week ending 30 December 2011
COMPANIES in Merseyside that install solar panels face “months of paralysis” amid confusion over changes to the Government’s feed-in tariffs scheme. That’s the claim of the director of Bootle-based Eco Environments which has expanded its renewable energy business across the UK in 2011. Firms such as Eco have benefited from feed-in tariffs which were launched in 2010.
Liverpool Daily Post 30th Dec 2011 more >>
Daily Post 27th Dec 2011 more >>
A FARMER has been given planning permission to build two wind turbines to help power his farm. Alan Elvidge submitted the scheme for a pair of 45 metre tall turbines at Flat House Farm, in Peatling Parva Road near Gilmorton earlier this year.
Lutterworth Mail 30th Dec 2011 more >>
There has been a change in the planning permission rules in England so that homeowners no longer need planning permission for air source heat pumps.
Renewable Energy Focus 29th Dec 2011 more >>
Dorset based small wind and hydro turbine manufacturer Ampair has announced that it is has created eight new job positions after experiencing solid growth in 2011 as a result of its continued international success in the hybrid power systems sector. Ampair started making wind turbines for yachts in Poole, Dorset UK in the early seventies and has grown from strength to strength, particularly in recent years as interest in renewable energy has grown. Ampair now manufactures a wide range of renewable energy based products such as hydro-electric turbines for water mills, wind turbines for farms and smallholdings and a range of sophisticated container-sized hybrid wind and solar based power systems that are designed to replace diesel generators.
Building Construction Design 29th Dec 2011 more >>
Government plans to slash incentives for solar power could prompt more communities to turn to hydropower as a way of supplying green energy and earning money from feed-in tariffs. That is the prediction of the Environment Agency’s hydropower lead Steve Naylor, who said last week that the green energy technology could emerge as one of the main winners in the government’s upcoming review of feed-in tariff incentives.
Business Green 29th Dec 2011 more >>
A charity providing green energy technologies to help some of the world’s poorest people start businesses and gain education is urging companies to step up funding after corporate donations dipped significantly over 2011. Michael McGrath, head of fundraising at the Microloan Foundation, which provides loans to help rural people start solar energy-based business, told BusinessGreen the organisation’s donations had fallen by a third.
Business Green 29th Dec 2011 more >>
Wood stockpiles are at a record low because energy companies are buying up domestic supplies to burn in power stations. Britain’s push to increase the amount of green energy it generates has set off a scramble for domestically sourced timber. Manufacturers have warned that energy companies are pricing them out of the market. Timber prices have risen by 50 per cent in the past five years and Karl Morris, managing director for the European operations of Norbord, which makes panels to build houses, furniture and pallets, predicted that they would almost double in the next five years.
Times 28th Dec 2011 more >>
Colchester Solar Plans
A PROJECT which would have seen more than 2,000 Colchester Council tenants benefit from free electricity through solar power has had to be scaled down. In July, Colchester Council hired Breyer Group to install solar panels on around one in three of the council houses managed by Colchester Borough Homes. While some local authorities have seen their projects collapse, Colchester Council has struck a deal with Breyer to continue with a watered-down scheme. Paul Smith, councillor responsible for finance, said the deal meant a further 1,000 homes will have panels installed before April – in addition to the 700 which have already benefited from the project. But about 400 to 500 others, whose roofs do not face directly south and so do not attract the most sunlight, have been put on the backburner.
Essex Gazette 28th Dec 2011 more >>
A perspective from 2011.
Renewable Energy Focus 28th Dec 2011 more >>
A GERMAN company, which makes the mounting systems for solar panels, has set up home in Coventry. Altec Solar, which employs around 150 people in Germany, has opened its UK warehouse and sales base in Binley. Initially, four staff will based at the centre in the city but that is set to grow as the company has plans for expansion in the next few years.
Business Desk 28th Dec 2011 more >>
A PONTHENRI businessman said his solar company is in “limbo” despite the High Court ruling that the UK government’s plans to cut subsidies for solar panels are legally flawed. John Blower, managing director of Filsol Solar Ltd based on the Ponthenri industrial estate, said although he was pleased with last week’s decision, the future was still unsure.
Carmarthen Journal 28th Dec 2011 more >>
NONE of the Scottish Government’s own buildings have achieved top energy efficiency ratings, prompting calls for Ministers to lead by example. Figures obtained by the LibDems showed that six of the Government’s 18 larger buildings, which account for 71% of the Government’s overall floor space, have been given the bottom two Energy Performance Certificate ratings. The certificate provides A to G ratings, with A being the most energy efficient and G the least.
Herald 27th Dec 2011 more >>
PROVEN Energy, the Scottish wind turbine manufacturer which went into receivership after discovering a potentially dangerous fault in one of its products, owed more than £4.5 million to unsecured creditors. It is unlikely the creditors – including many suppliers – will receive any of the money back, with Clydesdale bank also left out of pocket and the main shareholder writing off £11.5m, according to a report into the company’s affairs by receivers KPMG.
Scotsman 27th Dec 2011 more >>
Court Fall Out
Officials are scrambling to strike a compromise with the solar industry after an attempt to slash subsidies was blocked by the High Court. Greg Barker, the energy minister, is considering ways to soften the impact of the planned halving of the feed-in tariff, which is paid to households for electricity generated by solar panels. The rethink follows a successful legal challenge last week by Friends of the Earth and two solar companies, Homesun and Solarcentury. The Department of Energy and Climate Change has until January 4 to appeal. The talks come amid warnings that the funding pot for photo-voltaic solar panel installations could run out within months.
Sunday Times 25th Dec 2011 more >>
Letter: after the celebrations or commiserations, ministers will hopefully take the opportunity to address the two fundamental problems that still exist: lack of a sufficient budget to support this growing industry, and a proposed structure that disadvantages smaller companies. The decision to decrease the percentage return on solar photovoltaic to single figures is sensible and expected. However, to base these rates on budget levels calculated as part of the comprehensive spending review, set in November 2010, is out of line with the current economic picture. Since the decision was taken last year to create a fixed budget for the tariff, the government has changed its overall strategy and now recognises the need to inject funds into the economy to stimulate business and create jobs.
Guardian 25th Dec 2011 more >>
Only four years ago, hundreds of start-ups optimistically built factories and churned out solar panels to meet rising demand. Now, closures and failure loom for many. The brutal shakeout is a dramatic reversal for an industry that has seen overall global growth of more than 30 percent annually over the past decade and this year will reach new records for solar panel sales. Only a handful of manufacturers are now profitable in the face of too much capacity, which has contributed to a plunge in prices, and as government subsidies have been curbed. European banks that lent billions for solar installation have also pulled back as they struggle in the euro zone credit crisis, and debt-laden Chinese solar companies are in danger of burning up.
Reuters 23rd Dec 2011 more >>
The UK solar electric industry says it is in turmoil. The government slashed its subsidies in the middle of a consultation period, and then, this week, Friends of the Earth showed in the high court that the government had acted illegally. Many companies, who thought Christmas had come early, now say they are confused, uncertain of the future and don’t know what to advise consumers.
Guardian 23rd Dec 2011 more >>
The Government must drop plans to appeal over its lost high court solar battle or jeopardise thousands of jobs and land the taxpayer with a legal bill of tens of thousands of pounds, Friends of the Earth said today. A judge ruled yesterday that the Government’s plans to rush through cuts to solar payments were illegal - and refused permission for an appeal because it had no real prospect of winning - following a legal challenge by Friends of the Earth and two solar firms - Solarcentury and HomeSun. The court pronounced that proposals to cut feed-in tariff payments for any solar scheme completed after 12 December - 11 days before the official consultation closed - were unlawful. Instead of going through a costly and fruitless further appeal process, Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to create a new plan for solar payments to fall in line with reduced installation costs, ending uncertainty among solar companies and workers facing redundancy.
FoE 22nd Dec 2011 more >>