week ending 16 December 2011
A field trial of LED light fittings in social housing says the new technology can deliver huge energy savings, reduce costs and makes residents feel safer. The study, carried out by the Energy Saving Trust (EST), measured the performance of more than 4,250 LED light fittings installed at 35 sites. The EST said it carried out the trial because an increasing number of LED lights were now commercially available. It is predicted the technology could dominate the lighting market by 2015.
BBC 16th Dec 2011 more >>
Rebecca Willis is an associate of Green Alliance. This article is based on Demanding Less: Why we need a new politics of energy, by Rebecca Willis and Nick Eyre. Debates about energy focus overwhelmingly on energy supply. Should we go for renewables, nuclear or both? Will carbon capture and storage work? What happens if Russia cuts off supplies of gas? These questions are generally asked, and answered, by a small group of technical specialists in business and government – the kinds of people who can talk with enthusiasm about electricity market reform and renewables obligation certificates. A new politics of energy, which asks the fundamental questions about how and why energy is used, rather than assuming that progress depends on a continued supply of abundant energy. A politics that future-proofs our communities, by preparing them for coming resource constraints. One that doesn’t expect our energy dilemmas can be solved by technical interventions by a small group of experts, but which instead acknowledges that our history has been shaped by energy, and our future will be, too.
Guardian 16th Dec 2011 more >>
John Urquhart: 12 December 2011 was a dark day for Britain – the day Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy and climate change, slashed solar subsidies, while proclaiming what a good result Britain had achieved at the climate change conference in Durban. Huhne claims the cost of solar panels has halved, and that therefore the subsidy (FIT) should be halved. But solar panels are only half the cost of installation, so even if panel prices have halved, which is doubtful, the total cost of investment has reduced by only a quarter.
Guardian 15th Dec 2011 more >>
Cash-strapped businesses and local authorities facing soaring energy bills are turning to renewable heating options after discovering the Renewable Heat Incentive could pay out more than the fuel actually costs. New figures from Welshpool-based Organic Energy show the Renewable Heat Incentive could see businesses and councils save thousands of pounds on traditional fuel bills, with eligible heating installations attracting payments of up to £6,500 a year. The Renewable Heat Incentive for the non-domestic sector was introduced on November 28 and includes industrial and commercial installations, as well as those for the public sector, not-for-profit organisations and charities. It will see tariffs paid on a quarterly basis for a 20-year-period.
Organic Energy 15th Dec 2011 more >>
Solar Court Case Goes Ahead
A challenge into making a judicial review of the Government’s plans to cuts renewables subsidies has been allowed by a High Court judge. Today (December 15) Mr Justice Mitting ordered an ‘urgent hearing’ following a High Court challenge over plans to cut Feed-In Tariffs (FITs). The challenge was brought, before the central London court, by Friends of the Earth and two solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun.
Edie 15th Dec 2011 more >>
Guardian 15th Dec 2011 more >>
BBC 15th Dec 2011 more >>
Business Green 15th Dec 2011 more >>
Independent 16th Dec 2011 more >>
FT 16th Dec 2011 more >>
FM World 16th Dec 2011 more >>
Northern Echo 16th Dec 2011 more >>
Western Morning News 16th Dec 2011 more >>
The Judicial review will be heard on Tuesday and Wednesday (20/21 December 2011) next week.
Utility Week 15th Dec 2011 more >>
Chris Huhne has acknowledged the difficulties experienced by solar firms as a result of the government’s decision to cut incentives with just six week’s notice, promising the government “will try harder next time” to minimise disruption caused by changes to the feed-in tariff scheme. Speaking at an event in the House of Commons yesterday, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary conceded businesses need future changes to feed-in tariff payments to be handled better than this week’s controversial cuts, which are expected to see rates drop by 50 per cent.
Business Green 15th Dec 2011 more >>
Clydebank solar just in time
A PRIVATE investment deal worth £1 million between Tecsola plc and Knowes Housing Association to install solar panels at KHA properties in Faifley, Clydebank, will alleviate fuel poverty for tenants who live in the development. The injection of cash by Tecsola, a private equity investment company, has enabled Edison Energy to instal solar PV panels on 117 of Knowes’ properties. The deal will help KHA tenants who will receive free electricity. The installation was completed by December 12 to ensure that the solar panels qualified for the pre-December 12 feed-in tariff.
Herald 15th Dec 2011 more >>
Three Quarters support Solar
YouGov poll for Sunday Times finds over half of people want more wind turbines, while nearly three quarters support increased solar panel rollout.
Business Green 14th Dec 2011 more >>
Guardian 14th Dec 2011 more >>
Solar energy in the UK will continue to be a “viable financial venture for investors”, according to one of the largest international manufacturers of solar modules, which unveiled investment plans. Phono Solar, which produces monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar modules for the international market, said it will continue to invest in the UK market and is confident of its future, despite the cuts to Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) which came into force on December 12.
Edie 14th Dec 2011 more >>
SOLAR panel firms have staged a protest against Government plans which could decimate their industry and put thousands of jobs at risk. They demonstrated in protest at ministers’ plans to slash the amount of money made by homeowners with solar panels.
This is Staffordshire 14th Dec 2011 more >>
Hampshire Solar On Hold
AN ongoing bid to raise funds for Hampshire through fitting solar panels on county council-owned buildings is set to be frozen. Hampshire County Council has expressed its disappointment after the Government moved to cut the level of financial returns on installing solar panels. The council gave the go ahead earlier in the year to a programme that would have seen solar panels installed on around 7,500sq-m of its roof space.
Get Hampshire 13th Dec 2011 more >>
Solar panel manufacturer, Sharp Solar, has recently completed a study into the PV sector in the UK - with some alarming results. The research revealed that almost three quarters (71%) of British homeowners with their own roof say they do not know how much the renewable energy subsidy scheme - the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) is costing an average household. This lack of awareness comes at a time when the cost to households is being cited as a key reason for government cuts to the tariff, which has been slashed from 43p per kWh to 21p per kWh next week - from 12th December. The research also found that over a quarter (27%) of respondents believe households are paying much more to support the FiT than is actually the case, with assumptions from those polled ranging from £12 to over £1,200 per year. In fact, official figures released by the government confirm that the current cost to every household energy bill is approximately £1.40 per year.
Connecting Industry 13th Dec 2011 more >>
Solar industry campaigners are set to deliver a letter to Downing Street later today (December 13) calling on David Cameron and Nick Clegg to secure the future of the UK solar industry and save thousands of jobs.
Edie 13th Dec 2011 more >>
Business Green 13th Dec 2011 more >>
A RENEWABLE energy specialist has helped create a system which means social landlords don’t have to pay legal costs for solar photovoltaic panel schemes thanks to its associations with law firms. Castleford firm Strategic Energy, which is backed by clean technology investor specialist Hazel Capital, has worked with with Ernst & Young, the Council of Mortgage Lenders and leading law firms to make the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) viable at the 16.8p rate, it said. Previously, social landlords and councils could benefit from a 43.3p rate before changes made to the FIT by the Government. The system is also a pure equity model, which means there is no debt attached to it. None of the returns would need to be used to pay off debt.
Yorkshire Post 13th Dec 2011 more >>
After today, those who install and register solar panels will see a 50pc fall in the amount they receive for every kilowatt hour generated, with the total per unit falling from 43.3p to 21p per kilowatt hour. The “export” tariff, which is the additional 3.1p per kWh for any electricity sold on to the grid, will not change.
Telegraph 12th Dec 2011 more >>
FiT cuts a bad plan
Up to 29,000 jobs and £230m a year in taxes will be under threat today, as the Government controversially slashes solar power subsidies, environment group Friends of the Earth (FOE) says. After a last-minute rush to register for the original subsidy rate, households and small businesses signing up to the so-called feed-in-tariff (FIT) scheme from today will see earnings from energy they produce cut in half. The FITs have generated more than £275m annually in tax and created thousands of jobs since the scheme began in April 2010, says energy consultants Element Energy. However, between 18,000 and 29,000 of the solar industry’s estimated 30,000 jobs are now at risk, threatening most of the tax revenue they generate, according to Element’s research, which was commissioned by FOE and the “Cut Don’t Kill” campaign.
Independent 12th Dec 2011 more >>
Thousands of workers at one of the country’s largest solar panel businesses have been put on notice of redundancy on the back of the Government’s decision to cut the subsidy for solar PV under the Feed-in Tariff scheme. According to the Birmingham Post, Carillion Energy Services – which is part of the Wolverhampton-based Carillion group – has confirmed 4,500 jobs are under threat.
Manufacturer 12th Dec 2011 more >>
Energy companies face missing government targets to insulate millions of customers’ homes, leaving them liable for fines of up to 10 per cent of their turnover. The industry needs to insulate 2 million more homes over the next 12 months double the rate over the past three years to hit the targets under a £5.5 billion scheme. ScottishPower has admitted to “grave concerns about the deliverability of the targets”. Companies partly blame households for not responding to offers to insulate their homes for free. Today the first lot of 4.4 million letters from companies will be sent to households on benefits to try to boost the take-up. The industry has warned if this push fails, it would have to carry out more expensive work, such as insulating solid walls, to try to meet the targets, and will raise bills to recoup the costs.
Times 12th Dec 2011 more >>
The UK High Court has agreed to hear applications by Friends of the Earth and solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun for permission to challenge Government plans to slash financial incentives for solar electricity on Thursday 15 December 2011.
Renewable Energy Focus 12th Dec 2011 more >>
Solar Not Setting
A Warwickshire renewable energy company boss says reports the sun is about to set on the solar industry are completely wrong.
Coventry Telegraph 12th Dec 2011 more >>
Government is wrong to cut the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) in the way it did but bad practice in the solar industry needs addressing, according to a new report. Released today (December 12) the Consumer Focus report Keeping FIT is published on the day the subsidies are cut by about 50%.
Edie 12th Dec 2011 more >>
EU Action on FiTs?
The UK government is facing increasing pressure over its decision to halve the feed-in tariff (FIT) for small-scale solar installations, which comes into force today. While the consultation on the government’s plans continues until December 23, today marks the deadline for the new 21p/kWh FIT for installations of 250 kW or less to come into force. Green group Friends of the Earth is urging the government to rethink its plans and the EU has warned that the UK could face legal action if the change could potentially affect the country’s ability to meet its 2020 renewable energy target.
Energy Efficiency News 12th Dec 2011 more >>
Subsidies for solar panels installed after Monday will fall by as much as 50 per cent from next April, assuming the government adopts proposals set out in the on-going consultation on its popular feed-in tariff scheme.
Guardian 12th Dec 2011 more >>
The public is being kept in the dark about the viability of solar photovoltaic energy, according to a study conducted at Queen’s University. “Many analysts project a higher cost for solar photovoltaic energy because they don’t consider recent technological advancements and price reductions,” says [co-author] Joshua Pearce, Adjunct Professor, Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. “Older models for determining solar photovoltaic energy costs are too conservative.” Dr. Pearce believes solar photovoltaic systems are near the “tipping point” where they can produce energy for about the same price other traditional sources of energy.
Climate Progress 11th Dec 2011 more >>
The once burgeoning Scottish solar industry is in a state of shock following the publication of DECC’s comprehensive review of solar Feed-in-Tariffs (FIT) on 31st October 2011.
Industry Today 9th Dec 2011 more >>
A Cumbrian Farmer has had his energy bills slashed by thousands of pounds a year after installing a wind turbine in one of his fields. Frank Mattinson - who keeps a beef and dairy herd near Wigton - says diversifying into energy farming has helped his business. Now he’s encouraging others to do the same.
North East Tonight 9th Dec 2011 more >>
Renewable Heat Incentive
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a new government initiative providing finance initially to non-domestic renewable heat generators in Great Britain. Designed to revolutionise the way heat is generated and used, this is the first financial support scheme of its kind in the world. Under the scheme’s terms, organisations may apply for assistance and, if successful, receive inflation linked payments for heat generated from non fossil fuel sources over 20 years.
Low Carbon Economy 9th Dec 2011 more >>