Rushcliffe Solar

Rushcliffe Solar started as a Transition West Bridgford campaign to encourage greater use of Photovoltaic home power generation systems in Rushcliffe borough, but we are always willing to answer an enquiry from other towns in the region. There are many buildings and entire streets with roofs which have a good view of the Sun and could produce power for the Grid and Income for the occupants. Hit the You Enquire tab to get a free appraisal of the photovoltaic potential for your building. Email:
If you are thinking about it, do not be put off by recent changes in the tariff!: Since April 2012, the tariff was reduced to 21 pence/unit and ones on poorly insulated buildings get only 9 pence/unit. If you can get 4kW worth of panels on a roof with a good orientation, and you qualify for the 21p rate, it is still a VERY good Investment for you, and will continue to contribute power to your house and to the Grid. the next reduction is the 1st August 2012.
Please Email, or please hit the You Enquire button above.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Storing electrical energy: GE blog posting

28 Jan 2014: There's an interesting posting about electrical storage on the Good Energy blog.  It's going to be one of the next big things because the primary criticisms of renewable energy is intermittency. There are methods which require large civil engineering works (such as pumping to mountain lakes), but how does the domestic householder do this?
  Juliet Davenport's article discusses this and mentions research at Harvard that points a way to the future. Read more at:
  GE have partnered with a British firm Moixa, using funding from the Dept of Energy and Climate Change, to develop better storage solutions for domestic users. The ideal is to charge up the storage during the peak generating hours of your PV roof, and then have backup power for lightly powered night use, e.g. lighting - works best if it is 12v.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Geekbeat guide to PV installation
27 Jan 2014: Here is a good guide to installing Photovoltaic PV panels - many good discussion points covered in just 20 minutes of lecture!
See John's accompanying blog post at

Bosch video on how Photovoltaic panels are manufactured

Bosch video on how Photovoltaic panels are manufactured:

Large solar farms in Japan

Picture from Gizmodo website
27 Jan 2014: After the terrible experience of the Japanese Tsunami a couple of years ago, and the consequent damage to the nuclear reactor at Fukushima, Japan is finding a new way forward. They are applying their ability to think Big by applying it to solar farms. The amount of flat land in Japan is limited, so this Kyocera sea based one, facing in a westerly direction is saving land, generating energy and is safe against Tsunami (which comes from the east).
This one is the "Mega Solar Power Plant Kagoshima Nanatsujima". Whatever the transient cost modelling between nuclear and solar, the one largest factor which is beyond costings is long life safety - this farm can be renewed panel by panel if parts go wrong, workers will not suffer radiation, nothing will melt or blow up, and nearby communities will be safe to live in.
More from Kyocera:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Half a million installations!

14 Jan 2014: The Guardian reports: "The solar power industry appears to have installed its 500,000th set of panels in the UK in recent days, in a move that marks a major milestone for the burgeoning sector.
    According to figures by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 499,687 solar schemes had been installed by 5 January under the feed-in tariff scheme that supports solar arrays with a capacity smaller than 50kW."

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Second PV array to feed electric car

11 Oct 2013: Somebody called Trevor wrote a comment on an earlier posting of mine on my ChargingtheEarth blog and he has directed me to an interesting blog about his electric Renault Zoe car. (I don't care if he works for Renault, the posting is about installing PV).
He has PV fitted in 2010, and that is the usual grid connected system with the Feed in Tariff. He has recently added extra panels on the north roof, because the 2010 system took up his entire south roof. He has kept solar generating metering records since the start, and house electricity records since 2008. It isn't clear if the second PV panel array is added to the original 3.7kW system as a grid connected system, because as far as I know, this would alter the terms of his original F.I.T agreement. As the blog is mostly about the electric car, I guess that this is to reduce his small running cost of the car.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Eco-Kinetics putting PV on a rail station
I heard about this project frmoAlex Mungo of Eco Kinetics, St Albans.
Eco-Kinetics specialize in installing Solar PV Systems, Solar Energy, Solar Panels and Solar Power systems for residential and commercial entities. They were recently successful in winning a tender for the installation of a trial system at one of Network Rail’s maintenance depots, which along with other energy reduction measures will help to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions at the site.
With a tilt frame mounting, and some active decisions to modify the angles every couple of months, this should be an efficient system. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Electrical generation in Broxtowe, Nottingham

April 2013: It is good to see St Anns, a district of Nottingham making a news item on a website covering sustainable topics world wide. One small problem - it is not St Anns, it is Fenwick Rd in Broxtowe.
Image from Sustainable Cities Collective website by photographer Michael Jenkins
"When you think of tough neighbourhoods and burroughs like the Bronx in New York, or St Ann’s in Nottingham, you don’t necessarily equate them with energy efficient living. If you consider it living at all, it is most certainly not energy efficient living. However, it is in Nottingham, England that the city council has made an innovative move in making homes in this, once slum but heavily low socioeconomic, area highly sustainable and energy efficient."
Actually, the photograph and the installation is in Broxtowe, in Fenwick Road and Close.
See the full story:

Sunday, February 3, 2013

PV roof over supermarket

Feb 2013: This seems like a good idea! Large supermarkets have high electrical costs with all their chillers, hot deli counters, lighting, check-out equipment etc. If they can generate enough to counterbalance this, and provide a bit more on the side, then it's good for profits and it's good PR for the company - and significantly reduces the load on the nearby power station.
What better idea than to make the vast acres of roof into a PV generating roof. And if you're thinking of taking it further, the car parking can double up as a power generating surface while allowing shoppers to get from their cars in shelter from summer sun and winter rains.
   This is the 340kW installation at the Edeka Krawczyk supermarket rooftop in Schwabach, Germany. The installation used 2,500 thin-film CIS modules and was connected to the grid in July 2012. The city of Schwabach has nominated the solar project for its biennial environment award.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Solar companies to sue government

23 Jan 2013: Guardian article
17 companies suing the British government for £140million. 2012 has been a bad year for the solar industry, not just because of the endless rainfall, but because Osborne cut away most of the incentive provided by the Feed in Tariff - causing immense problems for the Renewables industry which had geared up to meet the demand.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Solar Mapping now a reality

21 Oct 2012: A few years ago, this Rushcliffe solar project started with the idea of solar mapping West Bridgford, and this was done, albeit, it is a large spreadsheet rather than a large photomap. But technology moves on, and it is possible to use laser survey methods combined with aerial photography to map the potential for solar power generation. This article using a site in Cambridge Massachusetts points to ways that we will use in future when fossil fuel becomes even more rare. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Brighton energy cooperative

Late july 2012: 

Brighton Energy Cooperative has shown confidence in solar power, even in this time of reduced tariff.
They have proceeded with a proposal to roof five warehouses in Shoreham Port near Brighton. It's an 87 kW installation, equivalent to 25 houses with maximum PV installations. theyve raised 200,000 and have plans for investing in another 40 kW worth of installation. Way to go!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Act urgently if you want the PV tariff

15 July 2012: With two weeks to go before the end of the month, you would be very lucky to get one quoted, ordered, installed and registered. It is still possible, some installers can move very quickly, although they are likely to have full order books during July (and what after that?). The government really have brought great instability to the industry with Stop-Go policies.
    Once you are on the bandwagon, you have years of the good tariff payments, so if you have the right sort of roof, hesitate no longer!
  Some reading below:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Take action before 1st August!

Early June 2012: The public seem to believe that the government have ceased the Feed in Tariff - but this is very wrong! If you still have enough roof, it is worth doing, and the tariff continues. If you were smart enough to get your PV erected before December 2011, you are still on the high rate.
     The present day reduced rate of 21p is such that it is still worth doing if you can get near to 4 kW worth erected.  Don't delay!
    After August 1st of this year, the FIT will reduce further to 16p, but you will then need to make sure your house is insulated to level D on the 'Energy Performance Certificate' scheme. This is worth doing, even though it seems illogical to use this condition as a brake on the installation of PV. It's about as sensible as requiring you to own a dog, or could be as expensive as requiring you to change your car to a more efficient new one.
    If you have cavity fill and some double glazing you should be able to reach an EPC of level D. There are so many parameters, such as the size and age of the building, the location in a conservation area, the complexity of the roof shape. If you cannot reach level D of the EPC, then you will only get 7.1 p, plus a small amount for sale, and the saving from using your own power.
   One information page that is worth keeping an eye on is the one that Good Energy publish.
  This is
  I hope they will keep this same link page for a good long time, and update the information on it.
  As there is a lead time for ordering, scaffolding, organising the crew, do act quickly if you are eligible, as the installation has to be completely in and registered for the tariff before 1st August.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Rent-a-roof is still possible

29 May 2012: There's been adverse publicity on the BBC about the rent-a-roof idea, whereby you get your PV panels for free, and the company installing them share with you part of the income, or at least, you get big reduction in your bills while they get the feed in tariff. Not for me, but for some with an excellent roof but no savings, this could be an answer. The problem seemed to be with conveyancing at the time of selling the house, and either solicitors or mortgage companies wanting to break the agreement or have them taken off.
   This publicity was about an exceptional case, and I don't know how it ended - was there a compromise, or did the vendor take them off? I don't know. The mortgage companies are now more aware of this issue and for the desirability to both buyer and seller of leaving the panels in place. 
   A Shade Greener, the company who started this idea, are still in business and have a warranty scheme, by which they will protect you from this risk. They have done 9,500 free installations of which 1,000 have later been sold, and are not the company who were the subject of this publicity. They can provide you a list of mortgage companies who are completely au fait with the benefits of the idea and who will not cause trouble during a transaction. In the extreme case, they offer to buy the house off the seller if the seller has an urgent need to move or sell and is obstructed in any way. 
   Rushcliffe Solar is not usually the one to promote this particular method of installing panels, as it is a good principle to own everything that is in or on your house when it comes to selling. Negotiate curtains and carpets if you will, but beware of negotiating things which require scaffolding and breach of contract. But in this case, in the cause of Fairness, it is good to let you know that the free installation is still possible if you have a very very good and clear roof. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Gedling press ahead with Solar

15 March 2012: It is very gladdening to see that Gedling Borough Council had the courage to press on with their plan for solar PV installations. Rushcliffe Solar did a report for Gedling BC last summer (2011), and the council agreed to go ahead with a £430,000 investment.
  As we all know, and regret, the Coalition government changed the tariff in November, and had two cut-off dates in December 2011 and March 2012, both of which have passed.
   Gedling BC have managed to get £90,000 of their proposed investment installed in time for the March 2012 deadline. See the report in the Nottingham Post

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wadebridge Solar

13 Mar 2012: I recently discovered the inspiring example of WADEBRIDGE, a town in Cornwall that is making a big effort to provide enough power from Renewables to meet its requirements, through their WREN project. There is more sun down there (2 or 3 degrees more south), admittedly, but the real task is the human one, that of persuading people to take part - and countering the downbeat message from the current government that seems to be going against renewables. The town uses a combination of PV solar and wind, but the striking thing about this experiment (and the other movies they have made) is the cultural and social advancement that they have all enjoyed - it's brought people together in a common endeavour. They also look to other solutions like better insulation, electric vehicles etc.
 I look forward to the next edition of Googlemaps, so I can see how dense the roofscape is with PV panels!
You can follow @WrenUK on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

1000 megawatt milestone achieved

26 Feb 2012: Here's a link to a Guardian report that the growth of solar panel installations in the UK has pass the 1000MW mark last week. This has been due to the 'explosive' growth of the rate of installation since the Feed in Tariff was announced in 2009. This is 41 times the amount of PV panels previously installed. I call that a success.

    Looking at it from the higher plane, it should not be about Tariff, which is a short term incentive - but the tariff has been miraculously successful. As a species we are motivated by economic forces.
    It should be about widespread generation of totally Clean Energy with zero infrastructure cost (we provide the roof and pay for the installation), and zero wholesale fuel purchase cost (the Sun), and zero running cost (apart from the FIT which is cheaper than the costs of salaries and maintenance of a power station).
   A good economic justification for the tariff is that energy delivered to houses from distant power stations is only about 1/3 of that generated at source, whereas the energy we supply to our neighbours is 1/1 - 3 times as efficient!

There is still uncertainty in the industry about the status of the FiT, although there is no worry about the 21p tariff - the confusion is about the 43p one. If you have a decent size of roof with good orientation, it is still an excellent investment at the 21p rate.
   It is most unfortunate that at the same time as this confusion is occurring, there is also much discontent in the Wind industry. Although the government is nominally backing it, the confusion in the PV industry and the damage caused by the 100 tory MPs letter has caused the big players in the Wind industry to freeze some projects which would have created thousands of jobs. Whatever you think of wind towers in the landscape, there is still an overwhelming need for electricity in our modern life. The MPs think that electricity flows from a socket, not being aware that it has to be generated somewhere. They would be woken up to reality if there were more brown-outs. In the high winds of last autumn, a nuclear power station in Scotland was out of action for more than 2 days, so it isn't just windmills that have problems sometime.
   The government has a target of 22mW installation by the end of the decade, but their tampering with the FiT and their linking with EPCs has made this target near impossible unless a future government support the FiT more earnestly. Germany has 25MW already.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Beyond the 4kW limit

27 Feb 2012: DNC writes: "It seems such a pity we are limited to 4kW on houses in the UK. This is partially to do with having too much delivery to the Grid on a domestic installation from a single house, something that doesn't seem to be a problem in Germany where its common to see entire roofs covered in PV. The feed in tariff strongly discourages people having larger than 4kW in a single house installation.  I would gladly have 6kW if I had enough roof. Although we could not be 'off-grid' I would like my house to generate more, so that it could meet the entire annual demand, including lighting and cooking.

I don't think this is a house, it seems to be a small office. But, this one seems to be taking it a bit too seriously!! It is also valuable to make the PV work most efficiently, and vertical panels are not ideal."

Location - check your location