
Today the Reading Post gives its backing to a major energy-saving campaign to raise cash to install solar panels on the roofs of Reading schools. Solar Schools, run by eco-organisation 10:10, is the first of its kind in the country and being piloted in the town with four schools already on board and three more expected to confirm in the next few weeks
Reading Post 21st Sept 2011 more >>
Trading standards officials have warned people in Bath to tread carefully when looking at whether to have solar panels fitted to their homes. Utility bill increases and Government-backed incentives which suggest money can be made from solar panel installation are encouraging more people to consider the option. But Bath and North East Somerset Council says they need to be wary of unscrupulous traders and do their research to nail exactly what they are signing up for.
Bath Chronicle 21st Sept 2011 more >>
A trial of the Coalition’s £3bn “green deal”, under which householders can take out government-backed loans of up to £10,000 to improve energy efficiency, showed that in some cases bills rose despite the measures. The scheme is being championed by David Cameron and will be available to up to 14m homes from next year. But a trial of 311 households, conducted by companies including B&Q and British Gas, found that 26 per cent of those who measured their energy usage experienced no reduction in bills. A report for the Energy Saving Trust and the Department of Energy and Climate Change singles out poorly performing solar panels as a particular cause for concern.
Telegraph 20th Sept 2011 more >>
Swindon Solar Farm
Birmingham electrical services contractor JT Hawkes has brought renewable energy to 1,500 homes in Oxfordshire by fitting out Britain’s largest solar power plant. The environmental specialist worked against the clock to design, install and commission the electricity plant for Westmill Solar Farm at Swindon in just six weeks.
Wiltshire Business 20th Sept 2011 more >>
Stow College is to launch a new course on renewable energy in October. The Professional Development Award in Renewable Energy Systems will cover the engineering and technologies relevant to energy production. Solar power, biomass, wave and tidal energy will be taught under the scope of a “green energy revolution” as part of the Scottish Government’s aim to generate 100% of the country’s electricity through renewable sources.
Glasgow Evening Times 20th Sept 2011 more >>
Proven Rescue Deal
A consortium of investors is in discussions to protect the UK renewable energy industry after wind turbine manufacturer Proven Energy ceased trading and went into receivership. The news of a possible rescue deal came after KPMG were appointed joint receivers of the stricken firm at the request of the company’s directors. With its manufacturing facility in Stewarton, Ayrshire and administration and design office in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, Proven is a leading and well-established manufacturer of small wind turbines and employs 75 staff across both sites.
Click Green 19th Sept 2011 more >>
Octopus Investments has reaffirmed its commitment to the UK solar industry by launching two new solar-focused venture capital trusts (VCT), reports Solar Power Portal. Unlike Octopus’s previous investments, the new funds are being aimed at companies developing medium-sized (<50kW) installations, which are eligible for the government’s higher feet-in tariff (FiT) rates.
PV Tech 19th Sept 2011 more >>
A recent application to Coventry City Council for planning permission has been made which if approved, will mean that Coventry Cathedral may become the first in the world to have solar panels installed on its roof. The application details that installation of 178 solar panels to cover 200 sq/m and would create in the region of 50kW of power.
IB Times 19th Sept 2011 more >>
IPPR has urged the government to provide direct support for households to make their homes energy efficient rather than supporting businesses and local authorities for heat from renewable technologies including air and ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers over the next four years. IPPR argues this approach would not only reduce the energy costs for British families it would also reduction carbon emissions. The current focus of the incentive scheme is directed towards larger projects and therefore, there is little or no incentive for the households and small community projects. Households have least to gain out the current plan as most people would not have the financial means to deploy the renewable heat technology in the first place.
eGov Monitor 19th Sept 2011 more >>
A programme to generate renewable energy is set to see 165 Birmingham schools fitted with solar panels through £23.6million self-financing package. The Birmingham Energy Savers (BES) scheme already is on course to deliver photovoltaic “solar” panels for more than 1,200 council-owned homes by March 2012 and the proposals for a new phase involving schools are due to be considered at a next City Council Cabinet meeting on September 26.
Birmingham City Council 19th Sept 2011 more >>
Zero Carbon Homes
In a corner of a Surrey field, five unusual houses are rising from the ground. Finished, they will look like any of the other 345 properties at Noble Park, a residential development near Epsom, but inside there will be big differences. Crest Nicholson, the developer, hopes they will be the most environmentally friendly homes in Britain. This is not, it claims, about festooning homes with “eco bling”. There will be no solar panels on the roofs or wind turbines in the gardens. It wants to concentrate on getting energy savings by working on the properties’ structure. The firm has joined forces with rival housebuilders Barratt and Stewart Milne to explore cutting-edge ways to create greener houses. Crest Nicholson’s five test units will be ready for families to move in by the end of the year. They will be complemented by four Barratt properties in Northamptonshire and eight Stewart Milne homes in Lancashire and Scotland. The three companies will then compare how their designs perform and work out how the best ones can be constructed cheaply.
Sunday Times 18th Sept 2011 more >>
Wind turbines and solar panels are fast becoming familiar sights at car assembly plants as automakers slash carbon emissions not only of the models they produce, but along the whole production chain.
Independent 18th Sept 2011 more >>
A WIND turbine manufacturer has gone into receivership following reports of a fault in one of its machines which could result in blades flying off. Scottish firm Proven Energy is being wound up after sales of its flagship P35-2 turbine were halted amid serious safety concerns. The company has been forced to cease trading and make 55 members of staff redundant with immediate effect.
Herald 17th Sept 2011 more >>
One of Scotland’s most dynamic wind energy companies went into administration last night with the loss of 55 jobs after the catastrophic failure of one of its top-selling turbines. Proven Energy, of East Kilbride, revealed earlier this week that an “acute” and dangerous defect made its P35-2 turbine unsafe. A faulty braking mechanism could cause its blade to fly off. The turbine, which costs up to £70,000, had been installed at hundreds of locations around Scotland, and across a network of 60 countries. Last night, the receivers, KPMG, said that the 30-year-old company had been left fatally exposed by the faulty product design.
Times 17th Sept 2011 more >>
Scotsman 17th Sept 2011 more >>
The largest solar power installation on an educational building in Redcar and Cleveland has been installed at Eston City Learning Centre.
Middlesbrough Gazette 17th Sept 2011 more >>
Community Wind Hijacked
A community’s dreams of running its own windfarm to raise cash for the area have been blown away after Glasgow City Council “hijacked” the scheme. The Castlemilk and Carmunnock Community Windpark Trust hoped to generate some £8million in the coming years from a plan to build turbines on a piece of land owned by the council on Cathkin Braes. The trust says it was repeatedly promised it would be allowed to lease the land. But the council has now decided it would be better off running a windfarm on the site in partnership with Scottish and Southern Energy.
Evening Times 16th Sept 2011 more >>