Monthly Archives: July 2011

Solar Pv installation

Feed in Tariff Will Drop Believes Isoenergy

Act now to secure the maximum return on investment before the tariff is reduced.

The government Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) is a scheme that is paid by energy suppliers for every unit of electricity generated from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. This includes both units generated for on site use and any additional units that are exported to the national grid. Once you have signed up to the FIT scheme the amount paid is guaranteed for 25 years for solar PV, is linked to the Retail Price Index and is tax-free (compared to only 20 years for other technologies in the scheme).

Currently the generation tariff is set to 43.2p/kWh for retrofit solar PV systems <4kW but this will remain only until April 2012. Isoenergy strongly believes that such a good rate per kW is unsustainable at current rates of PV adoption. In short, panels need to be installed, tested and commissioned before April next year to guarantee the current rates. After April the government will have reviewed the FITs and they are likely to drop significantly each year.

The exporting tariff is presently set at 3.1p/kWh and this is unlikely to change, but the generation tariff is worth significantly more and therefore the drop will have a large impact.

Both the ‘Department of Energy and Climate Change’ and ‘The Energy Saving Trust’ say that the government review will “Be completed by the end of the 2011, with tariffs remaining unchanged until April 2012 (unless the review reveals a need for greater urgency)”.

The message from our solar PV engineer Patrick is “install now rather than later in order to see the greatest return on your investment and to take full advantage of the FIT scheme.” Finally, only PV systems installed by MCS accredited installers such as isoenergy will be eligible for FIT payments.

New Fossil Fuelled Power Stations Raise Concerns – Guest Blog

Today the Guardian printed news of a national policy statement being discussed in the Commons which would “allow gas-fuelled power plants to be fast-forwarded in their applications on the basis that the UK has an ‘urgent’ need for all new capacity to replace old nuclear and coal plants”. Along with the policy, planning applications have been lodged by various energy companies to build up to 30 new gas plants across the country, many of which are in the late development stage. Friends of the Earth have been quoted as “calling on MPs to block the government’s prime energy policy statement” as they fear this “dash for gas could crowd out wind and other cleaner energy projects” and lock Britain into a “higher carbon future at a time when it is trying to promote renewable power to cut emissions”.  Simon Bullock a campaigner with FoE argues that the construction of new gas plants is neither necessary nor urgent because the “new capacity the government says is needed by 2025 is already under construction or has planning permission”.

The appeal of gas powered plants is that they have a short and relatively low-cost construction time and as argued by a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman “the transition to low carbon energy can’t just happen overnight” and gas would allow flexibility to support more sustainable technologies whilst maintaining the security of electricity supply. I agree that gas would give renewable energies a greater time frame in which to expand so their location and choice of energy type could be considered thoroughly and then applied to the best suited areas. However, it is critical that gas plants aren’t glorified as the cure to the energy crisis but that they are seen more to be a sideways step giving us a chance to proceed more easily with more sustainable technologies, such as those installed by www.isoenergy.co.uk

Another fear is that an increase in gas plants will result in fuel prices increasing again. Whilst there is evidence to suggest that renewable energies lower the fuel cost and when one in five households in the UK is classed as being in fuel poverty this has surely got to be an important concern. Thus, it would seem sensible to look further into installing low-carbon energies not only on a national scale but also on a household scale as these technologies will lower energy bills. An example of this idea being employed on a university scale can been seen most recently at Newcastle University where over the past four months they have been drilling a 2000 meter deep borehole to harness geothermal power. On the 27th June they finally reached a suitable source and hot water is now being brought up to the surface. Another university that has embraced renewable technology is Southampton University which no longer relies upon the National Grid for power but produces it itself mostly through photovoltaic solar panels which are installed on many of the campus buildings.

Europe Falling Behind in Green Investment – Guest Blog

This blog was contributed by our work experience employee, who is here for a week to see what isoenergy is like. Many thanks to him.

From a recent article in the Guardian, it has been stated that Europe is ‘falling behind’ in the green investment race. It is said that this is due to a bumper year in which places around the world have started in investing in renewable energy themselves, such as those installed by www.isoenergy.co.uk

Last year, there was an increase in green technology investment in the world by one-third to a total of $211bn. A huge amount of this boost came from China spending almost $50bn mainly in the use of wind farms, this has confirmed China as the ‘world’s green energy king’ if you will.

This growth of green technology investment was also strong in places such as India, Latin America and other countries in the developing world as well. But it seems as if Europe’s green investment is declining as it decreased by one-fifth to $35bn. However, Europe has given a sign of hope in small-scale renewables, mainly solar power in Germany. From this information it seems quite worrying that in the developing world where they are increasing their investment in green power whereas Europe – which during 2010 had the world’s largest economy from their GDP – is doing the complete opposite, and I think at the least it should keep its investment constant rather then letting it decline.

Connie Hedegaard, who is the climate chief of Europe, has asked for a much larger proportion of the EU’s budget to be devoted to spending related to the climate, and so by doing this she hopes to help retain Europe’s edge in this rapidly growing green economy. She asked that at least 20% of the EU’s budget should be spent on climate-related issues such as helping to cut emissions.

Now, I think that asking for a proportion to go towards this is a great idea as it will guarantee that Europe will be back up there near the top in the green investment race, but at the same time I also believe that 20% is a lot of money and should not be spent so rashly in schemes trying to help the environment especially in the economical situations that we are dealing with.

She states that ‘This significant increase reflects that it is a key political priority for Europe to tackle climate change by transforming Europe into a clean, competitive low-carbon economy.’ And I acknowledge that and can say it makes sense, but like I also said 20% is a lot of money and we are quite aware already that green investment is a key political priority which is important in the present and future, but I don’t think we need to go to the extreme of spending 20% of the EU’s budget to reflect this and so we should take the green race into consideration and ask ourselves whether we think it is reasonable to agree to what Connie Hedegaard is saying.