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. There have been further reductions since. Use the Expertsure calculator to check out your house and see if it is still worth doing.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Expertsure Solar Calculator

22.5.2017: Expertsure Solar Calculator : I was recently alerted by Ollie Smith to this useful website, Expertsure. It includes a solar calculator, which calculates your likely return on investment for a Photovoltaic installation.
  It harnesses the imagery of Googlemaps to show you a realistic satellite view of your house. You adjust easy sliders or turnwheel to give orientation, shading risk, installation capacity. It works with current average installation pricing and feed in tariff and electricity rates to calculate the solar capture and to give you a summary of power, cost and earnings.
 It starts off by asking your postal code. You can adjust the turnwheel over your house for a complete picture.
  Although the current Feed in Tariff is not the strong incentive that it was in 2010, the calculator includes predicted savings on electricity use (provided you use it smartly, like running the ironing and washing machine during peak solar), and this makes the investment look more worthwhile.

Caveat: You need to consider how shading risk will change over the years, a small tree now could be large in 20 years time. Also, panels do decline slightly, and there are occasionally the need to replace the only 'moving part', the inverter (we hope not). Do not select an installation larger than 4kW for a domestic house. Anything larger needs enlarged meters and cabling. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Open Homes weekend 25-26th April, 3rd May)

Open Homes weekend
25th - 26th April (and 3rd May)

Eleven low energy homes open their doors to visitors this spring. 
Some are cutting edge refurbishments with ultra-low bills, other homes have undergone more modest changes to make them more comfortable and cheaper to run.
Details of each home are now up on the websites: (including a timetable of all the opening times)
Every home description includes a link to Eventbrite, to book your free visit(s). Once you have made a booking, further details such as the exact address, bus routes and parking options will be sent to you by email nearer the time.

For further information, contact Tina on or 07962 453037

The date for the Peveril Solar House is May 3rd 2015

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Facebook site is more active, please 'Like'

1 July 2014: Not as much is posted here as used to be, but perhaps that is because the Facebook site is more active.
Check out:
Items get posted almost every day on this page, usually stories about the use of PV on buildings or houses.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

World's largest solar farm in Arizona!

13 May 2014: World's largest solar farm in Arizona!

290 Megawatts capacity, twice the size of Central Park, NYC.
To quote the article:
"Global climate change is here, and it’s only going to get worse, according to a White House report released on Tuesday. To combat rising sea levels and blistering summers, the Obama administration has been pushing for clean, renewable energy sources that cut down on carbon emissions. Now one of its projects is poised to pan out: Agua Caliente, the largest photovoltaic solar power facility in the world, was completed last week in Arizona.
The plant comprises more than five million solar panels that span the equivalent of two Central Parks in the desert between Yuma and Phoenix. It generates 290 megawatts of power—enough electricity to fuel 230,000 homes in neighboring California at peak capacity."
See the link to find out more. 

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. 

Location - check your location