week ending 21 October 2011
More than 200 solar panels could soon be adorning the roof of a service station in Exeter. Planning permission is being sought by Moto Services to put the panels on its building near Junction 30 of the M5. Exeter City Council is considering the proposals which have been submitted by Lancaster-based Myriad CEG/Segen on Moto’s behalf. Moto is the UK’s largest provider of motorway service areas and is looking to reduce its carbon footprint across its 45 sites. It is understood that Exeter will be among the first to undergo the transformation.
Western Morning News 21st Oct 2011 more >>
Dutch greenhouse design company, has developed a system to sustainably generate solar energy easily and cost-efficiently, while properly tuned to horticulture at the same time. The greenhouses – equipped with optimised greenhouse roof for generating solar energy – haven proved to be excellent carriers of solar panels time and again.
Build.co.uk 21st Oct 2011 more >>
The solar industry is braced for severe cuts to feed-in tariffs, which in turn threaten the industry just as it becomes efficient.
Guardian 20th Oct 2011 more >>
With wild claims that the feed-in tariff rates for microgeneration-level solar energy will be slashed to just 9p, today’s media has all but knocked the stuffing out of an already nervous UK solar industry. These reports are not, I’m pleased to say, based on any fact. While it is perfectly possible that DECC will indeed reduce the FiT to 9p, the current rumours are, well, rumours. On speaking with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), we were told the following: “As we’ve previously said, all tariffs in the scheme are being considered in the Comprehensive Review and we will be consulting on proposals later this year. We’ve made clear that tariffs will remain unchanged until April 2012 unless the review indicates the need for greater urgency. There has been no announcement about the review so any rumours about its content are just that, rumours and speculation.”
Solar Power Portal 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Members of Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet are due to hear how the first phase of a major programme to install solar photovoltaic panels is expected to be on target to be completed by the end of March 2012. Plans will be presented to Cabinet at their meeting on 24 October 2011, seeking permission to complete procurement for the installation of solar panels on around 60 County Council buildings in order to take advantage of Government cash incentives and reduce energy costs and carbon emissions.
Hampshire County Council 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Independent fashion retailer Mackays Group is to develop its own wind turbine sites to meet all the power needs of its 300 UK stores. The Renfrewshire-based firm, which trades as M&Co, said it would be the first high street chain to secure full control of its electricity consumption. Subsidiary MEG Renewables is now seeking sites to develop and operate small to medium-scale wind turbines. Each site will typically involve between one and three turbines.
BBC 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Farming UK 21st Oct 2011 more >>
Appointment.co.uk 21st Oct 2011 more >>
Scotsman 21st Oct 2011 more >>
East Kilbride News 21st Oct 2011 more >>
Two-thirds of councils are scaling back or abolishing climate change programmes, leading to calls for local authorities to be prevented from opting out of action. Research published today by think-tank Green Alliance finds 37 per cent of councils are “deprioritising climate change” or even claiming it was never a priority. Meanwhile, 28 per cent are purely focusing on tackling emissions from their estate and ceasing to work on wider climate change issues.
Business Green 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Sheffield University needs your help. To gain a better picture of the effectiveness of the photovoltaic industry they’re asking solar panel owners to log onto their website www.shef.ac.uk/solarfarm and donate their photovoltaic data.
Newcastle Journal 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Subsidies for households to install solar panels are about to be slashed by ministers in a controversial move which could make a further dent in the coalition’s green credentials. Ministers are also on Thursday expected to announce a shake-up of wind power incentives from 2015, which will cut subsidies for onshore wind but improve state help for wave and tidal power. The news comes hours after ministers confirmed on Wednesday that they were not going ahead with a flagship £1bn carbon capture and storage demonstration project in Scotland. Intense discussions are taking place about precisely how far to cut the small-scale solar “feed-in tariff” (FiT) which pays households and companies for energy produced. Some officials in the Department of Energy and Climate Change are calling for a reduction in the subsidy by three-quarters, according to industry sources. That would mean a fall from the current level of up to 43p per kilowatt hour generated, to as little as 9p per kWh - a move which the industry claims would be devastating. If the government follows past precedent, any change would not affect homeowners with existing solar panels. The row is taking place amid a wider shake-up of renewable subsidies called ROCs (renewables obligations certificates) for wind, waves and biomass. Ministers will maintain the overall annual support for renewables but are adjusting the number of certificates given to different sectors within the industry.
FT 20th Oct 2011 more >>
Fears of a cut are already denting investor confidence, according to Bruce Davis, retail director of Abundance, a community investment company. “We know of several community initiatives across the UK who were considering using the generation of renewable energy . . . and who are now either stopping development or considering pulling out altogether,” he said.
FT 20th Oct 2011 more >>
The micro CHP market is in its infancy in majority of regions around the world; however, penetration in the larger markets mainly the U.S. and U.K. is expected to be rapid. The factors contributing to the growth of the micro CHP market are supportive government policies, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lower electricity expenses, and the availability of technologically advanced engines. However, the device is not sold in the mass market yet due to three main hurdles: high prices of the unit, consumer and utility resistance, and infrastructural hurdles.
Environmental Expert 20th Oct 2011 more >>
With the Energy Act now enshrined in law, the government is facing mounting pressure to overcome a series of obstacles that critics are warning could derail the launch of its flagship Green Deal energy efficiency scheme. Observers warned that businesses were unable to move forward with plans for the scheme until details of the financing initiative are fleshed out in a formal consultation that is expected to be launched at the end of this month.
Business Green 20th Oct 2011 more >>
The National Insulation Association welcomes today’s news that the Energy Act has become law, finally setting in stone the legal framework for the Green Deal, and governments commitment to energy efficiency and insulation. Under current proposals, cavity wall and loft insulation will not be subsidised and may need additional incentives. The industry predicts that this could result in a significant fall off in up-take until the Green Deal is fully established which could compromise carbon savings and the Industry’s ability to ramp up for Solid Wall Insulation (SWI) in the early years.
National Insulation Association 19th Oct 2011 more >>
The planned Green Deal energy efficiency scheme took a major step forward yesterday after the Energy Act enabling the ambitious financing initiative passed into law.
Business Green 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Conergy has launched a solar system planning tool, the ‘Conergizer’ in the UK to helps users work out the best solar solution for any roof.
Renewable Energy Focus 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Hydro for Omagh
Omagh District Council has recently commenced work on a hydro project utilising the weir on the Camowen River, adjacent to Omagh Leisure Complex, to generate electricity through an Archimedean Screw hydro turbine. The development of the hydro scheme on the Camowen River will generate sufficient power to meet the needs of Omagh Leisure Complex with excess electricity sold back to the national grid.
Eco Evolution 19th Oct 2011 more >>
At the spending review in October 2010 the Government announced it would commission an independent review of fuel poverty, to take a fresh look at the targets and definition and to help focus resources. Sir John Hills was asked in March 2011 to undertake the review. The John Hills review of Fuel Poverty has now been published.
DECC 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Thousands of people die each year from illnesses linked to fuel poverty, according to an independent report. Professor John Hills has called for a new definition of the problem, which focuses on people with low incomes driven into poverty by high fuel bills. His report found that in 2004, fuel-poor households faced a shortfall of £256 to heat their homes and avoid poverty, but in 2009 it was £402. The report argued this shortfall had serious implications for health. There are 27,000 extra deaths in the UK each winter compared to other times of year, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics. The report found most of this was due to cold weather. That figure is one of the highest in Europe and worse than Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway and France. Derek Lickorish, chair of the Government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (FPAG), called the figures for the number of deaths due to fuel poverty a “disgrace”. “Insulating the homes of the fuel poor is the only long-term and sustainable solution to solving this problem, but they will need financial help to make this happen and this takes time. Urgent action must start today,” he said.
BBC 19th Oct 2011 more >>
A wind turbine which will form part of the replacement Dunfermline High School is likely to be larger in size than originally thought.
Dundee Courier 19th Oct 2011 more >>
Dunfermline Press 21st Oct 2011 more >>
An attempt is being made to save around 30 jobs lost during the collapse of a Kinross-shire wind turbine installation firm. Icon Energy of Milnathort was placed into voluntary liquidation by its directors last week as a direct response to the demise of its major supplier Proven Energy
Dundee Courier 18th Oct 2011 more >>
Having achieved the endorsement of providing the largest rooftop installation in the UK this summer, Lightsource Renewable Energy has now branched out to Africa. They have teamed up with SolarAid to provide solar power to communities in Malawi. The launch event raised over £17,000, which will go towards generating energy for 15 clinics, 15 schools and 10 community centres as well as 10 solar fridges, with the local communities also raising funds themselves to show their commitment.
PV Tech 18th Oct 2011 more >>
A boom in solar panel installations. A sizeable cash injection to fund renewable forms of heating. A “carbon budget” that binds the UK to some of the toughest greenhouse gas emissions targets in the world. The promise of a new programme to encourage the mass take-up of home insulation. These have all been signal achievements of environmental policy in the first year and a bit of the UK’s coalition government. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has made policy announcements at a brisk pace, dealing with issues from renewable energy to the “green deal” that is intended to make millions of homes more energy-efficient from next year. Yet none of these policies has been exactly trouble-free. Take solar power. The introduction of feed-in tariffs sparked a massive rise in the number of households and businesses installing photovoltaic panels. But months after the boom began, ministers becameconcerned that a proportion of the funds available would be taken up by large scale, field sized solar panel arrays, and so cut the subsidy rates for large scale systems. That caused an outcry and scared off potential investors. “It’s the uncertainty,” says Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council. “You can’t have a policy like that and change it so quickly or it creates political risk, and that is the thing investors really don’t like.”
Guardian 18th Oct 2011 more >>
The UK government has been repeatedly slammed for failing to become the “greenest government ever”, but Wales will today be hailed for bucking that trend in a new report by Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The Committee will today publish its analysis of steps taken by the Welsh government to cut emissions and prepare for climate change, concluding it has moved forward, especially in energy efficiency. Significantly, Wales’ efficiency schemes last year outperformed those in the rest of Britain. It insulated just under 3,000 solid walls, which was near to 20 per cent of the 13,200 solid walls insulated in the UK in 2010, despite only having 5 per cent of the total housing stock.
Business Green 18th Oct 2011 more >>
DEFUNCT Kinross wind energy firm Icon Energy, has revealed that its sister sun power company Icon Solar is to continue trading. Icon Energy, a dealer in turbines, went into voluntary liquidation last week after Ayrshire-based turbine manufacturer Proven Energy appointed a receiver and was sold to Irish insulation specialist Kingspan.
Herald 18th Oct 2011 more >>
Molecular Solar Ltd, a spin-out company from the University of Warwick, is claiming a breakthrough in the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells. The company has achieved and demonstrated a record voltage for organic photovoltaic cells that means these highly flexible, low cost solar cells can now be devolved for commercial uses in a wide range of consumer electronics.
EE Times 18th Oct 2011 more >>
Leominster Solar Co-op
A community-owned solar power scheme has been launched in north Herefordshire. People are being asked to invest in a project to install solar panels on the roof of the Bridge Street Leisure Centre in Leominster. Organisers need £150,000 to fund the panels and are aiming to raise the money through shares. If the target is reached in time, it is hoped that work to install the panels will start in January. An organisation called Leominster Community Solar Co-op has been set up to manage the scheme.
BBC 18th Oct 2011 more >>
Small Wind Launch
C&F Green Energy will officially launch its 50 to 100kW wind turbine range at the Renewable UK Show later this month. The Irish manufacturer of small and medium wind turbines will launch the 50 to 100kW range following unprecedented demand for larger scale turbines from farmers, landowners, and businesses across the UK. CEO of C&F, John Flaherty, said: “We have invested close to 14m to date in developing a first-class range of products that will help us to achieve market leadership in the UK and globally.
Farmers Guardian 18th Oct 2011 more >>
Installers looking to move into the solar energy market are being urged to apply now for Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation or risk losing out on an expected surge in sales. A rise in demand for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems is expected due to the Government’s plan to drop its Feed In Tariff (FiT) financial incentive rate next year.
Heating & Ventilating.net 18th Oct 2011 more >>
Two young entrepreneurs who are expecting to achieve sales of 15m in their first full year of trading would normally expect plaudits rather than brickbats. However, university fr iends Toby Ferenczi, 28, and Toby Darbyshire, 30, accept that their start-up, Engensa, is the subject of suspicion in some quarters. The company installs solar panels on consumers roofs which would normally cost between 10,000 and 15,000 for free and then claims back the subsidy, or feed-in tariff, that was implemented in April last year to encourage renewable energy production. The popularity of the scheme is helping Engensa achi eve monthly revenues of around 1m, and it is adding 10 employees every four weeks to cope with demand. It expects a pre-tax profit of as much as 2m this year while its revenue target for next year is 35m but only in the increasingly unlikely event that the subsidies continue at their current level.
Daily Telegraph 18th Oct 2011 more >>
As household solar panels become ever-popular, a new programme can predict the precise efficiency potential of individual rooftops. As not all roofs are equally suitable, scientists from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have launched a tool that uses the actual conditions to determine the maximum possible magnitude of solar incidence - in a whole town, a neighbourhood, or a particular roof. The scientists have surveyed Gothenburg in a pilot project
Click Green 17th Oct 2011 more >>
Local Authority Green Deal
There is now growing support for giving local authorities a central role in the rollout of the Green Deal, with experts saying their position as relatively well trusted service providers could encourage widespread take-up of green home makeovers. The largest Green Deal project in the UK is already being pursued by Birmingham City Council, which last month began a procurement process designed to identify a service provider for its planned £250m domestic energy efficiency scheme. A group of councils in the North East led by Newcastle City Council are also investigating a similar model, while a number of other local authorities are said to be investigating how they can drive Green Deal adoption.
Business Green 17th Oct 2011 more >>
Caplor Energy has now completed the 49.6kWp solar array, installed on the roof of Greendale Carpets & Floorings’ warehouse, located in Herefordshire. Comprising 260 monocrystalline photovoltaics panels, the installation will generate nearly 42,000 units of renewable electricity and save over 23 tonnes of CO2 each year. Greendale Carpets & Floorings is expected to generate over half of its total electricity needs from the system. Andrew Bailey, Finance Director at Greendale Carpets & Flooring said, “It makes great business sense for us to make this investment. With the solar PV array, we will be able to significantly reduce our electricity bill and our reliance on the increasingly volatile energy market, as well as adding an additional revenue stream to the business that is guaranteed for 25 years through the feed-in tariff incentive. I hope it’s a great example of how businesses can become greener and more sustainable in ways that favourably impact on the bottom-line.”
Solar Power Portal 17th Oct 2011 more >>
IKEA is in the process of installing 2,600 solar panels on the roof of its Wednesbury, Birmingham branch. Following a £278,600 investment the store now expects to generate around 112,600kWh of electricity per year, reducing the store’s CO2 consumption by over 1,148 tonnes over 25 years. The solar panels will be fully operational by December 2011. In total, the company is investing close to £4 million in fitting over 39,000 solar panels to the rooftops of ten UK-based IKEA stores in Cardiff, Edmonton, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Southampton, Warrington, Birmingham, and Wembley. The installations will provide on average 5% of each building’s electricity needs.
Solar Power Portal 17th Oct 2011 more >>
The government has been urged to give subsidies to businesses and households adopting electricity efficiency measures after a new report found that greater competition between energy savers and generators could save £35bn by 2025. The study, published today by think tank Green Alliance, argues that DECC’s electricty market reforms should include an efficiency feed-in-tarriff (FiT), to boost the uptake of energy-saving measures such as insulation and demand management.
Business Green 17th Oct 2011 more >>
Chris Huhne, the energy secretary, has said the government can deliver some “real hits” on household energy bills by giving the country’s biggest gas and electricity providers a tougher time. Huhne will point out that a small proportion of the increase in energy bills over the last year - just £20 - has been caused by Britain’s renewable energy obligations. The bulk of the increase has been caused by the dramatic rise in gas prices.
Business Green 17th Oct 2011 more >>
Brits Unaware of Subsidies
Less than one third of British people know they can receive government subsidies for installing solar power panels and less than half are aware of loans for home energy efficiency improvements, a survey showed on Thursday.
Reuters 16th Oct 2011 more >>
A growing number of companies are urging homeowners to go green while cutting energy bills by installing solar panels. But experts are warning people not to be hoodwinked into “too good to be true” deals by cowboy salesmen. Here Times Money outlines how much you can save by generating your own electricity, and how to avoid the rip-off deals. Feed-in Tariffs Energy suppliers, including all the big six, are obliged to pay householders who use photovoltaic solar panels a set rate for each unit of electricity generated. This rate varies depending on the type of system installed and it is guaranteed for the period of the tariff (up to 25 years) and is index-linked - so will rise with inflation. How much each household is paid depends on how many solar panels a roof can take. Those who can benefit most from the scheme will have a large, unshaded south-facing roof, using most energy during daylight hours.
Times 15th Oct 2011 more >>
Selkirk Community Wind
THE people of Selkirk will be fully involved in decisions which could see the town become the first in the region to benefit from its own community wind farm. That commitment was given by the Selkirk Regeneration Company which, as reported last week, has been awarded a £140,000 sustainable energy loan by the Scottish Government for a two-megawatt wind installation.
Southern Reporter 15th Oct 2011 more >>
RESIDENTS living in Bournemouth council homes are set to benefit from the installation of more photo-voltaic (PV) solar panels. A further 500 council homes will have solar PV panels installed between November 2011 and March 2012, following the council’s successful pilot scheme earlier this year.
Bournemouth Echo 14th Oct 2011 more >>
Crunch time is fast approaching. Within the next few weeks the government will confirm its plans for the future of both the Renewables Obligation and feed-in tariff scheme, the two incentive mechanisms that are currently driving much of the investment in low carbon energy.
Business Green 14th Oct 2011 more >>