Nottingham City Council is flexing its green muscles with a new solar panel installation at the Harvey Hadden Sports Village. It has installed the UK’s first solar cloth carport – a construction over the main car park. The energy generated – said to be the equivalent of powering a fridge for more than 50,000 days or making two million cups of tea – will go towards powering the brand-new leisure centre.
Nottingham Post 28th Aug 2015 read more »
Business Green 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Community energy company, Big60Million has had three of its solar bond offers certified under the global Climate Bond Initiative (CBI) standard. The CBI standard confirms to potential investors that the funds are being used to deliver climate change solutions. Big60Million’s Atherstone Solar Farm Ltd (15MW), Southam Solar Farm Ltd (10MW) and Paddock Solar Farm (9MW) all secured certification under the CBI standard. The official validation report stated that the 34MW of solar projects “will achieve resource efficiency consistent with avoiding dangerous climate and will contribute to Low-Carbon Economy and are therefore eligible to be certified under the CBI standard.”
Solar Portal 28th Aug 2015 read more »
Drastic FiT Cuts Proposed
Maf Smith: This week government set out its proposals for the Feed-in Tariff (FiT), and stunned the whole renewables sector with the depth, breadth and speed of changes. Particularly hard hit has been solar, simply because solar is the biggest beneficiary of the FiT, so gets disproportionally impacted by any changes. Wind energy has also been hit badly, but these changes, while significant don’t seem as unexpected given the government’s earlier commitment to stop the spread of wind farms. This long anticipated review of how the Feed-in Tariff has performed since its establishment, government makes no mention of the reasons why decentralised energy is important, does not measure or mark any of the successes, and does not restate a vision for what we are trying to achieve. Yet from opposition David Cameron set out a powerful case for a decentralised economy. Supporting those individuals, communities, farms and businesses who wanted to install renewable energy in their homes and businesses, who wanted to do their bit to help tackle climate change, and in doing so could be nudged into playing their part to build a responsible society, was once the essence of this Government’s political approach. Now these self-same people who shared this vision are a burden on the consumer and a drag on Treasury accounting rules. Above and beyond the impact on the businesses and employees of the renewables industry, that is the real opportunity now lost.
Business Green 28th Aug 2015 read more »
Thousands of renewable energy jobs could be at risk in the Westcountry from the Government’s proposed review of its Feed-In-Tariffs structure. Figures from Regen South West show that the solar energy sector in particular has enjoyed unprecedented growth over the past few years with the number of small scale solar deployments increasing at an accelerating rate.
Western Morning News 28th Aug 2015 read more »
Brits planning to install solar panels will lose out on £192 a year compared to those doing it earlier because of cost-cutting measures. Over a 20 year period, this will mean panels bought after January will bring in thousands of pounds less over their lifetime.
Mirror 28th Aug 2015 read more »
Solar panel feed-in tariff payments on offer to homeowners are set to be dramatically reduced by almost 90 per cent from next year and be lowered every year after, a Government report today suggested. This would drive energy generation returns on a typical home’s panels down from the current £495 estimated by the Energy Saving Trust to just £64 per year, which experts suggest could kill off solar panels’ appeal as an investment.
Daily Mail 28th Aug 2015 read more »
The UK government is to cut support for domestic rooftop solar to 13% of current levels, with similar cuts for bigger systems, and end all support for small scale renewables by 2019. The likely result, and surely the intention, is to kill off the UK’s solar industry altogether. Just a few years ago, UK solar installations up to 4kW in capacity were eligible for 43p per kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated. That has since fallen to 12.47p, a rate available until December 2014. But now the ‘feed-in tariff’ (FIT) support is set to collapse to just 1.63p per kWh.
Ecologist 27th Aug 2015 read more »
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is proposing to cut the feed-in tariff rates for solar PV installations by as much as 87%. Publishing the outcome of the long-awaited feed-in tariff review, the government is proposing deep cuts to all bands from 1 January 2016.
Solar Power Portal 27th Aug 2015 read more »
The scale of the planned feed-in tariff cuts have sent shock waves through the renewables industry – BusinessGreen looks at the key proposals. Newspaper reports had suggested feed-in tariff incentives for solar could be halved. In reality, a 50 per cent cut would have been like manna from heaven compared to the changes now being proposed. Under the new plans, the smallest solar arrays with less than 4kW of capacity would see generation tariffs on offer cut by 87 per cent from next January. Across the board, new bandings are being proposed for different arrays along with cuts of around 80 per cent. Moreover, a new degression pathway for cutting tariffs each quarter is proposed that would see FiT incentives end for new sub-10kW and 10,000kW-plus installations by January 2019.
Business Green 27th Aug 2015 read more »
The UK government says it plans to significantly reduce subsidies paid to small-scale green power installations. Under the proposals, the amount of money paid to home owners and businesses producing electricity from roof-top solar and small wind turbines will be limited from January 2016. Subsidy schemes could be closed to new entrants from the start of next year. Ministers want to ensure that consumers who pay for the schemes through their bills get the best deal possible.
BBC 27th Aug 2015 read more »
FT 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Times 28th Aug 2015 read more »
“These absurd solar cuts will send UK energy policy massively in the wrong direction and prevent almost a million homes, schools and hospitals from plugging in to clean, renewable energy,” said FoE. Mike Landy, head of policy at the Solar Trade Association, added: “This is the antithesis of a sensible policy for achieving better public value for money while safeguarding the British solar industry.”
Independent 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Solar panels now cost around £6,800 for a typical 4kW system, down from £8,400 three years ago, according to the Renewable Energy Consumer Code. Currently, a typical 4kW system generates 3,400 kWh per year. This would earn £302.09 a year in feed-in-tariff payments. But when the rate drops to 1.63p for the generation tariff in January, the payouts drop to £110. Assuming generation stays at the same levels, this leads to a £3,840 reduction in payments versus the existing rate over a 20-year period, before taking inflation into account. The cost of a set of solar panels would need to fall by more than £800 for home owners to see a return on their initial investment, according to calculations by the Energy Saving Trust. Philip Sellwood, of the Energy Saving Trust, said: “The new rate is no longer cost effective for householders. Prices would need to fall by £840 by January for new panels to be cost-neutral in a typical home.” He added that Government payouts have brought down the cost of solar panels by increasing demand. “The feed-in-tariff has been extremely successful in driving the uptake of solar panels in the UK which has helped photovoltaic prices to fall by nearly 70pc in the past five years,” he said. Solar panel installers have reported an unprecedented rise in inquiries from home owners keen to install panels before the payouts drop. “The industry won’t be able to cope with this extreme cut in the tariff rates,” said Leonie Greene from the Solar Trade Association, an industry body representing installers. “We will have a massive boom in demand before January which installers can’t meet. “There was nothing in the Conservative manifesto about attacking solar power – we do not accept this is in the public mandate,” Ms Greene added.
Telegraph 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Colin Calder, chief executive of a solar supply firm PassivSystems, put it more strongly, saying: “It is extremely disappointing to see the government once more targeting the rooftop solar PV [photovoltaics] market with tariff changes that are so extreme they will destroy an entire industry overnight, putting thousands of jobs and many businesses at risk.” Juliet Davenport, chief executive of leading green power supplier Good Energy, hoped ministers would change their minds. “The feed-in tariff has transformed the way the UK generates its power over the last three years, with over 21% of the UK’s power coming from renewables in the early part of 2015, and over 700,000 homes generating their own power,” she said. Environmental campaigners at Friends of the Earth said the move further undermined David Cameron’s credibility on tackling climate change in the runup to key talks in Paris later this year.
Guardian 27th Aug 2015 read more »
The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change has proposed to make calamitous cuts to the country’s renewable energy Feed-in Tariff scheme. Ever since the re-election of the country’s Conservative Government and the appointment of MP Amber Rudd to the position of Energy and Climate Change Secretary, the UK’s renewable energy industry has been on tenterhooks, as proposal after rumor after proposal placed the industry in ever more increasing jeopardy. DECC has now proposed a cut to the Feed-in Tariff scheme in a review of the system that is set to end on October 23. According to the “Consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme” published by the DECC Thursday, the proposals include “measures to place policy costs on bills on a sustainable footing, improve bill payer value for money, and limit the effects on consumers who ultimately pay for renewable energy subsidies.” The cuts to the FiT will affect solar PV, wind, and hydropower projects, and attempt to cap government spending on FiTs to £75 million to £100 million from 2016 to 2018/19. Most noticeably, domestic solar support could be cut by 87%, commercial rooftops by 82%, as well as devastating cuts to onshore wind.
Renew Economy 28th Aug 2015 read more »
These are challenging times for renewable energy in the UK. An industry which delivers the equivalent of almost half Scotland’s electricity and employs tens of thousands of people now finds itself fighting for its life under a barrage of UK government cuts and hamstrung by crippling uncertainty. Over the past few months, the Treasury has cut onshore wind subsidies; solar subsidies; the energy efficiency budget; the obligation for new homes to be zero carbon; the escalating tax on polluting industry; and low vehicle excise duty on energy efficient cars. It has also introduced a tax on green energy. Now, with billions of pounds of investment and thousands of jobs already under threat, the government’s attention has turned to small-scale renewables – a sector which has helped homeowners use solar PV panels to cut carbon emissions and reduce their energy bills, ensured the survival of rural businesses and brought vital income to communities across the UK.
Scotsman 28th Aug 2015 read more »
What will you do with the £6 the government is proposing to save you in 2020 by eviscerating the UK’s most popular renewable energy scheme? What about the £1 the proposed reforms will shave off the average household electricity bill next year? What will you do with your 0.2 per cent saving? Don’t spend it all at once. These are, of course, slightly facetious questions. The government does need to take steps to cut spending on renewable energy subsidies given its Levy Control Framework (LCF) spending cap looks set to be breached by a cool £1.5bn by 2020, a scenario that would lead to significantly more upward pressure on bills than the nominal £6 the latest reforms are designed to save. Fuel poverty remains a serious problem and even if bills are falling currently, there is a compelling case for getting spending on green levies on a much tighter rein. The government’s own impact assessment says its proposed changes will lead to over 6GW of anticipated renewables capacity and 1.59MT of carbon dioxide savings not being realised by 2020/21. Where are these carbon savings and the promised clean power capacity boost now going to come from? The nuclear project that is still waiting for an investment decision and will deliver power at a strike price considerably higher than either onshore wind and solar power? The CCS demonstration project that has been waiting six years for a promised funding award? The national energy efficiency programmes that have just been killed?
Business Green 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Leading environmental NGOs WWF, RSPB and Stop Climate Chaos have today called on the Scottish government to make it easier for homeowners and businesses to generate clean energy. The Scottish branches of the NGOs have together argued the nation’s Permitted Development Rights scheme needs to be extended to non-domestic solar panels and domestic air source heat pumps. The call comes as Holyrood prepares to close its consultation on extending the scheme, which allows for certain building and technology developments to go ahead without needing to go through the sometimes costly and lengthy planning application process. The consultation is seeking to establish whet her there is support to bring the scheme in-line with similar programmes in England and Wales. Gina Hanrahan, WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer, said extending the rights to renewable energy could improve uptake.
Business Green 27th Aug 2015 read more »
H&V News 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Scotsman 28th Aug 2015 read more »
The planning rules on the installation of some renewable technology should be changed to make it easier for households and businesses to reduce their carbon emissions, environmental groups have said. WWF Scotland, RSPB Scotland and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland are backing proposals to extend permitted development rights for solar panels on non-domestic buildings and for air source heat pumps on homes. The change would mean that those who wish to install the measures would be able to do so without applying for planning permission in most cases. Permitted development rights can reduce costs for applicants and building owners by removing the fees and costs associated with the planning application process.
STV 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Energy Voice 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Reacting to government plans revealed today that will essentially end support for rooftop solar energy, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Alasdair Cameron said: “From California to China, the world is reaping the benefits of a solar revolution, yet incredibly in the UK David Cameron is actually trying to shut rooftop solar down. “These absurd solar cuts will send UK energy policy massively in the wrong direction and prevent almost a million homes, schools and hospitals from plugging in to clean, renewable energy.”
FoE 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Solar-powered sewage treatment
Welsh Water has completed work on the first phase of its largest solar PV project completed at a wastewater treatment works. Renewable energy company Dulas delivered the project which has seen around 8,000 solar panels installed at Welsh Water’s Five Fords facility near Wrexham. The second phase of the development will involve the installation of a further 2,000 solar panels, which will generate 0.5MW of energy and should be completed by March of 2016. The scheme is part of Welsh Water’s initiative to reduce carbon emissions by 25 per cent.
Utility Week 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Commercial Rooftop Market
Renewable distributor, Waxman Energy has joined together with Renewable Energy Investments to host two open days designed to help installers understand the opportunity in the commercial rooftop market. The open days aim to provide attendees with in-depth information and advice on how best to take advantage of the opportunity available to installers.
Solar Portal 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Barnsley Solar Plan
People in Barnsley are being invited to get involved with the UK’s biggest community energy project involving roof-based solar panels. The ‘Energise Barnsley’ project will see solar panels installed onto around 5000 council houses and council-owned buildings. The council will partner with social enterprises to deliver the project, and any surplus income will be fed back into Barnsley communities. Barnsley Council is making no capital investment in the project, which is likely to cost more than £10 million. It will instead be funded by partners involved with the scheme.
ITV 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Green energy supplier Ecotricity will develop its third Green Gas Mill in Somerset, the company announced yesterday. The 3MW thermal site will generate carbon neutral gas for the national grid from the anaerobic digestion (AD) of grass and is anticipated to deliver enough energy to power up to 2,500 homes. The company said the new mill will use locally-sourced grass from non-food producing land, while also delivering a natural fertiliser for local farmers. “Making green gas from grass doesn’t compete with food production, it actually supports it and the farmers working the land,” Vince added. “It also helps wildlife, creating new habitats – and there’s enough non-food producing farmland in Britain in principle to meet 95 per cent of the gas we need this way.”
Business Green 27th Aug 2015 read more »
The UK’s anaerobic digestion (AD) generation capacity has passed the 500MW milestone, according to the latest figures from the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA). The trade body yesterday revealed 514MW of electrical equivalent capacity is generated as electricity or biogas from more than 400 AD plants across the farming, waste, and water sectors. “ADBA’s market data now shows that AD offers over 500MWe electrical equivalent capacity – more capacity than one of the UK’s nuclear power plants, Wylfa, which is being decommissioned this year,” she said. “This capacity is extremely valuable because AD generates low carbon baseload or dispatchable power, helping to keep the lights on and balance the output from intermittent renewables such as wind and solar.” However, the body warned that a government decision to remove the Levy Exemption Certificates (LEC) that allowed renewable power to avoid the Climate Change Levy imposed on businesses could cost the industry up to £11m, while a review of the pre-accreditation for the feed-in tariff (FiT) subsidy scheme could hamper further growth. “To continue to expand, the industry needs viable support in the forthcoming FiT review, and an Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) budget that will support new green gas,” Morton said. “AD has the potential to meet 30 per cent of UK domestic gas demand, and overall it could cut UK greenhouse gas emissions by four per cent and support food security and production.”
Business Green 26th Aug 2015 read more »
The UK anaerobic digestion industry now delivers an electrical equivalent capacity of 514MW across 411 plants in the farming, waste and water sectors. Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association chief executive Charlotte Morton said: “ADBA’s market data now shows that AD offers over 500MWe electrical equivalent capacity – more capacity than one of the UK’s nuclear power plants, Wylfa, which is being decommissioned this year. “Despite this, however, further growth in capacity is being hindered by the government’s decisions to remove Levy Exemption Certificates in the summer budget – a cut that ADBA estimates will cost the AD industry £11 million – and to fast-track a four week consultation aimed at removing pre-accreditation from the feed-in tariff (FiT). “To continue to expand the industry needs viable support in the forthcoming FiT review, and an RHI budget which will support new green gas.”
RE News 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Edie 25th Aug 2015 read more »
The number of subsidized solar power storage installations has increased by more than 35% in a year in Germany. Falling prices and the desire for energy independence are fuelling this high demand. In the first seven months of this year, the German development bank KfW has supported 35% more solar energy storage projects than in the same period in 2014. Since the German federal government’s launch of the PV storage system support program in 2013, more than 12,000 PV storage systems have been installed.
Renew Economy 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Electric utilities typically focus on supply-side solutions to meet peak demand, balance electric loads, and meet customer needs. Demand profiles are assumed to be static, and the grid must be built to meet that load profile. This approach to building a grid is expensive. The grid will need an estimated $1.5 trillion in investment between now and 2030, largely to meet forecasts for ongoing generation, transmission, and distribution needs. That translates to $50–80 billion dollars every year. But a much cheaper approach is to make not just supply but also demand highly flexible and responsive to price signals. In a new report released today, The Economics of Demand Flexibility, we show how simple, Internet-connected technologies like smart thermostats to control AC, dryer timers, grid-interactive water heaters, and smart EV charging can drive out 10–20% of those anticipated grid investments, while simultaneously saving customers 10–40% on their electricity bills.
Renew Economy 27th Aug 2015 read more »
Scotland’s Low Carbon Infrastructure
A new report is to explore how Scotland’s proud engineering tradition can be harnessed to tackle fuel poverty, improve public health, create jobs and slash carbon emissions. Commissioned by the Low Carbon Infrastructure Task Force, which includes key figures from engineering, finance, construction, academia, public sector, development and environmental groups, the ‘Scotland’s Way Ahead’ report found greater investment in low carbon infrastructure by both public and private sector must increase if Scotland’s to meet its climate change targets. The report’s findings make clear that public investment into low carbon infrastructure would bring many benefits, including eradicating fuel poverty, improving health and creating jobs. Almost 1 million households in Scotland are living in fuel poverty. The report argues that investing in low carbon heating systems and improving the energy efficiency of our homes could cut bills and keep homes warm.
Scottish Construction Now 25th Aug 2015 read more »
Business Reporter 25th Aug 2015 read more »
BBC 24th Aug 2015 read more »
Times 24th Aug 2015 read more »
Yet another 50MW ground-mounted solar farm has received planning approval in the UK, this time Northfield Solar UK’s project at RAF Desborough in Kettering. Northfield submitted a planning application to develop the former World War 2 airbase in April and Kettering Council’s planning committee met yesterday – almost a month later than scheduled – to grant it final approval. Approval was delayed after the council requested additional information from Northfield in relation to environmental impact assessment regulations which was then provided at the end of July.
Solar Portal 26th Aug 2015 read more »
An alliance of 100 organisations – representing tens of thousands of workers, small businesses, retailers, farming groups, co-operatives and local government representatives – has written to the Prime Minister to express its support for small scale renewable electricity ahead of an expected review of the Feed-in Tariff. Signatories of the letter included: Dr Nina Skorupska, Chief Executive, Renewable Energy Association; Ramsay Dunning, General Manager, Co-operative Energy; Alasdair Reisner, Chief Executive, Civil Engineering Contractors Association; and Charles Middleton, Managing Director, Triodos Bank. It comes against a backdrop of unexpected cuts in the renewable energy sector in the first months of the new Government.
Scottish Energy News 25th Aug 2015 read more »
DIRECT debit is the modern way to pay, or so the utility companies like to tell us when they want us to pay them. But it is a very different story when they have to pay us; that’s when they prefer those old-fashioned and rather slower-moving bits of paper called cheques. Don’t expect to get paid within 14 days, even though this is what the energy giants insist we do when we are paying them. You will be lucky to get your money within two months, as I recently discovered. My frustration relates to my decision in 2011 to fit photovoltaic (PV) panels to my roof, taking advantage of a very generous feed-in tariff of 43.3p per kilowatt hour – a rate that rises with the retail prices index (RPI) each year.
Sunday Times 23rd Aug 2015 read more »