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: RushcliffeSolar@gmail.com
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, December 27, 2011

Register on the BDPV website!

27 Dec 2011: I recently discovered the website http://www.bdpv.com/  which is a French site, providing a geographical database of PV systems installed all over Europe.  Each user is trusted to supply their own data for each month, and have that compared with others near them, and with the classic PVGIS calculation for that same Lat, Long, Orientation and Roofpitch.


Above is the display for my PV system for the most recent year (2011) with an estimate for the final figure for December 2011 (which is already well ahead of the previous year. The chart shows comparisons with the previous two years.
 It is easy to register with BDPV and there seems no charge for using it. I am surprised at how many are using it already, including quite a lot within a short distance of my home. It is easy to make charts like the above, comparing systems with each other or between yours and others.
  One indication of the effect of the british government's changes to the Feed in Tariff was that many of the UK systems that I browsed when first visiting this site all seemed to have been installed in November or December of 2011.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

High Court ruling on FIT changes


24 Dec 2011: It seems that the High Court found that the government were wrongful in pressing ahead with major changes to the Feed in Tariff without considering that the consultation process was not completed, and that the deadlines given have caused untold chaos in the solar installation industry.... and we should not forget some of the inevitable job losses or company closures.
Most people assume that Cameron and Osborne (who seems from his actions and saying to have little regard for the 'Green' revolution) will just carry on regardless of the Court ruling, or of the effects on the Solar industry and customers. 

Why link to Insulation?
When this was first mooted, it was proposed that the higher tariff should apply to houses which meet an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of level "C". Although this sounds at first sight like a good incentive, it reveals, at closer inspection to be just another form of discouragement, and favouring the well off house owner.
   Energy Generation is a different matter from Energy Conservation, and both are excellent, but there is No Reason for them to be so tightly linked, or for one to exclude the other. Should we also make a law that "Only houses with PV panels should be Insulated"? Of course not. That demonstrates the absurdity of the current proposal that "Only houses with Insulation should have PV panels". There are other ways to incentivise insulation, and these are being done.
  Society needs Energy, so why should we not encourage panels to be fixed on garages, barns and old houses that are not easy to insulate? In the same way, there are many buildings than can and should be insulated, but because of chimneys, dormers, trees or hips, they cannot be adapted for photovoltaic. 
    It can cost more to insulate a house up to level C than to fix solar panels. This new requirement becomes a charter favouring the rich or the owner occupier, because it requires an expensive operation on the house first, and perhaps a season's delay. 
   What does it do for social housing (especially of older dwellings)? A quick one or two day installation of panels can reduce future fuel poverty for a whole street, but a programme of insulation of a whole street would mean a complex and expensive process of decanting tenants etc. with funds that the local authorities or housing associations do not have.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

'Satisfied' of Radcliffe

27 Nov 2011: Geoff S. of Radcliffe on Trent writes:
 "I am pleased to report that my intended 16-panel system has now been installed by Team UK Renewables and was commissioned on 22 November. I am just keeping my fingers crossed that the necessary paper-work will be completed in time to beat the Government's 10th December deadline. There is untold satisfaction in being able to get one up on the Chancellor! I have now also had my two birch trees suitably lopped and am already getting some interesting daily readings. Can I take this opportunity to thank you again for your visit in September and your much-valued independent advice regarding shading problems."

Monday, November 21, 2011

December scramble!

21 Nov 2011: I had an email from Good Energy today to say that they will have staff in the office on Saturday 10th (10-4pm) and Sunday 11th (12-6pm) in December to super-streamline OfGem registrations in time for the midnight deadline of Dec 11th. If you get your installation registered by then, you are on the 43pence tariff for the next 25 years! Some utility companies are telling people that they need 3 or 4 weeks to register, so don't take that nonsense from them - switch!
    I don't normally want to promote one company only, but if they can do this for the customers, it's a benefit for all. Also. I hope they can lose George Monbiot his £100 bet - he bet someone that renewable energy companies can't maintain their prices till  2014... but GE have already maintained their prices without an increase for 4 years - due to the fact that their 'Wholesale Fuel' price is zero - the Wind for their windfarm and the Sun for their customers who are home generators!
     This underlines the fundamental benefit of renewable technology - it trumps all the arguments of people who say that Wind farms or Solar or Hydro is not 'economic'. The fossil/nuclear generators are helped by the many visible and invisible subsidies and economies of scale that the fossil/nuclear systems get - but every other one of these is trumped by the fact that the renewables come free, but the nuclear fossils have a Wholesale fuel purchase price, with competition from others to obtain those fuels, with risks of war or hostilities cutting off the supply.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Caution, and Which report

20 Nov 2011: DNC writes: I did another email to some of our past 'Solar Enquirers' to see how many installed, and it's nice to hear how many have actually managed to instal before the December 2011 deadline. The idea was to move them out of the mailing list, so I don't have to bother them with future emails.

Paul Cosgriff writes, with some ideas on being cautious about products and installers :
"We have been very pleased with the performance to date. We waited for a Which report before proceeding. The report highlighted the problem of companies making unrealistic promises about the payback period and also mentioned that inverters can fail and are expensive to replace (this was something that no one had ever mentioned to us!).
   We also agreed with the report's recommendation that the Government should fund a pool of independent advisors, so that householders can check all the facts before proceeding. For example, all companies claim that their panels are the best, but without expert independent advice, it is difficult for the householder to make a sound judgement.
   We obtained 3 quotations and found that the level of professionalism varied - one just looked at the roof from the garden, another went up a ladder and measured the roof, and the third both measured the roof accurately and inspected inside the loft. The company which we chose also had an electrician on the staff who was able to give us assurances regarding our preferred positioning of the meter.
   The installation was carried out in a professional manner, but the supervisor told us that he had decided to work for just 3 companies as he had found that some other companies gave quotes without any on-site survey, just relying on Google Earth, so that when the installation team turned up on site, they found that there were major problems, e.g. the roof was not strong enough to support the panels! I can see that this practice could quickly tarnish the industry with a bad reputation.
    As I said, in our case, we feel we made all the right decisions, and that fact that the sun is still shining in November makes us pretty optimistic."

Editor's Note : this idea of Which is rather like what Rushcliffe Solar have been doing, providing an independent source of advice without any commercial motive at all.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

EPC - you need to insulate!

5 Nov 2011: After April 12th 2012, it's likely that householders will have to get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for their house to be eligible for the 21pence tariff. The EPC should be grade 'C' or better. Without this, you may only be eligible for 9 pence/unit.
   This is going to need clarifying, because it seems to be bad news for people in historic buildings who are unable to bring the buildings up to grade C, or those who have to erect panels in the orchard, garage or uninsulated outbuildings because the house is historic, listed or is encrusted with chimneys and dormers. You need EPCs in order to sell a house, so there is now a small industry of EPC assessors. Google EPC and you will find loads, including some companies based in West Bridgford/ Rushcliffe. If your house does not yet meet grade C, then you will get advice from the assessor on how far it can be taken.

How do you get an EPC?
• EPCs are explained further on the DECC website,
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/HomeAndCommunity/BuyingAndSellingYourHome/Energyperformancecertificates/index.htm
• It costs between £30 and £70 to get an EPC evaluation, there are many companies offering to do one. See this page:
https://www.epcregister.com/searchAssessor.html
• Here's an example of a EPC for a house in 'AnyTown'
http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/planningandbuilding/pdf/319282.pdf
DNC writes: I have recently had my house EPC'd and the assessors say it's the highest they have seen, at 91. It would have been 96 if I hadn't had a gas fire in the living room as an emergency measure if the heat pump breaks down. Also, we have a brick detached house which loses us some points. The software used for the assessment doesn't know about solar panel assisted heat pumps, so although our actual energy consumption is 27 kWh/sqm/yr, the software assumes we use 45 kWh/sqm/yr. (The house is A-rated on 'environmental impact')

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tariff for early adopters

2nd November 2011: I was asked recently if there might be changes for people who adopted PV prior to July 2009. It really has been very unfair that they were not included in the FIT, albeit at half or third rate. They seem to have been forced to accept a share of the tiny 3.1pence/unit rate, despite having installed at a time when PV was twice the cost it is now. Well. there is a scheme, although it is not as good as the FIT, it is better than nothing.
  My electricity utility, Good Energy, have a reasonable deal for such people. Prior to the FIT they were offering me 15p/unit, so I wrote to them to ask if they had anything similar for early adopters of PV.

Click to view the details of the
review of the FIT 2nd Nov 2011
  One of the Home Generation team replied to me: "Prior to the FIT we did run our own HomeGen scheme which offered a higher payment for installations, however this is now reduced to 9.4p/kWh for every unit generated and a 3.1p/kWh for 50% which is deemed exported. This is the payment existing generators who transferred from the RO scheme are now paid.
   In regards to the recent announcement - Good Energy is disappointed with the Government’s proposals on the FIT review. We believe that the cause of the problem lies with the artificial cap imposed on the scheme by the Treasury and will be working hard to improve the proposals put forward by the Department of Energy & Climate Change."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Displacing solar power to store

1 Nov 2011: In the last year, I have been asked many times about whether one could cream off peak power in summer for storage. Well my reply has usually been that I thought it was unethical, as the public are subsidising us with a generous Feed in Tariff, and we have a duty to deliver some clean energy. With the change of FIT rate to something less generous, it is time to consider some of these storage ideas.
Carl of Prescient Power told me of a smart controller which is capable of reading the curve of the daily power generation, comparing it with the amount that is being used in the house. When the roof is peaking, the controller can direct power to something else - the best example would be an immersion heater which is a form of storage. If you were baking and ironing that day, it would decide that there would be no need to cream off spare energy. Another place to dump power would be to run to a battery charger, from which one can run night functions like lighting (using an inverter). The disadvantage of this is the same old one, that one has less spare power when you most need it, in the Winter when one needs longer hours of lighting, and more hot water. But it's worth thinking about.

FIT change is not as bad as feared

1st Nov 2011: I did a Rushcliffe Solar estimation for one client and was pleased to find that the situation is not as bad as I feared. She does happen to have a perfect south facing unshaded roof, which helps. The new rules on FIT will discourage people who can only fit 6-10 panels, because of the higher cost per kilowatt. However, for a 16 panel installation of nearly 4 kW the payback is still quite good, and would be equivalent to about £1000/year - about 8-9%. The return from the tariff is still enough to justify installation. The assumed earnings from saving on your current bill, and the income from direct sale to the grid assume a larger proportion of the calculation - the 3.1pence per unit being worth £50.
People will be more choosy (not doing a roof unless it has good orientation), and they will be taking the long view - that over the years, the costs of energy for everyone else will rise and their virtual income from the savings will increase proportionately. There will be an increasing tendency to adapt lifestyle, like baking cakes or running the washing machine at midday.
     Under the 43pence rule, the payback was getting up into the teens, like 14-16% which must be far more than the original creators of the FIT intended - caused mainly by the much reduced cost of panels.
See Full details of the review at Good Energy's website.

Solar array monitoring

1st November 2011: I met Carl Benfield of Prescient Power, one of our new installer-sponsors. His roof has a PV array on both the east and the west roofs, and he has a Solar Edge databox in each panel that reports back to the inverter on the current performance, flags up failing panels, and allows some panels to drop their power temporarily while a tree shadow passes without reducing the power of the remainder.

In this image of Carl's roof, he can slide the timeline along and look at any part of the day. He has a failed panel on the west roof (black with orange stripe) and an under-performing panels on the west face because it's morning on the timeline (dark blue with yellow stripe) . He has a good number of panels doing well in the morning (blue with black stripe) One east panel has a yellow stripe for some reason - he will get emails sent him by the system warning him of this.
This is just one of the many interesting analytical windows available from the Solar Edge reporting window.
Having this done costs at bit at start up but will earn its keep over the years. Without this, you could go for a while summer without realising that you had some failed panels.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Decision on FIT

31 Oct 2011: Well the announcement on FIT has been made and the details are on the Energy Saving Trust website.
http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generate-your-own-energy/Financial-incentives/UK-Government-proposed-changes-to-solar-PV-Feed-in-Tariffs

And the official page from DECC:
http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/gb_fits/gb_fits.aspx
This is going to be a tough decision for some. If you have determined to go ahead, you will have to consider the revised payback and balance that with your altruistic desires to 'do something good for the environment', or perhaps recognition that 5% return is still as good as the best deposit or Building Society accounts currently available. There is also reasonable evidence that having a house with good energy performance will have added resale value.
   If you have decided to go ahead and now wish to reverse that decision, there is the concept of the 'cooling off period' and some of you may be able to back out, depending on when you decided and how much you are out by.

Naturally, R-S hopes you will continue, after recalculating a more rational but very slow rate of return. Consider the position of those who installed prior to July 2009 who have never earned anything, and are only getting 3.1p per unit. I propose that the government could regain some lost friends if it balanced this reduction of the FIT for new installations by allowing Pre-2009 householder to have the 21p/unit.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Changes to FIT

30 Oct 2011: DNC writes: Congratulations to all who had the courage to go ahead and install PV during the last 2 years. If you are on the bandwagon, your investment is reasonably safe (although government still has the right to decide how index linking goes). Those who have not installed have to go ahead quick, as the Feed in Tariff changes expected for April 2012 may occur earlier, perhaps in December 2011.
If you have a system installed, but haven't yet registered it for FIT, do so very quickly, because there is a dealing coming up.
    The Guardian got this scoop off the Energy Saving Trust website, shortly before it disappeared again from the EST website. But the details were mostly confirmed by Greg Barker in the morning news of 29th Oct. The DECC website will show the details from Monday 31st Oct onwards.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/interactive/2011/oct/28/feed-in-tariffs-solarpower

     I don't altogether disagree with the policy. Degression was always going to be built in, but it needs to degress faster, due to the fall in the cost of installations. The original assumption was that Energy prices are only ever going to go up, and this has been true. The next assumption is that increasing world demand would balance with falling manufacturing cost keeping installation prices stable - this assumption was wrong, because costs of installations have almost halved in a couple of years due to vastly ramped up Chinese manufacturing, and competition in the installation industry. But most people will find the new rate is a serious discouragement, even if they are well intended to do something for clean energy and safer climate - 43p reducing to 21p will reduce payback to 5-6% (16-20 years), and the resulting cutback in installations will not bring prices down as fast as they have fallen since 2009.

   My 4kW installation was over £19K a mere two years ago, and now 4kW is reliably only about £11k, and some installers can beat even that. When I started doing Rushcliffe Solar estimations, we were getting paybacks of 8%-10%, and now prices have fallen so much that it's 12%-16% - this is too high a return, causing people to make rushed decisions for the wrong motives. The minister said that people should also consider the other long term things like improving house insulation and glazing, before rushing to instal electrical generation on inefficient buildings.

   Ironically, this decision is going to push PV prices up, as there are increasingly frantic order books, and shoppers can no longer shop around much - they just have to select whoever can fit them in before the new year. Companies who have moved into PV may be considering shifting out of it again. It is a blow for the nascent industry, to be sure.
See also:
http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2120568/feed-tariff-cuts-threaten-kill-solar-pv
http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/news/national-news/122739-consumers-and-industry-react-with-fury-to-leaked-feed-in-tariff-cut-plans.html


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

PV workaround Thermal in WB

26 Oct 2011: John Turner of West Bridgford has written with a report about his installation, in April just in time to catch a good summer harvest. He could have fitted more, but he has had to work around the existing solar thermal panels. Excellent work! As he says (below) that he has managed to achieve the maximum power on the best days, his roof angle must be perfect for summer sun angles. I wonder what he does with all the hot water he must get at these times! I would have considered having 16 in the south roof, and move the solar thermal to the west roof, but that might have been inconvenient for him, plumbing-wise.

John writes: "At the end of April I installed 14 PV panels around 2 Hot water panels which have been on the roof for about 5 years. The max output is 2.5KW and on the best days I'm registering 2.51KW so they meet the Spec. The installation was done by Ploughcroft Solar and they made a good job of it. I have a radio link with a Sunny Beam to the inverter which saves me going into the loft to look at the output power and also gives me records I can download to my computer in spreadsheet form. The data is actually in hourly form but I only collect the daily totals and sum these into Months and an ongoing overall total. Since installation the panels have produced 1575KWh." 

Blackfriars bridge-PV

26 Oct 2011: OK, Blackfriars bridge is not in Rushcliffe, but you are here because you have an interest in PV. Although we householders can all do our bit with our small roofs, it is very encouraging to see a major public investment into solar power, especially when it need not take any land, or look wrong in the landscape, and will represent a big saving in running costs.
   This will be the largest PV bridge in the world, and the largest single installation in London! More than 4,400 panels (6,000 m2) are due to be installed on a north light serrated roof that will be above the trains. See the information site at:
www.thameslinkprogramme.co.uk/news/news_items/view/108
http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/10/london-plans-worlds-biggest-solar-bridge/
This is the view of it a couple of years earlier, but the whole station has been undergoing major refurbishment, and the Tube station has been closed during the work. Up above, the plan is to run a canopy across the bridge. I can't post a photo for copyright reasons, but you can see the web page.
  The hoped-for solar capture will be 900,000 kWh, resulting in a huge CO2 saving of 511 tonnes.

Cotgrave Roof-Electric!

26 Oct 2011: David Nicholls of Cotgrave writes in with photos of his system, installed in August 2011. R-S sent him an estimation in Mid July. Its a south facing roof. Although we thought from Googlemaps that 14 would fit easily, his installer has managed to fit in 16, so he has more Power generation and more Feed in Tariff than expected.
Finished house: Neat work!


These show the panels fitting to their click frames.

Work in progress


David writes: "I  had my solar panel installation on 9th Aug by Activate Solar. The whole process was stress  free and ran very smoothly I was very impressed with the professional approach the installers had, with a great up to date statement of the stages involved and what to expect. Dates and times were right on the mark. I have been monitoring the system and so far above expectation!"

Panels are safe

26 Oct 2011: DNC writes: Some people often ask me, what happens if my panels get stolen, eg off a flat roof?
    I was recently thinking about selling on my PV roof and fitting higher efficiency panels (with liquid cooling), when David Hill of Carbon Legacy pointed out something important, which I recognise as a very good anti theft rule.
   When you have a PV roof fitted, the serial numbers of the panels are registered with OfGem, and that set of numbers is what you use for your Feed in Tariff payments. If those panels turn up elsewhere and someone tries to register them again, they will be flagged up, thus identifying where they got to, and from that, who stole them. The only possible use for second hand panels is for off grid installations. They could not be used for claiming on the Feed in Tariffs. The person buying them would know that they were dodgy and would want to know why.
   For special circumstances, such as you move house and the buyer of the old one doesn't want them, or you have had to replace your panels after a number of years, you would have to make a special case to OfGem to re-register them and re-register at the new location, by the original owner or the executor of the original owner.
   I am quite encouraged by this. It means that if you go on holiday, you feel more confident that your panels are safe, and I am sure that if there are such things as 'panel thieves', they have found this out too. There is more to be made by draining tanks of oil etc. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Happy hipped PV roof

23 Oct 2011: Robert C of West Bridgford had an estimation from Rushcliffe Solar in July 2010, and has written to say that he has now completed his first full year with PV on the roof, installed by MG Renewables. It's a good example of making the best of what you have, when you are stuck with a typical West Bridgford hipped roof. The ten panels here are enough to be viable (for payback purposes) and will earn their keep nicely.
  During December of 2010, it was a little discouraging, but a thin coating of snow still has some transparency to sunlight and continues to generate a small amount - the worst days are ones with very heavy dark grey cloud, which can produce less than a sunny winter day with snow!

Robert writes:  "Very few people spread the word about the benefits of PV more than I do. We had our 10 x 180Watt Amerisolar panels installed last October by MG Renewables.
   We now have a complete year's records. I was not taking meter readings daily at first but have been doing so for the last 8 or 9 months. Over the year from 07 October 10 to 07 October 11 we generated 1,710.3 kWh. We see it as a very good financial investment as well as helping to reduce CO2 emissions. The PV has also helped our electricity bill to reduce.
   I am a mechanical services design engineer and work for Nottinghamshire County Council. We install quite a lot of PV on new school buildings. Also, if all goes to plan, the new extension to West Bridgford Library will have about 100m2 on its roof."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

PV on Yorkshire hillside

22 Oct 2011: DNC writes: My sister in law and her partner live in Yorkshire, and have been inspired to go as Eco as possible. They have both PV and solar-thermal panels, and they are off both the water and the drainage grids.
 Having a house which is historic, they couldn't consider panels on the roof, but they have a superb south facing hillside immediately behind the house. Paul is a scientist, so the technicalities of planting concrete feet on the hill, getting them perfectly planar, and working out the wiring back to the house are not a challenge.
The final 3.15 kW array is very clean, totally unshaded. It is safe against wind uplift, and is nearly invisible from the road. It maximises PV capture in summer months.

Paul writes: 
   "The concrete was reinforced with steel and had threaded studs set at the top. Our PV installers (Ecoheat) provided the dimensioned drawing.
   "We had our local builders dig the holes and pour the concrete (they needed bits of shuttering at the top where the concrete sticks up above the ground. They had to ensure that they lined up horizontally and vertically, so as to take the support frame. We left the ground underneath as it was, the grass has mainly died away.
   "A galvanised steel unistrut frame was fitted to the concrete supports (as shown in the photos). To this was fitted a Schuco PV Light mounting system for the actual PV panels (18 x BP 4175T). Two buried armoured cables take the DC current from the panels (above and behind the house) to the inverter (a Sunny Boy 1100), which is fitted in a weather proof enclosure mounted on the upper rear wall of the house. Another armoured cable takes the AC current from the inverter into the loft and down into our airing cupboard, where there is a sub-board for the mains connection."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Radcliffe Superhome!

20 October 2011: Michael Bedford of Radcliffe has just had his house added to the Superhomes website, which is for retrofit to older homes, using energy saving methods or technology. See:
http://www.superhomes.org.uk/superhomes/nottingham-johns-road
Somehow, I guess that this is one house that will be warm this winter, however bad the weather gets!
This is about the most comprehensive retrofit that anybody could do. Here's a list of the main features:

  • 60mm Phenolic foam external insulation 
  • 20mm Spacetherm (Aerogel) + Fermaboard panels internal insulation 
  • 120mm Celotex floor insulation and 250mm Celotex loft insulation 
  • TITON MVHR system 
  • Hi-performance ALPHA gas boiler 
  • 2.4 SqM solar thermal panel 
  • 10x245W Photovoltaic panels  2.45 KWp 
  • Low energy lighting throughout 
  • Low energy appliances

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Radcliffe PV

20 October 2011: I was sent this photo of David and Joan S's roof in Radcliffe. For them, we did a roof study in August 2010, and they got the PV installed in December 2010, just in time for the 2011 springtime, one of the sunniest ever!


Joan writes: "We had 16 panels installed by TeamUK Renewables (Roy Redhead) last December and were very satisfied with the service we received and the quarterly cheques received. We recommended Roy to friends and neighbours and at least two families had panels installed."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hawthorne avoids tree shadow

20 Oct 2011: This photo sent to me by Donald Hawthorne in Ruddington (RS and Carbon Legacy client) shows a pretty well perfect roof, with 16 panels - but there is a problem with some tall trees to the South, that are too nice to shorten. The whole array has been carefully shifted sideways to mitigate the effect of the shadow. This photo taken in October, neatly shows the outline of shadows.
Donald writes: "My 3.86kW installation was done by Carbon Legacy of East Leake. It is just over one year old and my rate of return was 11.3% for the year including a 40% reduction in electricity bought from E-On."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Power House in Woking

18 Oct 2011: One of the houses that Rushcliffe Solar did a quick survey for was in Woking, because Neil, the owner, is a friend of my (DNC's) son. We did a survey in January 2011. His house is small but with a perfect SSE orientation. The family were selling off a surplus car and decided to invest the funds in a PV roof. Neil did a lot of research on panels and went for ones with dark frames - he likes his PV roof to be as cool as his cars! (too much chrome always did make a car look gaudy! Too much aluminium for PV does the same....). He is interested in high performance too, so these panels are 245W ones with an interesting hybrid texture.

    A PV roof becomes a sort of hobby, and one that earns too. He has written it up in a detailed Blog entry. http://mukerji.co.uk/category/solar-technology/  In swapping his car for a roof, Neil doesn't have crippling servicing and insurance charges to face, annually.

    I have a friend in Nottingham who runs a Porsche, and who lectures on Carbon Zero design and tells me that I am not 'carbon zero' until my PV generates enough to cover cooking, lighting, TV, lawn mowing, and everything else - pah! Try telling me how his 'payback' works on a Porsche with 3,000 pound annual servicing charges!
    Back to Neil. His roof had a vigorous moss-growth on the SE slope and he took a power washer to it before covering up with panels. That's a good lesson because once they are on, you can't do further external maintenance for 25 years!

     Thankyou to Neil for providing such detailed photos and info on the PV installation and may you have many good summers with it!

In an email to me, Neil writes: "I'm very happy with it to date. It has been interesting to study the annual setting of the sun - during the unusually sunny period at the beginning of this month I noticed the peak output decline from 2.5 to 2.2 kW - yet in early September I'd seen 3.7kW (just over the theoretical maximum output of 3.6kW). Since the installation on the 23rd August we've generated 615kWh to date = we just need to get through winter to really see what we can do! I have indeed kept daily low/normal/generated meter readings - the obsession has commenced!"

Monday, October 17, 2011

Flat roof solution

17 Oct 2011: One of the Rushcliffe Solar requesters, David Flinn, has sent me this photo of his installation.
  It's interesting, being on a flat roof without racking. Some installers will try to tilt the panels 15ยบ to the south on racking. That's an expensive solution, but has two main advantages : reducing the penetrations of the roof to a minimum and getting about 10% more power annually. Advantage of this layout is that they don't shade each other, the space between is a narrow maintenance walkspace.
    This one has each group of panels with their own watertight connections through to the roof structure. Very neat. I think there's a very small tilt to the south to roll water off. It's easy to clean occasionally, as the roof is on a single storey extension - and this is needed because rainwater will not self-clean flat panels.
Remember, that if you have panels and clean them yourself, use only the softest cloths, because you do not want to scratch the hydrophobic coating - the one that helps water and dirt to roll off.
  Nice vegetated wall!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gedling reaches for the Sun!

11 Oct 2011: There's a report in the Nottingham Evening Post that is uplifting! Back in the Summer, DNC and Arash of Rushcliffe Solar did a report for Gedling Borough Council on the potential for PV in the borough - using community and leisure and depot buildings. We were a bit worried that it might go the way of the Rushcliffe proposal, into the long grass. But clearly, there are braver and nobler souls in Gedling, and the borough council have agreed to go ahead with some installations.
  The Borough Council have agreed to embark on £430,000 worth of investment in Photovoltaic panels on the roofs of depot and civic buildings, leading to an income for the borough for the next 25 years, and demonstrating their commitment to energy saving. They hope to get it done by March 2012, in time before there is a risk of the Coalition govt from changing the tariff for large installations. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

PV Photo competition

7 Oct 2011: EvoEnergy have recently run a photo competition, inviting guests to send in photos - these were judged by a professional photographer, for quality of set up, light, story-line etc. The one that came first looks highly like Jensen Button's dad (with a very neat array of 22 panels). Second was a cute kid plugging his dad's electric car in for recharging. Third was an interesting photo of an array on its own framework on a very rural location in a mountainous location.
   Even if you couldn't take part, have a look anyway. I'm terribly sorry that I missed the deadline and didn't send in a picture of my house (writes DNC), although I don't think I would have done one as good as the prizewinners.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Totally Local at Melton Rd

1 Oct 2011: On the hottest October day in weather history, Rushcliffe Solar was at the Totally Locally event on Melton Rd.
     Although the main Saturday action in WB is on Central Avenue, the shopkeepers of Melton Rd are working hard to make another area of action, and the event was well supported by a lot of local residents, not all of whom were from the immediate locality - people had heard the publicity and come in from further afield.
    With plenty of parking and a good variety of shops, there is no reason not to visit the Melton Rd shops more often (and thank you to Signature (boutique, steakhouse and coffee bar) for the coffees, presented with delicious little cakes)

September PV maximum days

2 Oct 2011: The heat wave at the end of September produced 3 successive PV-Maximum days in a row. As it is after the Equinox, these averaged 13.5 kWh only per day on my east facing 4KW array, but it is still nice to have them. The lower daily harvest is due to lower sun angles and short hours of daylight. It's distressing how quickly it gets dark in the early evenings!
    It says something about the summer we have had (a lot of cloudy bright conditions) that that last day that PV was close to a maximum was 14th June, and previous to that it was May 1st and 2nd! For those who installed in early 2011, the good news is that 2011 has so far been sunnier than 2010, July and September being notably better.
DNC (feel free to comment or reply)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Solar farm over disused mine

30 Sept 2011: This story is cheering, although it makes me sad, reminding me of the decision by RBC recently not to do any solar installations on any RBC buildings, not even a tiny house sized pilot project.
http://www.ecogeek.org/solar-power/3605-germany-covers-old-pit-mine-with-worlds-largest-so
In the district of Senftenberg, East Germany, an old mine with contaminated land has been made useful by being turned into a 78 megawatt solar farm. This has just been extended and is now increased to a total of 166 megawatts!
  Looking at Senftenberg on Googlemaps, it's notable how grim the landscape was when the former regime just allowed mines to expand and pollute. These vastly exceed the size of the town. There are also many lakes, some of which resemble flooded quarries or gravel pits. Some of this land would be very difficult to return to food growing because of the contamination, so a conversion to solar power station is a good and environmentally friendly use.
   We don't have areas quite as bad as this in Rushcliffe, although there are parts of Cotgrave country park (ex-mine) that are still closed off to the public. That area would be a good one for an outdoor solar farm.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Solar Greenhouse

29 Sept 2011: Here is an inspiring story, although it comes from the Daily Telegraph..... Solar panels as the roof of a self built greenhouse.
 ....Seems that Dave and Kate Evans have found a good way to cope, even if the roof of their house was covered in dormers and in a conservation area - put it on the Greenhouse!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Contribute to Solar Schools

28 Sept 2011: There is a new initiative, Solar Schools, to encourage parents and supporters to help fund Photovoltaic solar panels on Schools. There are many schools in Rushcliffe, some recently built, with large areas of flat or monopitch roof. You could add your children's school to the scheme, and attract contributions from all over the UK. See more details at: http://www.solarschools.org.uk/ .
Five Pounds from enough people will make enough to get started, and I am sure it will snowball as some schools get closer to their target. This will be good for education and the environment, but will also earn funds for the school through the Feed in Tariff.
It's a combined initiative from 10:10, Mumsnet, the Gulbenkian Foundation and Reading Council, although the scheme is national.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Solar panels in historic locations

26 Sept 2011: DNC writes: Whilst on my holiday in Northern Italy I was pleased to see quite a lot of PV panels. The region is an advanced part of Europe (compared with the South), but they have frequent and very inconvenient 'brown-outs' due to being somewhat reliant on long distance electricity transmission from Switzerland and France. I saw a number of solar farms, and factories with PV on the roofs, although nothing like as many as in Germany.
    This example, in a small town somewhere between Piacenza and Bergamo shows how the imperative to capture solar energy needs to overcome petty reservations such as the proximity to historic buildings. Italy is full of historic buildings, but modern life must go on. PV is becoming part of the visual pattern of urban and rural life, and we almost cease to notice them - like lamp posts, overhead wires, lightning conductors, TV aerials, satellite dishes, kerbs and road signs. These enable cities to function, but preserve the essentials - the buildings survive, and the people in them prosper.
A few hundred metres from that example was this one of PV on a curved roof. You can see from this, that it is easily incorporated, and becomes almost un-noticeable if it is well integrated.
This photo disappoints me. I went to the 87 metre high viewpoint from the 'Mole Antoniella', the tallest building at the centre of Torino (the great city in the northwest), and I looked North. These are the ONLY PV panels I saw in the entire panorama. So although they may be frequent in towns and rural areas, it seems that the City is lagging behind. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Solar farms

25 September 2011: I have just returned from a holiday in Northern Italy. I noticed a number of solar farms, and stopped to photograph this one.
  Each of these freestanding systems have 48 panels on them, yielding, I estimate about 10-11 kW each. The arrays are able to swivel to face the Sun, and they can also Tilt, based on the time of year and the clock setting.
  Although, in this photo, they are shading each other at sunrise and sunset (this is almost always the problem with all installations), the mechanisms ensure that for the majority of the day, the units can work at optimum generating capacity, benefitting from the clearer skies and the higher sun angles of Northern Italy. This will mean that the 'bell curve' of generation will pick up rapidly in the morning, and have a flat top throughout the day. Even on cloudy days, like the one in the photograph, an optimum angle means that the panel will still pick up a decent amount of power from the bright sky, by pointing in the brightest direction.
  The number of these was uncountable. They stretched far into the distance, in 3 directions from where I was standing. Many hundreds.
  There must be very little vandalism in Italy. Many of these solar farms are on the edge of the road with no fences or boundaries of the sort we see around the mobile phone masts on Wilford Hill. They wouldn't last a week here with the risks of vandalism, if they were unfenced. But if installed on safe land, these represent a very determined approach to power generation, that will deliver renewable power in sufficiently substantial quantities to support large communities. 

Rushcliffe residents leading in the East Midlands

25 Sept 2011: I note, with a pleasurable sense of achievement, that a recent survey shows that Rushcliffe borough has the second highest installations of PV in the entire East Midlands, as at June 30 of this year.
      We are beaten only by Bassetlaw (Bolsover) where there has probably been a strong council initiative to do their own buildings. the Website to find this on is:
http://www.aeat.com/microgenerationindex/ In Rushcliffe, it has been achieved entirely by householders and small businesses, as RBC have not yet PV'd any of their own buildings.

The people of Rushcliffe are producing 0.33 percent of the entire micro generation of the UK, and most of that is PV (there is a tiny bit of Wind somewhere in the borough). Many boroughs are producing a mere 0.04% or 0.08%, less than a quarter of Rushcliffe. This makes me wonder how disconnected they can be from even the simplest of arguments about energy shortage or about the financial benefits of the feed in tariff.

So! we all all doing something right. I know that Rushcliffe Solar have sent out hundreds of reports in reply to individual requests on our site or to email.
     Within 100m of my house there are a three of other houses done now (thanks to RS efforts). These installations have been done mostly by the sponsor installers of our campaign. Rushcliffe Solar have played a part in energising the awareness, and removing the fear.
    Sheila Hood (of Rushcliffe BC) and Tina Holt (of Transition West Bridgford) regularly invite me (DNC, the author of this piece) to take part in Greening meetings and other green festival events that will promote PV.
    I am totally convinced that it is a good idea, not only as a financial equation for the customer, but as an ethical decision, to reduce coal-burning in major power stations.

Our Solar Future

Illustrated is Alan Simpson, past MP for Nottingham
South who is mainly responsible for
campaigning cross party on the Feed in Tariff
system.
25 Sept 2011: Sorry for not posting this earlier: there is a real need for the public to take part in persuading the Coalition government that Solar Power is important to our future energy balance, and that the Feed In Tariff should not be watered down or diminished just because it originated in 2009, before the election. It was an all party policy, and one that is working.
http://www.oursolarfuture.org.uk/
Unless we maintain some momentum, nuclear will return to the agenda. This would be a sad irony seeing that the most successful developed economy in the world, Germany, now has enough renewable energy to foresee cutting all its nuclear power in about 20 years.
  Don't let climate change deniers or politicians and journalists who back the old energy corporates win here. When the oil runs out, the main thing we have is what we have always had - the Sun!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rushcliffe Climate Change policy


14 Sept 2011: I see that Rushcliffe BC are running a brief consultation process, but you have to be quick, I gather that comments have to be in by 19th Sept. 
Actually, it seems that all the Local Authorities in Nottinghamshire have agreed to issue identical policies, except Erewash BC who seem to be applying slightly tougher standards or sooner targets for achieving certain standards (good for them).
   It's good to see that the authorities all agree and are avoiding some US-style split on doctrinaire grounds where it becomes obligatory to deny climate change if you want to continue in the party.
   I quickly scanned the document and can't find anything to disagree with, they seem to be intending to continue on target to meet 2016 standards etc.

Rushcliffe fell at the sustainable hurdle....
   Having said that, it is a pity that a proposal was discussed in the Rushcliffe cabinet last week to instal PV on some of the RBC buildings, and eventually the whole proposal was turned down without so much as agreeing to a single pilot project. (click the link to read the Evening Post story). They considered it Solely on Payback considerations, without once valuing the benefit of producing clean electricity without burning coal and emitting carbon.

Why mention this here?
The personal angle on this is that Rushcliffe Solar did the powerpoint illustrated report for RBC outlining the costs and returns, and showing how the panels might fit and look on the buildings. I gather from a witness that the powerpoint was not shown, that a civil servant had converted it into a dry document listing the financial equations without mentioning the qualitative aspects :(

Tips for PV buyers + Survey

13 Sept 2011: The Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd have issued guidelines for future PV buyers, with helpful tips. The document is a 2 page PDF, 'Dont get taken for a ride'.
If you have already had a PV installation done, the organisation Consumer Focus are finding out how people found the experience. You can fill out a survey, before 27th September on your satisfaction with the service and quality of information.
http://www.rsconsulting.com/consumerfocus

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rushcliffe Solar Live Surgery

On Monday 12th Sept, 7.30pm, at Belle and Jerome, upstairs bar, we have arranged a special meeting on PV - an improvisation session! B&J are in Central Avenue, opposite Boots.  Tina Holt (of WB Ecohouses) has persuaded me (DNC) to do this.
    The idea is for me to turn up with a computer and ArchiCAD and using the internet access, to look at people's houses, there and then, using mapping sites and B&J's wonderful WiFi network. Using ArchiCAD, I can design a layout for your roof, trying out the different options, and discussing it as we go. We will have a projector or a display screen. All you need to do is to come along and shout out your postal code, and let's try it. Enjoy the excellent coffee, tea, tapas and cakes of Belle and Jerome as we enjoy our evening!
    Don't worry if you have no intention of doing the installation, this is for the experience of seeing how a design is done. You might even decide that it is worth doing!

13 Sept 2011: Postscript: We had about 15 people at the event. David started with about 15-20 mins of introduction, then there were questions and some demonstrations of how we do a first stage of assessment of a roof for PV. The images come from Googlemaps, Live.com and DigiMap and Streetview, and David uses ArchiCAD to rescale these. He has a handy tool for overlaying panels onto the aerial photos. Later, the group split into two, one to continue investigating roofs using postal codes and the other to consider forming a consortium of buyers to see if a good volume deal could be obtained from the installers.

Rushcliffe BC get help from RS!

6 Sept 2011: Earlier this year, Rushcliffe Solar were asked to do a Photovoltaic study for Rushcliffe BC, considering about 20 buildings initially, and assessing their potential for PV. This was whittled down to about 16 "good'uns" and for these we worked out an approximate cost, and summary of the Plans A, B, C possible for each of the buildings. Some of them are big enough to be a solar power station (eg large leisure centres) and some are small but of educational value, such as small community centres.
     This article is in the Nottingham Evening Post Monday Sept 5, 2011:
"Cabinet members will discuss proposals which could initially see solar panels installed at six council-owned buildings. If approved, the panels could be installed on buildings including West Park cricket pavilion, Gresham sports pavilion and the education centre at Rushcliffe Country Park. Charlotte McGraw, head of community shaping at the council, said the scheme would help the council be more environmentally-friendly." 
and a lot more detail after that. See the link below.

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/Ray-hope-pound-1-35m-solar-panel-scheme-buildings/story-13268536-detail/story.html
Rushcliffe Solar have done a similar report for Gedling BC, and hope that Gedling will also be stimulated by it. Many thanks to the Sustainability team of Rushcliffe BC for commissioning this report.
  The government have relaxed the rules on Feed in Tariff earnings, allowing the District Councils to earn money from installations - so it's a good investment for the Ratepayer!

POSTSCRIPT: Sad news, the Conservative group on RBC turned down the idea of PV in the borough, not even prepared to take a punt at a single pilot project. Said it was an 'untested technology', said that we could not trust governments to maintain the payments for the 25 yrs, and said they wanted a return of 5 years (20%), and thought that by waiting, prices would come down.  Hah! wrong on all counts.
 Perhaps the Evening Post will report on it in a few days with some sort of explanation :( 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Solar panels the wrong way!

1st Sept 2011: this photograph from Flickr by Jim Easterbrook shows how NOT to do it!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim_easterbrook/5937685450/


Frankly, I am rather amazed.
Surely, the house owner, who must be a bit of a green technology geek should have made his own judgement that the arrangement in the photo would be 'dodgy' in the extreme.
He seems to be 'green' in more ways than one - allowing himself to be ripped off so very publicly.
  Vertical panels are just about OK on a south facing facade on a high rise, but on a house that is shaded, No Way!


 PS, Jim has sent me a follow up comment to report that the two panels between the chimneys are also PV, not solar thermal as I first thought. With PV, if just one of the panels is shaded, the entire string will not work correctly. Even the shadow from a TV aerial will affect the electrical capture!
This one above I found on a Twitter feed, thanks to Peter Searancke of  for finding it for me. The trick here is that you, dear reader, gullibly assume that the installation is part-shaded by the chimney through most of the day.... Hahaha.... Not a bit of it!
Get this! The panels are all on the north slope, so the chimney is not shading the installation, the entire house is doing that!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

China adopts Feed in Tariff

4 Aug 2011: News from China is that they are adopting the Feed in Tariff that has been such a success in Europe. Home generators will get 11p per unit (but I don't know what the purchase price of electricity is in China) .
  China is already the largest manufacturer of PV panels, but this will have an effect on the world market as they will also become one of the largest customers. I think this will be good for us in the end, as the level of production is likely to rise to meet the demand, and this should bring the unit price down.
http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2098838/china-heats-solar-market-feed-tariff 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Energy prices up? You benefit!

8th July 2011: Sitting in my room watching the Hail falling on West Bridgford, I am listening to the news. One of the items pushing the Murdoch Phone Hacking off the lead news stories is that of the rising of Gas and Electricity prices to be brought in, in August by Centrica. See the BBC News story. Prices are likely to rise by 16-19% on both main fuels.
Energy companies are competitive so if one announces it, the others are likely to follow (more quietly).
   If you have a Solar PV roof, you have the comfort of having a source of electricity, that is free, for significant portion of your consumption. Secondly, you will find the Feed in Tariff increasing in line with inflation, so your payments will increase next year.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Restarting Rushcliffe Solar

6 July 2011: Rushcliffe Solar has been very quiet the last few months.
   This is a pity as the summer has been charging along and we have passed the summer solstice. David N-Cole (project leader) has a very busy job at the University of Nottingham, and his trusty colleagues of last year, Rain Luo and James Rixon were final year students (6th year in Architecture) and had to focus totally on their final design projects. Both of them have now moved to London.
  As of today, I (DNC) have started working through the backlog of enquiries, and have trained one of my Masters course alumni, Arash Soleimani in how to process solar PV panel layouts and reply to enquirers. (He is also applying for architectural jobs in London, but will help me until then.)
  So you are likely to see more of Rushcliffe Solar in Central Avenue on Saturdays, and at other green events in the district.

Monday, June 20, 2011

New York borrows Rushcliffe Solar idea?

.... but does it better! 
20 June 2011: City University of New York and the Dept of energy have worked on a map of New York using the Lidar laser system to analyse roofs, found that if roofs suitable for fitting PV panels were fitted, the city's rooftops could double the entire USA's current solar capacity, and would be enough to power half the city at peak time. Read more about this in Ecogeek website and in the New York Times.
  This is similar to a survey we did last summer, but we have yet to do more work on this, and certainly didn't have a Lidar laser system.
  66.4% of the city's roofs would be suitable, and could generate 5,847 megawatts of energy from the hundreds of thousands of suitable buildings. Currently, in the city now there are only about 6.6 megawatts of solar energy installed.
  You can take this further and see a version of the Googlemap with suitable locations marked on. This is an idea to pursue further. Does anyone know how to overlay custom information onto Googlemaps?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

5 Reasons to love the Solar industry

http://cleantechnica.com/2011/06/17/5-reasons-i-love-the-solar-panel-industry/
This is a good read.... written by Kriss Bergethon of Colorado.
  • the People... 
  • the Purpose.... 
  • the Science.... 
  • the Technology..... 
  • the Future!

World Solar Day June 18

18 June.... well in the Northern Hemisphere anyway. http://www.solarday.com/ See the page to read more about the mission of Solar Day. (it is 18 November in the Southern Hemisphere)

Face it....
• we have perhaps 50 yrs of declining oil and gas....
• if it wasnt for the smoky emission and the destruction of open cast mining we also have a lot of coal remaining below - enough for perhaps a couple of hundred years...
• but shouldn't we consider that the life of the Sun is measured in billions of years? Enough sunshine lands on the earth every day to cover our entire needs many times over if only we can develop the technology to capture and distribute it.

All energy sources cost something to exploit, I would prefer to see the money spent on a field full of Solar panels than a field converted into an open cast coal mine.
   Coming back to our own houses, what can we do? The upfront cost of a 4 kW PV array is only a fraction of the value of the house it goes onto, but will give a lifetime of cheap energy without emitting carbon, and an income for the first 25 years at least, more than enough to pay off the first cost.
   If the German government can project that the growth of renewable energy may be enough to decommission their nuclear power stations in 20 years, then that's an encouragement to us to try harder!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Suntech headquarters - largest PV in the world

31 May 2011: BBC2 Newsnight carried a feature about green technology in China, and showed the headquarters of the Suntech company - only ten yrs old, but one of the largest manufacturers in the world. Their HQ building is amazing, including the largest building integrated solar panel in the work, capable of generating over a million kilowatt hours of power annually. The entire south wall is an array of panels, but they are fixed to clear glass, so there is plenty of dappled daylight entering the building behind.
See the movie on their website about their HQ building.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cleaning your Solar Panels




12 April '11: Karina Wells writes: Brian comes to the rescue!

I have been trying to find someone who could wash and clean my solar panels but to no avail.
Then yesterday it struck me that we have a steeple jack in our skills exchange group. I asked him if he would be willing to give it a go. Armed with very long ladders, a HA-RA window washer and cleaning product (all totally Eco friendly) he set off to tackle a job no one else wanted to do.

Within an hour the job was done and the sun could shine again. The dirt that came off it was amazing and the difference between the panels washed and those that were not made me realize how important it was to do. Thank you so much Brian you have now got another string to your bow.

Probably the best PV solar panel cleaner in town!

To contact Brian call him on 07974550118
or email : coopez@hotmail.co.uk

PS, DNC writes: Some of them he did from a ladder, and some from the Velux Rooflight in the loft. Don't try this yourself unless very very confident at heights, and well equipped and insured.

PPS, DNC writes: It has been pointed out by one of the commenters below that most PV panels have a delicate coating, and anything abrasive in the brush or the water or detergent could be harmful to the hydrophobic surface finish on the panels. Google for 'Lotus Effect' to see how the very best panels throw off both water and dirt. As my Sharp panels are still clean after two years of exposure, I have assumed that the surface is working!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gedling Solar farm proposal

9 Mar '11: I just picked this up from the Nottingham Evening Post pages:

"Plans for 'sunshine farm' on former Gedling Colliery site
By Winnie Agbonlahor

"RESIDENTS are having their say on plans for an £11 million state-of-the-art "sunshine farm" on the former Gedling Colliery site."
"The project would produce energy for up to 1,300 homes in the surrounding area, as well as creating jobs."
"A public consultation is being held on the proposals for the solar farm, which would cover around 30 acres of the 350 acres site."

Click on the link to read more detail. Well done Gedling!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Discussion about getting PV for free

31 Jan '11: Will Vooght of Good Energy has written an article on the pros and cons of having PV fitted for free on your roof. This is only likely to be possible if you have a very clean unshaded roof. If you do, and you lack the capital to have it done at your own cost, then this is still a good idea. You will still enjoy a saving in annual electrical bill, will be able to have no worries about maintenance, and will have the comfort of knowing that the installation takes you closer to Carbon Zero, even if the installer company takes most of the Tariff. Your house isn't as big as Ratcliffe power station, but if a thousand houses have PV installations, the effect begins to be quantifiable, as has been happening in Germany where the impact of PV on nice days reduces the power consumption of the conventional electrical producers.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Farmers do not miss a summer!

17 Jan '11: It is somewhat typical of the human condition that people only think strongly about PV in the summer, because the Sun 'reminds them' . Yet if they decide to instal, the autumn and winter are coming, and they will have to wait a year until they get a really good harvest. 
  Now! before April 1st, the start of the FIT summer semester, is the time to be installing! Farmers do not let a summer go by, and neither should you!
   For the writer's house, the income last year in the April 1 to October 1 semester was about £1100. For the Autumn- Winter- Spring semester, it will be about £320. So there is an advantage to getting your installation in before April 1st.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Largest roof PV in Germany

Interesting article about a very large warehouse PV development
http://www.icb.uk.com/news/613/
"It is Germany's largest ever photovoltaic project, enabling just one warehouse to generate enough power to supply the annual needs of 250 households - and it could set the pattern for similar projects across the UK
 Located in Konz on the roof of the central warehouse of Parts Europe GmbH, a wholesale distributor of motorcycle parts and accessories to countries throughout Europe, the system provides an output of 1.02 Megawatt (MW)"
There are many large warehouses and leisure centres and retail centres in the UK, with enormous portal frame structures and nearly flat roofs, and would make ideal sites as PV based powerstations.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sherwood church joining in PV generation

5 Jan '11: Nottingham Evening Post reports that Sherwood is now getting tuned in to Photovoltaic power generation.  See the article.
To Quote a clip from the article:
'Sherwood Methodist Church has also become solar powered, and hopes other people will follow its example.
'Rev Paul Worsnop said: "As Christians we believe God has given us the job of looking after His creation. However, we have made a pretty lousy job of it, and we want to do our bit to improve that and show we can do a better job for future generations. It is a very prominent site. Everybody can see it and we wanted to make a statement that we as a church think this sort of thing is important and we want to encourage people to do the same."
'Earlier this year the church received Eco-Congregation accreditation for its efforts to be greener.'

Location - check your location