week ending 30 September 2011
The government is launching a committee to ensure eco-homes are up to standard. Here Gavriel Hollander investigates what the group’s focus should be. ‘We have to make a really determined push to make sure the standards that we say we build to are actually the standards we build to’, stated Andrew Stunell at the Liberal Democrat conference last week. The communities minister was referring to schemes that are developed to reach a certain level of sustainability, but fail to perform to that standard once in use. The solution, the minister announced, is a compliance committee that is being set up by the Communities and Local Government department to ensure sustainability standards are being met.
Inside Housing 30th Sept 2011 more >>
Viridor, the UK-based recycling, renewable energy and waste management company, has received approval from the Somerset Waste Partnership for the construction of anaerobic digestion facility in Bridgwater, Somerset, England. The new plant will create green energy by using oxygen and natural bacteria to break down food waste. Methane gas is then collected and can be burned to produce electricity. The proposed £10m anaerobic digestion plant will initially be configured to produce one megawatt of electricity for export to the National Grid in addition to the power needed to operate the facility.
Food Business Review 30th Sept 2011 more >>
As you will be aware, DECC was planning to launch the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) for non-domestic generators on 30 September 2011. State Aid approval is a necessary condition for the scheme to go ahead. As part of that process, the European Commission has expressed concerns that the large biomass tariff is set too high. We understand that the Commission has given state aid approval for the RHI, subject to a reduction in the large biomass tariff and we expect to receive written confirmation of this very soon. Changing the large biomass tariff will require the RHI regulations to be amended and submitted to Parliament for approval. We are unable to launch the scheme as a whole until this process has been completed. Therefore, unfortunately, we will not be able to open the scheme for applications on 30 September 2011 as we had originally planned.
Solartwin 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Reuters 30th Sept 2011 more >>
Business Green 30th Sept 2011 more >>
Wrexham County Borough Council has announced a new domestic solar power initiative that is likely to create new engineering jobs in the district. The council’s £60 million scheme will see 3,000 of its social houses retrofitted with photovoltaic (PV) panels by March 2012, in a move expected to reduce tenants’ energy bills and also cut carbon dioxide emissions by around 3,000 tonnes.
Career Structure 29th Sept 2011 more >>
News Wales 27th Sept 2011 more >>
An ambitious drive to make Bath the renewable energy capital of Britain will see solar panels on schools across the city and hydro-electricity generation on the River Avon. Environmental campaigners will next week step up their efforts to bring in £5 million over the next four years to invest in green energy projects around the Bath area. The new company Bath and West Community Energy will start with the installation of solar panels on the roofs of schools, but its founders are also keen to exploit the potential of the river thundering through the city, and put up a handful of wind turbines. They initially want to develop and finance 1.5 megawatts of projects – enough electricity to power 1,000 houses, and will launch a £400,000 share offer next Wednesday.
Bath Chronicle 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Council Spoke 30th Sept 2011 more >>
Somerset Solar School
A PRIMARY school is planning to install solar panels in a bid to reduce the building’s running costs and to improve ecology education. High Ham Primary School, near Langport, has submitted plans to South Somerset District Council for 28 solar panels to be mounted on the school’s roof.
Western Gazette 29th Sept 2011 more >>
YORK renewable energy company Solarwall has extended its eight year partnership with East Riding of Yorkshire Council and energy company nPower to offer homeowners and landlords discounts on professionally installed cavity wall and loft insulation.
York Press 29th Sept 2011 more >>
Figures from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) suggest that larger solar PV installations such as those on businesses will reach grid parity in terms of cost effectiveness as soon as 2013 in Italy and Spain – with the UK following suit in 2017 rest of Europe catching up by 2020. This is good news – and it’s not pie-in-sky thinking either. The figures factor in gradual reduction in government incentives like Feed-in Tariffs while taking account of projected rises in electricity cost and falling cost of solar equipment.
EST 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Solar in a Box
Installation costs have been falling along with solar module costs, as we’ve reported, but Westinghouse believes there’s still plenty of room for a quick, easy and cheap-to-set-up home solar-power system in the market. That’s the business proposition with the company’s just-released Solar Power System, which the company describes as an “all-in-one rooftop solar kit” that contractors – or even DIYers – can have up and running in no time.
IB Times 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Eaton’s Electrical Sector has designed, manufactured and supplied turnkey BoS (Balance of System) solutions for major solar energy parks at Howbery Park in Oxfordshire, Wheal Jane in Cornwall and at a farm site in Cambridgeshire - all before changes to the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) for solar PV installations over 50kW were implemented. These sites were developed by Lightsource Renewable Energy and funded by Octopus Investments and between them, these new solar parks have a total generating capacity of 7.2MWp.
Connecting Industry 28th Sept 2011 more >>
In Economics 101 we learnt that a decrease in price will lead to an increase in demand. You know that times are tough in the solar industry when the basic laws of economics are defied. This has been the case in the solar sector where average prices of solar modules have dropped steeply since the beginning of the year and yet demand has barely moved in the last few months. This has caused panel prices to drop further and with them the share prices of solar companies. This may be good for consumers but it’s tough for companies and investors.
Mindful Money 28th Sept 2011 more >>
A regulatory loophole allowing renewable energy developers to receive higher subsidy payments for capacity added to installations after feed-in tariff incentives were cut in August will be closed from next month. The loophole in the feed-in tariff legislation was exposed just days before the government cut the level of incentives available to large solar installations with over 50kW by up to 70 per cent.
Business Green 28th Sept 2011 more >>
An innovative new product from a Cambridge company is set to bring affordable solar power to people in developing countries. University of Cambridge spin-out Eight19, based at the Science Park, has launched IndiGo – a pay-as-you-go personal solar electricity system. It combines solar and mobile phone technology to offer solar power as a service – doing away with any high up-front costs which are beyond the reach of many potential users. The system allows users to light their homes and charge mobile phones, and pay by putting credit on the device using a scratchcard, which is validated via text message. Customer trials are now under way in Kenya and will be extended to Zambia, Malawi and the Indian subcontinent over the next three months. The commercial roll-out of IndiGo is due to start early next year. Steve Andrews, chief executive of Solar Aid – a charity that is supporting the Kenya trials – said: “Solar energy offers huge economic, health and social benefits to the world’s poorest people.
Cambridge First 28th Sept 2011 more >>
PV Tech 27th Sept 2011 more >>
Business Green 27th Sept 2011 more >>
Scouts renewable boost
A NORTH Yorkshire Scout group has called in a leading renewable energy company to help it transform its wooden hut. The Easingwold Outdoor Centre, which is owned by 1st Easingwold (Forest of Galtres) Scout Group, currently has no electricity and its only heat source is a wood-burning stove.
York Press 28th Sept 2011 more >>
Industrial Buildings in Hull
Plans have been submitted for a Hull factory complex to go green with solar power. The scheme at the former Remploy premises in Chamberlain Road involves the installation of 212 solar panels on the building’s roof. It’s the latest in a series of planning applications submitted to Hull City Council for solar panels on industrial buildings across the city.
Hull Daily Mail 28th Sept 2011 more >>
COUNCIL chiefs are to consider rolling out a major new scheme to install solar panels in council homes across Edinburgh. A new feasibility study will be carried out into fitting advanced solar photo voltaic panels on houses and flats, along with schools, offices and care homes. The proposed scheme is part of the UK Government’s Feed-In Tariffs project to make the average home more sustainable.
Edinburgh Evening News 27th Sept 2011 more >>
Edinburgh Greens 27th Sept 2011 more >>
The 17th session of the Conference of Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) is coming up; and, regardless of the session’s diplomatic outcome, the SunPower Foundation and Greenpeace Africa are taking advantage of this year’s sunny location to showcase the virtues of solar power. The SunPower Foundation has announced the donation of four SunPower solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to power two mobile solar demonstration units during the COP17 in Durban, South Africa from November 28 through December 9. The panels will be installed by 30 local youth during a two-week training course led by Greenpeace, in which students will learn about renewable energy technologies, social entrepreneurship and the contents of Greenpeace’s Energy (R)evolution report. Each solar-powered demonstration unit will power various multi-media technology devices, including televisions, laptops and sound systems.
IB Times 27th Sept 2011 more >>
Abel Homes is moving into renewable energy to help householders take advantage of the feed-in tariff.
Norfolk Local News 27th Sept 2011 more >>
Solar Cheshire School
Applethorn primary school installs solar panels.
This is Cheshire 27th Sept 2011 more >>
PV firm expands in Scotland
Britain’s biggest installer of solar power systems is on the recruitment trail as it expands its operations in Scotland. PV Solar UK which employs 150 people across the UK including 65 at its Cambuslang headquarters has taken on 12 graduates in the last six months and has plans to grow that number by employing a further ten. The company has recently invested over £75,000 in staff training, including a purpose built facility at Cambuslang. PV Solar UK director Doug Wilkie said the centre demonstrated its commitment to ensuring that its staff has all the training they need to give the best advice to consumers.
Business7 27th Sept 2011 more >>
Solarcentury has 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.
Roofing, Cladding & Insulation 27th Sept 2011 more >>
The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) has recently chaired a roundtable to help establish standards for the forthcoming Green Deal. Paul Reeve, head of environment at the ECA, who chaired the meeting, was joined by representatives from organisations including DECC, the Energy Saving Trust, the Association for the Conservation of Energy and the Renewable Energy Association, the British Property Federation and leading consumer body ‘Which?’. All parties backed calls to make domestic and commercial customers aware of standards they can expect from Green Deal installers and assessors.
Connecting Industry 27th Sept 2011 more >>
Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy, blogs for endsreport.com on the government’s Green Deal scheme. The government’s forthcoming Green Deal scheme is primarily designed to save energy used for heating and hot water. Households will borrow money to finance major energy saving improvements to their home, then pay the loan back gradually through a charge on their energy bills. Across Britain, most heating and hot water is provided by natural gas. So why, then, is the government insisting that all Green Deal charges must be placed only on the electricity bill? The same question occurred to Caroline Lucas MP, who on September 14 sought to amend the bill creating the Green Deal to allow householders the right to choose. Under her proposal, they could decide which of their fuel bills they wanted to use to pay back the money borrowed. If their home is off the gas mains, they would have no option but to follow the government’s preferred route – the electricity bill. But if, like four out of five households, their home is heated by gas, they would be advised to opt for that bill, which is most likely to be reduced after a Green Deal makeover. That would be the logical bill to carry the loan repayments in the vast majority of cases, rather than the one least likely to be affected by the energy saving investments which will be made under the deal.
Ends 26th Sept 2011 more >>
Don’t get burned by dodgy deals
People in Keynsham who want to make the most of the sun by installing solar panels on their homes and business premises are being warned by Bath & North East Somerset Council not to get burned by dodgy deals.
Keynsham People 27th Sept 2011 more >>
POWIS Castle is kick-starting an ambitious plan to develop the use of solar energy in and around National Trust properties. Solar energy panels have been installed onto the castle with hopes to provide power for the new ground source heat pump which will power both the plant nurseries and team room at the castle.
Daily Post 27th Sept 2011 more >>
Greece to sell sunshine
Greece is planning to make amends for its multibillion-euro bailouts by providing Germany with the one commodity it has to spare sunshine. On his visit to Berlin this week for talks on the crisis, the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will try to negotiate a huge solar power project to help to fill the energy gap that will be left by Angela Merkels decision to phase out nuclear production in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. The Greeks have endured taunts from German tabloids to sell off holiday islands such as Corfu to pay their debts. Project Helios could be the next best thing. Rather than more German towels on Ionian beaches, Teutonic solar panels will cover up to 20,000 hectares (more than 77 square miles) of depleted lignite mines near the northern Greek city of Kozani.
Times 26th Sept 2011 more >>
Scotland leads on small-scale renewable
The Scottish Council for Development has published a report which shows that Scotland is leading the UK into the future in small-scale renewable energy. In the last twelve months, its capacity to produce renewable energy has almost doubled. The AEA Scottish Microgeneration Index sets out the country?s progress made in each Local Authority area in the last year since the launch of the Feed-In Tariff (FIT).
IB Times 26th Sept 2011 more >>
Wagner Solar UK has received acknowledgement for its Solar Training School, picking up the Industry Development Category Award for the SOLAR Industry Awards 2011. The Award was presented in Hamburg to coincide with the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU-PVSEC).
Glass & Glazing Products 26th Sept 2011 more >>
Families in solar-powered Stoke-on-Trent homes have already saved an average of more than £1001 each on their energy bills since the start of a joint project between E.ON and Stoke-on-Trent City Council to develop renewable technology and promote energy efficiency across the city. The savings have been made by the 57 families taking part in a pilot project in Chell Heath to install solar panels on council house roofs.
Housing Excellence 26th Sept 2011 more >>
District Heating in Scotland
The Scottish Government have published its 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland. The Routemap specifies some ambitious targets, including aims for the equivalent of 100% of electricity demand to come from renewable technologies by 2020. The Routemap also acknowledges the importance of low carbon heat, with plans to increase this from 2.8% of heat demand to 11% by 2020. Increased implementation of low carbon district energy schemes is considered to be a vital part of any strategy to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable heat. The Scottish Government have clearly recognised the potential for development within this field having already set up a Scottish District Heating Loan Fund, run by the Energy Saving Trust.
The Energy Event 26th Sept 2011 more >>
A MERSEYSIDE company which installs fridges into vehicles and commercial units is launching a new business selling renewable energy equipment.CB Transport Refrgeration of Knowsley, which has a turnover of £2m, has launched CB Renewables selling ground and air source heat pumps, solar photovoltaic panels, underfloor heating and energy-saving building controls systems.
The Business Desk 26th Sept 2011 more >>
Third Industrial Revolution
The Third Industrial Revolution offers the hope that we can arrive at a sustainable post-carbon era by mid-century. We have the science, the technology, and the game plan to make it happen. Now it is a question of whether we will recognize the economic possibilities that lie ahead and muster the will to get there in time.
Huffington Post 25th September 2011 more >>
Micro CHP systems are designed to capture the energy that is naturally lost when electricity is produced and use it to heat the home. Also called “cogeneration” systems, micro CHP systems are an alternative home energy system that is quickly growing in popularity. One of the major advantages of micro CHP as a renewable home energy source is that they are very easy to install – micro chp systems do not require huge changes to your current heating or electrical systems. Micro CHP often comes with a long warranty which you will likely never need. This blog will cover a lot more about micro CHP as a green home energy source in the coming months, but in the meantime see our links for more information.
Green Home Energy Today 24th Sept 2011 more >>
Green Home Network
Green Homes Network gives you the unique opportunity to visit green homes in your area. Find out first hand how different renewables systems run in real homes; hear about actual costs and savings; and get tips and advice that could help you on your way,
EST 23rd Sept 2011 more >>