Glasgow Schools go Solar
Seven primary schools in the Glasgow area are to be fitted with solar panels with a combined total capacity of 350kWp under plans by the city council to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020. Each of the schools will receive a 50kWp system to be installed by Campbell & Kennedy (C&K), which must design, install and connect the systems by the end of April 2017. A statement from Glasgow City Council said: “This project will enhance the council’s commitment to the sustainability and resilience of these schools whilst providing a practical teaching resource for pupils. “The 135 tonnes of CO2 that will be saved each year as a result of these installations demonstrates Glasgow City Council’s continuing aim in reducing our emissions by 30% by 2020.”
Solar Portal 10th Feb 2017 read more »
Welsh Solar Village
A cluster of eco homes using solar panels are being used to provide low cost public housing to tenants in Pembrokeshire. They form a village called Pentre Solar and have accepted tenants from the council housing register in the county. Residents of the six timber homes are expected to see cheaper energy bills as the properties have an A++ energy rating and solar panels producing 6,000kWh a year. They also have access to a shared electric car. Western Solar was granted £141,000 by the Welsh Government to establish a factory locally to manufacture the homes off site following a prototype launched in 2013.
Energy Live News 9th Feb 2017 read more »
The Government has been accused of trying to kill off Britain’s solar energy industry just as it is about to become one of the cheapest suppliers of electricity – with no need for any kind of state subsidy. In fact, according to the Government’s own projections, only onshore windfarms could provide cheaper power within the next decade or so – and the Conservatives pledged in the party’s election manifesto to “halt their spread”. Amid ongoing concern about rising energy prices, the industry expressed disbelief that the Treasury is about to impose a swingeing business tax on firms with rooftop solar schemes, which c ould increase the bill by up to eight times. Domestic installations could also be hit by a VAT increase from five to 20 per cent. And large-scale solar has been excluded from Government auctions of contracts to supply electricity to the grid for the lowest guaranteed price, effectively a form of state subsidy. Representatives of the Solar Trade Association (STA) plan to meet Jane Ellison, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, on Thursday in a bid to persuade the Government to drop the business rate increase and to give the sector a “level playing field” with fossil fuels. At the same time, a group of children will deliver a letter to the Treasury appealing to scrap the business rate rise after they helped to raise funds to install panels on their state school, Eleanor Palmer Primary in Camden, London. Unlike private schools, exempt because of their charitable status, it will be forced to pay the new tax. It comes on top of cuts to subsidies and regulation changes since the Conservatives came to power in 2015, which have been blamed for causing the loss of more than 12,000 jobs. Speaking ahead of the meeting with Ms Ellison, Leonie Greene, of the STA, told The Independent: “The damage to solar jobs and the industry has been severe and put major investment by the British public in this vital industry at risk. “It is a massive own-goal to derail the solar industry after a success that has shaken up the entire UK energy sector for the benefit of consumers. “There is strong consensus amongst mainstream energy analysts globally that solar will dominate future power systems. Hampering the British solar industry now is akin to shackling mobile phone operators on the cusp of the telecoms boom – extremely unwise.
Independent 9th Feb 2017 read more »
The Solar Trade Association is ramping up its campaign against a proposed increase in solar business rates, aiming to secure a U-turn ahead of new rates coming into force on 1 April 2017. The STA is to meet with financial secretary to the Treasury Jane Ellison today to discuss the issue, with the association hoping to convince the government that commercial solar rooftops should not be penalised in such a fashion. After coming to light last summer, the proposed increase in business rates – which could see systems designed for self-consumption hit by eight-fold increases in taxes – has created considerable uncertainty in the rooftop market.
Solar Portal 9th Feb 2017 read more »
Responding to a written question on the solar industry’s profitability earlier this week, new energy minister Jesse Norman reiterated his department’s trope that the cuts were to ease the technology towards a more sustainable future. “Support for solar installations comes directly from consumer bills, and the government has accordingly taken steps to control the costs of support schemes and have put solar on a path to subsidy-free deployment,” he wrote. In an era when any claim of even the slightest questionable standing is derided as fake news, Norman’s conclusion that the path UK solar has taken over the last 18 months is the right one is a claim so audacious even Donald Trump might think twice before reaching it.
Solar Portal 10th Feb 2017 read more »
Growing concern is being voiced about the substantial rise in rateable valuations faced by farmers and landowners who have installed small and mid-scale renewable projects, especially hydro electric schemes. And the fears expressed by Fort William farmer John Macdonald to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier in the week at the NFU Scotland AGM were yesterday echoed around the country. Macdonald told the First Minister that many of those who had installed such systems – often at vast expense – had done so in the belief that they were contributing to a low-carbon economy while also developing a new income stream for their businesses.
Scotsman 9th Feb 2017 read more »
The Scottish renewables sector has been stunned by five- and six-fold increases in business rates and the new regime of business rates in Scotland has marked out hydro power for “special punishment”, threatening to end independent development of schemes north of the border, Scottish industry representatives at Alba Energy warned.
Scottish Energy News 9th Feb 2017 read more »
Operators of many small scale green energy projects such as hydro or solar schemes, fear they won’t be able to survive proposed business rates increases of up to 650 per cent. They claim that while Scottish ministers rightly criticised the UK Government for cutting subsidies to renewable energy developments, they are effectively now doing the same, by overseeing rates increases of up to 50 per cent of turnover when support has been removed. The Scottish Government stresses that business valuations are undertaken by independent assessors. But the point at issue is that a relief scheme introduced by the Edinburgh administration to assist green generators ended in 2015 and has not been a replaced.
Herald 9th Feb 2017 read more »
Edie 8th Feb 2017 read more »
Listed funds in the UK which own a significant portion of the country’s utility-scale solar PV assets are not currently convinced by battery storage’s feasibility, but remain primed to deploy the technology at scale when the time is right. Four of the UK’s largest listed funds with solar interests spoke at last week’s Solar Finance & Investment Europe conference in London to provide an update on their activities and while interest in the booming secondary solar market took centre stage, attention quickly turned to the future and the potential role for battery storage within their operations.
Solar Portal 8th Feb 2017 read more »
Millions of lampposts could be fitted with wind turbines connected directly into the National Grid. IT and technology firm NVT Group and Own Energy, which designed the small turbine that will be used, have formed a joint partnership that will create 25 jobs over the next year. However, the firms expected the number of people employed will rise to 300 within three years and say the venture could turnover more than £400m within five years. Own Energy is to move from its offices in Glasgow to NVT Group’s headquarters in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, as a result of the deal.
Independent 7th Feb 2017 read more »
An IT company has joined forces with a green technology firm to develop wind turbines which attach to lamp-posts. The NVT Group’s partnership with Own Energy Solutions is set to create 25 jobs over the next 12 months which it hopes will rise to about 300 within three years. The scheme harvests wind using a small wind turbine and inverter system. As a result, metered, clean energy could be fed directly into the National Grid. The company said that as a result, each suitable lamp-post conversion would save half a ton of carbon being released into the atmosphere.
BBC 6th Feb 2017 read more »
FIFE-based Living Solutions (LS) are going all out this week to increase their ‘green energy footprint’, as they take delivery of their new hybrid Renault Kangoo van, supplied by local company – Bright Green Hydrogen (BGH). The Levenmouth Community Energy Project – led by BGH in Methil, Fife – is a collaborative initiative supported by Fife Council and Toshiba. Begins a spokesperson: “This new industry development involves the facility being created into the world’s foremost demonstrator of hydrogen derived from renewable turbine and solar resources. “It is the first project of its kind in Scotland to use green hydrogen to fuel a fleet of hybrid/electric vans to the road.” This new vehicle will add to Living Solutions’ green credentials, as they are already working to create an eco-friendly zero emissions tree-surgery service – as they ramp up their contracting business.
All Media Scotland 6th Feb 2017 read more »
An international summit on the hydrogen supply chain is to be held in Aberdeen next month. The summit, which is taking place during European-wide Hydrogen Week, will bring together bus operators and re-fuelling companies to present study findings of large scale hydrogen re-fuelling. The event will further show the economic benefits of hydrogen to the area, and local businesses are invited to attend to further understand the potential for supply chain opportunities that are emerging from this sector. Aberdeen has the first hydrogen buses in Europe, two dedicated hydrogen refuelling stations, and hydrogen-fuelled vehicles as part of a car club scheme. The city is also looking wider than transport, with plans for hydrogen training, business diversification, and trials of H2 vehicles for the private sector.
Scottish Energy News 6th Feb 2017 read more »
Energy Action Scotland – the national charity which aims to combat fuel poverty – has warned that the inflation-busting energy price-rises by Npower has ‘set alarm bells ringing’ for many people already struggling to afford their fuel bills. Npower is to increase electricity and gas prices for customers next month by up to 15 per cent – and some other energy companies have already said they also expect to increase prices this spring.
Scottish Energy News 6th Feb 2017 read more »
Energy-saving street lights should be dimmed or turned off altogether because they are harmful to insects and other wildlife, according to academics. A study by Exeter University found that LED street lights acted as a draw for predatory spiders and beetles, destroying vegetation and damaging other species. Pests were more likely to be attracted to grassland patches lit by cold white energy-efficient lighting than those with conventional sodium street lamps, the researchers said. The number of spiders and beetles drawn was drastically cut when lights were dimmed by 50 per cent, or switched off between midnight and 4am. However, the study said that “averting the ecological impacts of night-time lighting may ultimately require avoiding its use altogether”. Thomas Davies, from the university’s environment and sustainability institute, warned that LEDs could have “potentially profound consequences” for the natural environment. Many local authorities have recently scrapped traditional sodium bulbs in favour of LEDs, which burn less electricity and provide more directional light. Transport for London announced plans three years ago to convert all lights on its major roads to LED bulbs to cut energy consumption by 40 per cent and save almost £2 million.
Times 6th Feb 2017 read more »
Energy customers who find themselves paying over the odds for their heating can simply switch to a cheaper deal. But there’s a hidden, but rapidly growing, number who estimate they’re paying up to three times more than the expected price… but don’t have the right to switch. In most cases, they are stuck with the same supplier for 25 years or more. They are among the 220,000 households signed up to District Heating networks which power entire estates by sending hot water and steam via insulated pipes from a central generator, instead of having a boiler in each home. The system, often fuelled by natural gas or biomass, is supposed to point the way to a greener future and has the enthusiastic backing of government. However, the suppliers are unregulated and customers of only five of them have the right to turn to the energy ombudsman if things go wrong. On the face of it, the schemes are good news. Unlike condensing power plants, that only use around a third of the electricity generated, district networks use 90%. Waste energy can be recycled, households no longer have to maintain their own boilers, and heating bills are supposed to be cheaper. Last year the government announced it was investing £320m in expanding the system across the UK and predicts that it will supply 8 million households by 2030. In London, where new developments are required to be zero carbon, it is being used in most large estates.
Observer 5th Feb 2017 read more »
Access to financing is one of the major barriers cities face in their sustainability efforts, as identified in new C40 research. Mayors and city officials from around the world are responding to this challenge by pursuing innovative, strategic private sector partnerships and pioneering business models to reach their goals. There are powerful strategies that cities have available to them to help access the large existing pool of private sector and market-based finance available for municipal infrastructure. Despite the challenges they face, many cities have charged ahead to finance projects in new ways. Here are four strategies cities shared at the C40 Mayors Summit, which took place in Mexico City last year, on how to access new sources of funding and finance.
C40 2nd Feb 2017 read more »