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, 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."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Concentrated PV efficiency

19 Feb 2012: Hope for those with small roofs is on the way - Concentrated PV (CPV). These Semprius panels are based on Gallium arsenide not Silicon, and each cell is a tiny unit that has a lens in front of it to concentrate solar rays. The tiny units are only 0.1% of the surface area, the lenses bring the light down to them. They are claimed to achieve 30.9% efficiency compared with the 8-15% that we are used to from the current generation of panels. See also the Semprius website. This isn't a far off technology in a lab, these will be coming onto the market, and the commercial production starts in late 2012.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Update from DECC and EST on the FIT

14 Feb 2012: Oh dear, so many acronyms!! But the DECC (Department of Energy and Climate Change), have lost Chris Huhne, but at least they have made their minds up over the Feed in Tariff.

  Heres a page on the Energy Saving Trust that summarises and explains the updates. The less digestible reading from the DECC is here. It is still worth doing PV, and a very good investment, but you should plan on the expectation of the 21p rate, and the 'better than very good' 43pence rate may be short lived unless you installed before December 12th of last year.

This EPC would require some work to improve it
but I gather that the proposed PV is part of the
calculation, so this 'F' rated house could be level 'C' with
added Insulation and the Photovoltaic.
     The good news is that the link to Insulation is less severe, now that they have settled on an insulation level of 'D'. The previous idea that it should be based on an Energy Performance rating for the house of 'C' was enough to kill the scheme altogether - it is estimated that only 9% of the country's houses would be eligible, and if ten percent of those house holders decided on PV, that would be less than one percent - that would make the UK impossible to catch up with Germany on renewables, would end the solar industry, continue our high carbon emissions, and guaranteed the future of only one industry, the giant nuclear power stations of the big generators.
  Insulation is incredibly important, but it's completely wrong to force them to be linked. They are both important but different.

Location - check your location