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Climate change: UK government to commit to 2050 target

Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, under the terms of a new government plan to tackle climate change.

Prime Minister Theresa May said there was a “moral duty to leave this world in a better condition than what we inherited”. Cutting emissions would benefit public health and cut NHS costs, she said.

Britain is the first major nation to propose this target – and it has been widely praised by green groups. But some say the phase-out is too late to protect the climate, and others fear that the task is impossible.

The UK already has a 2050 target – to reduce emissions by 80%. That was agreed by MPs under the Climate Change Act in 2008, but will now be amended to the new, much tougher, goal. The actual terminology used by the government is “net zero” greenhouse gases by 2050.

That means emissions from homes, transport, farming and industry will have to be avoided completely or – in the most difficult examples – offset by planting trees or sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Smart Export Guarantee: Date set as home solar policy details emerge

The Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) will ensure small-scale electricity generators installing solar, wind or other forms of renewable generation with a capacity up to 5MW will be paid for each unit of electricity they sell to the grid – tracked by their smart meter.

Today, the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) revealed that suppliers must implement the SEG before 1 January 2020.

The SEG requires any licensed supplier with over 150,000 domestic customers to provide at least one export tariff, a difference to the original proposal of suppliers with over 250,000 domestic customers. Smaller suppliers can take part on a voluntary basis but will be held to the same operational requirements as larger suppliers.

The design of the tariff is being left up to the individual supplier, which BEIS says is to allow for innovation and quick implementation. However, it is expected that over time tariffs will become increasingly smart.

Already, suppliers E.On and Octopus have provided export tariffs although E.On’s offering is limited to the first 500 customers and lasts only for a year. Octopus is currently offering two tariffs; a flat rate offering 5.5p per kWh of exported electricity and a variable rate dubbed Agile Octopus.

Chief Executive of Octopus Energy, Greg Jackson, said:

“These smart export tariffs are game changing when it comes to harnessing the power of citizens to tackle climate change. They mean homes and businesses can be paid for producing clean electricity just like traditional generators, replacing old dirty power stations and pumping more renewable energy into the grid. This will help bring down prices for everyone as we use cheaper power generated locally by our neighbours.”

The previous Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) scheme closed to new entrants from 31 March 2019, following consultations in 2015 and 2018, to reduce the costs to consumers as the price of installing solar panels came down.

Britain in two-week coal-free record

Britain has not used coal to generate electricity for two weeks – the longest period since the 1880s.

The body which manages the way electricity is generated said coal was last used at 15:12 on 17 May. Fintan Slye, director of the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO), said the British record for solar power had also been broken this month.

Britain broke the record for a week of no coal earlier this month, which Mr Slye said would be a “new normal”, “as more and more renewables come onto the system, we’re seeing things progress at an astonishing rate.”

The government plans to phase out the UK’s last coal-fired plants by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions and Mr Slye said there was “still a lot of work to do”. The world’s first centralised public coal-fired generator opened in 1882 at Holborn Viaduct in London.

Solar PV Could Dominate World Energy Generation by 2050

A global carbon neutral electricity system can be achieved by 2050. A 4-year study which tackled finding the most effective way to reach the internationally adopted 1.5°C Paris Climate Treaty by 2050, says that a transition to 100% renewable energy “is not only feasible, but also cheaper than the current global energy system”.

Solar photovoltaic would be the main source of electricity with 69% of electricity production. It’s also worth noting that the report predicts that the majority of energy jobs by 2050 will be in solar PV and battery storage – jobs lost to fossil fuel sectors will be more than compensated by an additional 15million jobs in these renewable sectors. Another interesting point is that the report predicts that a new storage sector will emerge – a trend that can already be seen in small-scale generation, now battery costs are plummeting.

The Smart Export Guarantee Begins!

Octopus Energy leads the pack to offer the first smart export tariff.

An eco‐friendly energy provider, Octopus Energy, has plugged the gap between the end of the FiT and beginning of the proposed SEG. Two tariffs are available – Outgoing Fixed which guarantees 5.5p per kWh for every unit exported. While Outgoing Agile matches half-hourly prices with day-ahead wholesale rates.

Although this is the first official export tariff, E.On Energy have announced a one-year export tariff offer for 500 new customers and Bulb is running a trial for 50 customers, offering a fair payment for the exported power at wholesale electricity prices.

‘Every New Vehicle Will Be Electric’ by 2025, Disruption Expert Says

A Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author has explained how electric vehicles will disrupt and change transportation across the world. But first, Tony Seba — who is an instructor in disruption and clean energy at Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program, explained to an audience at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, exactly what the nature is of a “disruptor.”

“A disruption is when technologies converge and create a new market and helps to destroy or transform an existing industry,” Seba said. As examples, he highlighted what digital cameras did to film or how Uber created the ‘ride-hailing’ market.

“Disruption happens from the outside. Neither Google nor Apple had ever built a phone — now they own that market. And whoever is the incumbent is gone,” Seba said.

To stress how electric vehicles have already become disruptors, Seba said: “Batteries are going down in cost by 20 percent a year. Dyson is investing £2.5 billion to develop an EV by 2020. There are 2,000 moving parts in a combustion engine — an EV has 18, so it’s ten-times cheaper to maintain.”

And he predicted that “by 2025 every new vehicle will be electric.”

Renewable Energy World

British Gas to scrap its standard variable tariff for new customers

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has pledged to scrap its standard variable tariff for new customers next year, replacing it with a one-year tariff with no exit fees – but it so far can’t promise the new deal will be any cheaper.

The energy giant says it will scrap its standard variable tariff (SVT), the expensive default tariff many households are put on, for customers whose fixed price deal ends after 1 April 2018.

Instead, if your fixed price deal ends and you don’t choose to move to another tariff, you’ll be moved to a new default 12-month tariff with no exit fees. Centrica says it’s still in discussions with energy regulator Ofgem over this and so cannot say if the default will be a variable or fixed deal, or whether it will be cheaper than its SVT.

Theresa May promised action last month to end “rip-off energy prices”, proposing a price cap on SVTs and other default tariffs – the expensive plans that customers are moved to when cheaper fixed deals end. Britain’s competition watchdog found that consumers were being overcharged by £1.4bn a year, a figure that Centrica contests.

Stephen Murray, the energy expert at, said Centrica’s move highlighted that change within the industry was “much more effective than a one-size-fits-all price cap, which could have unintended consequences such as many of the best deals disappearing, prices finding a higher level, and a growing market of disengaged customers”.

Household bills are rising more slowly than the rate of inflation, new research has found.

The figures suggested that key elements of the “cost of living squeeze” may be less severe than previously thought.

Research by MoneySavingExpert, based on official data, revealed the rise in the total cost of household bills was less than the inflation rate.

Although the numbers show only a small increase across household running costs as a whole, they also revealed large price hikes for electricity and insurance in particular.

The cost of insurance rose by 7.6% over the year, including a 12% jump in car insurance premiums. Energy bills went up 5.1%, including a 9% increase for electricity. The data was compiled before British Gas announced a 12.5% price hike on 1 August.

British Gas to raise electricity prices

British Gas will increase electricity prices by 12.5% from 15 September, its owner Centrica has said, in a move that will affect 3.1 million customers.

Gas prices are unchanged, but the average annual dual-fuel bill for a typical household on a standard tariff will rise by £76 to £1,120, up by 7.3%.

Centrica said the rise was a result of transmission and distribution costs and the costs of government policy.

But the government said its policy costs “could not explain” the rises.

Centrica said the price increase was its first since November 2013, adding that British Gas was one of the last suppliers to raise prices.

Consumers in the UK could save billions

Consumers in the UK could save billions of pounds thanks to major changes in the way electricity is made, used and stored, the government has said.

New rules will make it easier for people to generate their own power with solar panels, store it in batteries and sell it to the National Grid.

If they work, consumers will save £17bn to £40bn by 2050, according to the government and energy regulator Ofgem.

The rules are due to come into effect over the next year.

They will reduce costs for someone who allows their washing machine to be turned on by the internet to maximise use of cheap solar power on a sunny afternoon.

Local school 20% up on solar production


Copthill SchoolRedmile Energy completed installation of a solar PV system for Copthill School in Feb 2015, and in the past year they have generated 20% more power than was predicted, despite the gloomy weather conditions over the last winter. Find out how your school, business or home could benefit from a solar PV installation by Redmile Energy – contact us to find out more.

Shell opens its first UK hydrogen refuelling station

Image: ITM Power/Shell

Shell has announced the launch of its first hydrogen refuelling station in the UK, located at its Cobham service station on the M25 and is one of three hydrogen stations Shell plans on opening in the UK this year and a network of 400 sites in various countries by 2023.

Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles convert hydrogen into electricity and produce heat and water when driven, offering an alternative to the conventional internal combustion engine with no emissions and can be driven up to 700 kilometres without refuelling.

Matthew Tipper, Vice President, Future Fuels at Shell said: “Hydrogen has the potential to become a clean and versatile transport fuel for the future and the Cobham hydrogen site is one of the ways Shell is encouraging the use of alternative fuels to contribute to the energy transition. This will provide customers with hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles the ability to refuel simply and quickly, at one of the largest petrol stations in the UK.”

A total of 13 energy, transport and industrial companies have joined forces to invest €10.7 (£9.2m) in hydrogen technologies in the next five years.

Solar scams warning

Essex County Council has warned homeowners to be wary of aggressive solar panel salesmen who trick their way into people’s homes and then try to bully them into buying unnecessary products and upgrades such as battery storage systems or replacement inverters which have no significant benefits.  The salesmen often claim falsely to be doing a health check on a solar panel system or to be working with the Micro Generation Certification Scheme (MCS), and that the ‘free’ health check is government funded – also false.

Redmile Energy customer 19% up on performance target after 5 years

Another happy Redmile Energy customer reporting 5 year performance figures well above target thanks to high quality equipment and detailed design and installation of the system.

‘System seems to be working fine and the total units after 5 years is running at 14,320kWh. That is 19% up on target!’

Redmile Energy customer 11% up on performance target

It’s always good to get some feedback from our customers on how their system has been performing. We’ve just received a great update from someone who is getting the most out of their system by maximising the use of ‘spare’ energy that would otherwise get exported.

Our customer said, ‘Happy Birthday to my 4kW domestic Redmile PV system – thanks to the quality components chosen (and the sunshine), the system delivered 11% greater output than predicted and an 11% ROI. It put 900kWh into the hot water tank and an estimated 1300kWh into the electric car taking it around 5000 miles powered completely by the sun’.

DECC proposes to remove RHI support for solar thermal from 2017

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has proposed to remove solar thermal’s eligibility for subsidy support under the renewable heat incentive (RHI) from next year. DECC has been working on proposals to overhaul the RHI since chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement in November, during which he pledged additional funding for the mechanism.

The department has this afternoon given its first insight into what a future RHI could look like, and solar thermal stands to be removed from the mechanism from the 2017 delivery year onwards. DECC’s reasoning behind the proposed cuts is a combination of its status as the “least cost-effective” of the four eligible technologies and purported question marks over its additionality. DECC cited evidence from “around half” of applicants who said they would have installed the technology without the tariff.
Solar thermal installations currently receive a tariff of 19.51p/kWh and represent around 17% of total accreditations.

France to pave 1,000 kilometers of road with solar panels

In a major step forward for green energy, the French government has announced plans to install solar photovoltaic panels on 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of road over the next five years. The goal is to supply renewable power to 5 million people—or about 8 percent of the French population. The solar roadways will use Wattway panels, a photovoltaic technology unveiled last October by the major French civil engineering firm Colas. According to Ségolène Royal, France’s minister of ecology and energy, the “Positive Energy” project will be funded by raising taxes on fossil fuels, a decision Royal says is “natural” given the low prices of oil.

The patented Wattway PV solar road solution has been developed over 5 years by Colas in partnership with the French national solar energy institute INES. Based on crystalline silicon, the panels are very thin yet also sturdy, skid-resistant and designed to last. They are applied directly to the existing road or pavement and can cope with heavy vehicles.

‘Limited role’ for natural gas in UK future energy mix

The use of natural gas for electricity generation in the UK may have to decline significantly over the next 30 years, according to a new study. Without carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, gas-fired electricity would have to fall to 10% of the mix to meet emissions targets for 2050. The new study also warns that current government policies will deter investment in gas.

Last November the government signalled that the UK’s remaining coal-fired power stations would be phased out by 2025. The report has been published by the UK Energy Research Centre. The authors calculate that without carbon capture and storage technology, unabated gas could only make up 10% of the electricity mix in 2050, if the government wanted to meet current legal obligations to restrict carbon. Legislation on the statute books in the UK requires an 80% cut in CO2 emissions below the 1990 level by the middle of this century.

Big businesses handed taxpayer cash to install energy-saving lightbulbs

British business giants including Sainsbury’s and Dixons Carphone Warehouse have been handed tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayer cash to install energy-efficient light bulbs, as part of Government efforts to avert a looming power crunch.
The Football Association and Travis Perkins are among other organisations to share in a total of £5 million of Government funding, under a scheme to try to reduce the risk of blackouts in coming winters by cutting electricity demand.

Decision on new nuclear power plant ‘delayed’

Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in decades could be delayed amid reports an EDF board meeting to decide whether to invest in Hinkley Point Power Station has been postponed. The French energy firm’s board was expected to meet on Wednesday to finalise the decision. But French paper Les Echos and environmental group Greenpeace said the decision had now been delayed reportedly due to funding difficulties.
EDF declined to comment on the reports.
In October, EDF agreed a deal under which China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) would pay a third of the cost of the £18bn project in exchange for a 33.5% stake. Hinkley is due to start generating in 2025, and is expected to provide 7% of the UK’s electricity once it is operational. But the project was originally due to open in 2017, and it has come under fire for both its cost and delays to the timetable for building. The government has also been criticised for guaranteeing a price of £92.50 per megawatt hour of electricity – more than twice the current cost – for the electricity Hinkley produces.

New report warns of looming UK energy crisis, puts forward renewables as solution

The UK would be plunged into an energy crisis if the government perseveres with plans to close all remaining coal plants by 2025, a new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME) has claimed.

The report states that coupled with the shuttering of retired nuclear generators, closing coal plants as energy secretary Amber Rudd has promised would create an energy shortfall of 55% by 2025.

However the IME has stated that instead of putting off the coal shutdown – as the government could propose in its forthcoming consultation – it should instead resolve the shortfall by incentivising demand reduction and invest in renewables and storage.

Mobile school for Calais refugees will be powered by PV and energy storage

A team of teachers volunteering to educate refugees and displaced peoples among the camps of Calais in northern France, will power a mobile school with a solar-plus-storage system.

School Bus Project, set up by Kate McAllister from Birmingham, who describes herself as a “teacher and parent”, turns buses into mobile schools. The group has already managed to purchase its first bus, claiming that up to 800 people can benefit from each bus’ facilities.

Diesel farms in line for power payout

Diesel farms could this week win contracts worth hundreds of millions of pounds as part of a Government scheme to keep the lights on.
The payments, which will add to our energy bills, are intended to ensure there is enough generating capacity on the power network. Critics say the capacity market has failed to deliver new gas plants to replace aging coal power stations. The government says its priority is reliable, affordable energy supplies. The diesel farms are expected to win contracts in a capacity auction that gets underway today, overseen by National Grid, the auction is intended to secure 45 gigawatts of power for a period of four years.

The Government says the capacity market is deliberately technology-neutral to buy the lowest priced capacity to deliver value for money for consumers, and estimates the capacity market will add around £14 to to a typical annual energy bill.

Renewable energy outstrips coal for first time in UK electricity mix

Renewable energy has for the first time surpassed coal in supplying the UK’s electricity for a whole quarter, according to government statistics released on Thursday. The revelation of the surge in wind, solar and bioenergy to a record 25% comes in a week when the government has been heavily criticised by business leaders and Al Gore for cutting support for clean energy.

The high performance of renewable electricity between April and June, the latest period data is available for, was due to both more wind and sun and more turbines and solar panels having been installed, compared to the same period the year before, when renewables contributed 16.4% of electricity.

Gas-fired power stations provided the most electricity – 30% – with renewables second. Nuclear power was third with 21.5% and coal – the most polluting fuel – fell back to fourth, with 20.5%. Ageing coal and nuclear plants have been closing in recent years, while renewable energy has been rapidly rolling out.

UK-Norway grid link – ABB wins order

ABB has been awarded a £288m contract to link the power grids of the UK and Norway. The company aims to increase security of supply for both countries and support the integration of wind and hydroelectric power into their networks. The UK-Norway Interconnector (NSN), which is expected to be 730 kilometres long and have a capacity of 1.4GW, is owned by National Grid and Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett. ABB will supply high-voltage direct current (HVDC) converter stations at both ends of the North Sea. Claudio Facchin, President of ABB Power Systems division said: “HVDC is a proven solution for the integration of renewables and the reliable and efficient long distance transmission of power, often subsea or underground.” The interconnector, which is said to be the world’s longest subsea power link, is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Redmile Energy customer 20% up on performance target

IMG_0263The proof is in the pudding……no its actually in the design and installation. Today is the 1st anniversary of a 26kwp farm barn installation fitted by Redmile Energy. The customer has reported a 20% above target performance of the system. He was wise to listen to experts and buy quality components rather than just buy on price.

Solar Impulse 2 breaks longest solo flight world record

André Borschberg, the pilot at the controls of the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft, has broken the world record for the longest solo flight. Borschberg has now been aloft in the solar-powered plane for more than 80 hours without refuelling or touching down, breaking the 76-hour record set by Steve Fossett in 2006 on board the Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer. The solar-powered plane took off from Nagoya in Japan, heading for Hawaii, on the eighth stage of its 13-stage round-the-world trip earlier this week. After Hawaii, Borschberg and his co-pilot Piccard will fly the solar-powered craft on to Phoenix, Arizona. From there, the pilots will tag-team their way across the United States, cross the Atlantic into Europe, before finally touching down in Abu Dhabi, where their journey began.

Record boost in new solar power continues massive industry growth

A record amount of solar power was added to the world’s grids in 2014, pushing total cumulative capacity to 100 times the level it was in 2000. Around 40GW of solar power was installed last year, meaning there is now a total of 178GW to meet world electricity demand, prompting renewable energy associations to claim that a tipping point has been reached that will allow rapid acceleration of the technology. “For the first time ever in Europe, renewables produced more power than nuclear – and solar power was key in achieving this remarkable achievement,” said Michael Schmela, executive adviser to trade body SolarPower Europe, which compiled the statistics. Britain led the European solar expansion, with government incentives helping to add 2.4GW of solar resources to the domestic market, and a third to Europe’s overall 7GW of growth.

UK renewables smash energy share record

Strong winds and a sunny day on Saturday helped renewable energy in the UK set a new record, official figures have shown.
According to trade association RenewableUK, wind and solar power peaked at 12GW last Saturday, equal to 40 per cent of power generation on the grid. The figures, provided by independent analysts at Enappsys, also showed that wind alone beat all other sources of fossil fuel generation and was second only to nuclear power on the grid across the whole day.

Solar Impulse: Plane damaged after landing in Japan

The solar-powered plane that is attempting a record-breaking flight around the world has been damaged after making an unscheduled stop in Japan.
The Solar Impulse aircraft was forced to land on Monday after weather conditions worsened while it was flying across the Pacific Ocean. It touched down smoothly, but gusts of wind damaged its delicate wings in the hours after landing. The team is confident it can repair the plane and continue the epic journey. Solar Impulse’s co-founder, Andre Borschberg tweeted: “Small damage on one of the aileron of @solarimpulse which will necessitate at least a week to repair but not a major issue.” The experimental plane, which has 17,000 solar cells on its wings, began its circumnavigation of the globe in Abu Dhabi in March.

Solar Impulse 2 flight postponed due to weather risk

The latest leg of the record breaking attempt to fly round-the-world by the solar powered plane, Solar Impulse 2, has been postponed. The team in Nanjing, eastern China, say the weather forecasters have assessed that conditions are no longer good for the attempted flight to Hawaii, stage 7 of a 12 leg journey. Pilot Andre Borschberg told the BBC’s John Sudworth that he was pleased not to be flying as the journey would have been too much of a risk.

The Solar Impulse project has already set a number of world records for solar-powered flight, including making a high-profile transit of the US in 2013.
Solar Impulse 2 has a wingspan of 72m, which is wider than a 747 jumbo jet, and yet it weighs only 2.3 tonnes. Its light weight is critical to its success as is the performance of the 17,000 solar cells that line the top of the wings, and the energy-dense lithium-ion batteries it uses to sustain night-time flying.

Amber Rudd promises to ‘unleash a new solar revolution’

The UK’s new Secretary of State for energy and climate change, Amber Rudd, has spoken of her desire to increase the deployment of solar PV under her watch.

Speaking to a local paper in her constituency, Amber Rudd told The Hastings Observer that she was “honoured” to land the top role at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Rudd was previously a climate change minister at DECC. Commenting on her focus in the new role, Rudd said: “I want to unleash a new solar revolution – we have a million people living under roofs with solar panels and that number needs to increase.”Rudd is referring to the number of households who have installed solar PV under the feed-in tariff scheme. The previous Coalition government had made it clear in its national Solar Strategy that it wants to focus solar PV deployment on rooftops, following the perception that ground-mount solar farms were becoming increasingly unpopular with the public.

Two million British homes powered by solar PV

The UK’s solar fleet generated enough electricity to power two million UK households on Wednesday. Record temperatures and clear skies on Wednesday saw UK solar capacity generate enough electricity to power two million households for a day, according to estimates made by energy supplier Good Energy. The company estimates that solar panels across the UK generated 21,831MWh of energy on 15 April 2015.

Lib Dems targeting £100 billion private investment in renewable energy

The Liberal Democrats are aiming to stimulate at least £100 billion of private investment in the UK’s renewable energy infrastructure and want a third of the UK’s energy demand to be met from renewable sources by 2020. The party has set the targets in its 2015 election manifesto, launched today by leader Nick Clegg at an event in south London. The document outlines the party’s five “green laws” focused on improving the UK’s commitment to the environment with energy policy playing a central theme. Clegg stated that his party had been instrumental in the trebling of renewable energy generation recorded since the current coalition assumed power in 2010 and outlined a number of ambitious targets for the adoption of and investment in renewable technologies. Also included in the manifesto is an expression of support for energy storage and various other energy efficiency technologies, and an abolishment of unabated coal energy plants by 2025.

Solar contributes to ‘lowest ever’ peak National Grid demand

The National Grid has forecast its “lowest ever” peak level demand this summer and said the increase in the UK’s solar PV generation capacity has contributed to it. The National Grid’s summer outlook – published today – has estimated that its peak demand this summer will be 37.5GW, approximately 900MW lower than the corresponding figure last year. This drop has been attributed to a marked increase in solar PV generation capacity within the UK, which National Grid says has risen from 2.4GW in February 2014 to 4.4GW in February this year. The report owed this drop in peak demand to how the period of peak summer demand – typically between midday and the afternoon – coincided with increased generation from embedded solar installations. And the report also forecast that summer peak demand will continue to drop in the coming years as additional solar generation capacity is connected to the grid. The National Grid has estimated that solar PV generation capacity will reach 5.5GW by February 2016, equivalent to an added 90MW of capacity per month for the next year.

Solar energy ‘could provide 4% of UK electricity by 2020’

Solar power could provide up to 4% of the UK’s electricity by the end of the decade, the government has said. The plummeting cost of solar panels has caused the government to revise upwards its forecast for solar energy use, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said. Speaking to the BBC, he said he had been “amazed and delighted” by the plummeting costs of solar power. Mr Davey said “This is wonderful for humanity. There are 300 million Indians without electricity… the effects in sub-Saharan Africa will be dramatic. Solar power will do to energy what mobile phones did for communication and markets.”
Ed Davey expects that up to 14GW of solar by 2020 – up from 5GW at the end of 2014. That equates roughly to 1.5% of total UK annual electricity to just under 4%. He said he expected it to grow further in the next decade. A government spokesman said there were now 650,000 solar installations in the UK.

Solar eclipse poses energy challenge

Friday’s solar eclipse will present a significant challenge for the UK’s electricity network and be an unprecedented test for operators of power networks, as reported by the BBC. Power demand is expected to fall and then surge. As the moon obscures much of the sun, the electricity generated by solar panels is expected to drop by up to 75%. But National Grid believes the overall impact will be “manageable” even though, much more electricity is generated from solar panels now than during the last eclipse in 1999.

It is the first time that an eclipse in Europe is expected to have an impact on the operation of electricity grids. Germany faces the biggest test, with about 39GW (gigawatts) of installed solar capacity. The UK has 5GW of solar, the equivalent to the power output from about eight to 10 gas fired power stations. But while the amount of electricity generated from solar will fall during the eclipse, National Grid is not expecting any major impact.

Party leaders make joint climate commitment

The UK’s political leaders have pledged to work together to combat climate change, whatever the election result. In a joint statement, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg said climate change was one of the most serious threats facing the world. They said climate change threatens not just the environment but also security, prosperity and poverty eradication. They have promised to end coal burning for power generation in the UK – unless it uses new clean-up technology. Environmentalists say the pledge is significant because it quells some of their fears that the Conservatives might adopt a more climate-sceptic line.

Small Feed In Tariff reduction due in April as Solar PV continues to see steady growth

Ofgem has confirmed that there will be a very small Feed In Tariff reduction due from 01 April 2015 affecting new installations only of 0-10kW and 50kW-5MW. According to the Solar Trade Association (STA), this is the first time since 2012 that the residential sector has triggered a degression through growth, rather than an automatic degression every nine months. David Pickup, Business Analyst for the STA, said “These latest statistics show that the FIT solar PV market is seeing healthy growth with plenty of solar going up on domestic and commercial roofs as well as small solar farms”.

New EU energy rules for TVs and other household gadgets

European Union rules will oblige new networked devices such as modems and internet-connected televisions to switch themselves off when not in use. Many gadgets are connected to the internet 24/7, using 25-100 watts while their owners sleep. But new devices sold from Thursday will fall to sleep, using a trickle of power when they are not in use. The European Commission said the move would save an average household about £32 a year. The Commission says its measures on stand-by devices will reduce energy consumption by almost 75 terawatt-hours (TWh) without affecting product performance. This will reduce CO2 emissions by 28 million tons, equivalent to the annual emissions of 1.5 million households. An analysis for BBC last month estimated that efficiency rules have reduced the average individual’s electricity consumption by 10% over five years.

David Cameron: ‘Solar huge success story for the renewables industry’

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, last night stated that ‘Solar has been a huge success story, has an important role to play in our diverse energy mix and, where appropriately sited, solar is rightly popular and on current trends becoming ever more affordable  – with solar likely to become the first renewable to be genuinely cost competitive with gas.’

Domestic Solar now the best investment ever

UK domestic solar installs are a better investment than ever before, according to new research carried out by Green Business Watch. Due to significantly decreased manufacturing costs across the industry the ‘return on investment’ for a domestic PV system is currently at an all time high.

Solar will become the cheapest form of energy

DECC Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Davey, has said that he is ‘absolutely convinced’ the falling costs of solar will make it the cheapest form of energy available in the coming years. During the minister’s visit last week to the East Sussex offices of China head-quartered panel supplier ReneSola, he praised the recent work of the UK solar industry and asserted that there is a strong case for investing in renewable energy.

Ofgem confirms small FiT rate reduction from January 2015

Ofgem has confirmed that there will be a small reduction in the Feed in Tariffs paid to new solar PV installations installed and commissioned on or after January 1st, 2015. This small reduction is triggered by the number of solar PV installations in the previous quarter and, in line with the regulatory mechanism put in place and reviewed every 3 months, is limited to a maximum reduction of 3.5%. This reduction does not affect any existing systems already registered for the FiT scheme.

Blackout Britain

A cold and windless day could result in households’ lights being dimmed this winter, despite new emergency measures to prevent blackouts, experts have warned.

Britain’s spare capacity – the safety buffer between electricity supplies and peak demand – has fallen to just 4 per cent, the lowest level in seven years, following a series of power plant fires and closures, analysis from National Grid revealed.

Battery technology for home PV storage

Battery integrated PV systems for the home have long been awaited for. SMA (the world leading brand in grid tied inverter technology) launches it first integrated inverter with DC battery storage for the home market in the UK this week. It simply stores up excess PV electricity by day and discharges it as required during the day or night. Multiple charges and discharges can take place daily so there is a huge benefit to the home users. Contact Redmile Energy to learn more.

Energy saving in the home

Fact – If every household in the UK were to swap one old light bulb for a modern energy efficient light bulb, the saving on the national grid would equate to the output of one nuclear power station.

Cash back scheme opens for Solar Thermal

The ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’, or RHI, previously only available to the commercial sector has now been launched for domestic customers including home owners, landlords, new build projects and is also available to households both on and off the gas grid. The payments have been confirmed at 19.2p per kwh and are payable quarterly over 7 years.

British Gas increases electricity prices by 10.4%

British Gas is to increase prices for domestic customers from 23 November. The increase, which will affect nearly eight million households in the UK, includes an 8.4% rise in gas prices and a 10.4% increase in electricity prices. The company said it “understands the frustration” of prices rising faster than incomes. The average annual household bill will go up by £123. Rival SSE, which trades as Scottish Hydro, Swalec and Southern Electric, has already announced an 8.2% increase in bills from 15 November.

Government announces tariffs for domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The heat is on for householders

Householders could get paid hundreds of pounds a year for heat generated by solar thermal panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker confirmed today. The tariff levels have been set at 7.3p/kWh for air source heat pumps; 12.2p/kWh for biomass boilers; 18.8p/kWh for ground source heat pumps and at least 19.2 p/kWh for solar thermal.

The scheme will be made available to owners of domestic heating systems and people who build their own homes. Anyone who has installed a renewable heat technology since 15 July 2009 and meets the scheme eligibility criteria will be able to join the scheme. The Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC) is currently finalising the details of the expansion of the non-domestic RHI scheme and will confirm the way forward in the autumn alongside the outcome of the tariff review. DECC’s aim to introduce these changes from Spring 2014 remains unchanged.

Britain Faces Blackout

Customers to foot the bill to pay businesses to switch off power

Shops and factories will be paid to ration electricity to avoid nationwide power blackouts, under a drastic government plan announced recently.

Household energy bills would have to rise to compensate companies for turning off lighting and machinery during winter nights.

Ofgem has warned that, if Britain’s energy demand remains at current levels, the risk of blackouts in 2015 is estimated at one-in-four, triple the estimation made last October.

Energy watchdog Ofgem chief warns of bill rises

Consumers are being warned they face higher energy bills as the UK becomes more reliant on energy imports. The warning comes from Ofgem chief executive Alistair Buchanan, who says falls in the UK’s power production capacity are likely to lead to more energy imports and price rises. The energy watchdog predicts power station closures could mean a 10% fall in capacity by April alone. Mr Buchanan has said the UK needs more gas supplies to fill the shortfall. His warning comes as older power stations close and renewable energy is still growing.

Energy prices ‘biggest threat’ to household finances

Rising energy bills has beaten out unemployment, inflation and taxes as the biggest concern for UK consumers according to recent findings from YouGov’s Household Economic Activity Tracker (HEAT). The nationally representative tracker asked consumers to rate out of ten the biggest perceived threat and the biggest perceived benefit to their household’s standard of living in the future out of six economic measures: unemployment, energy prices, inflation, taxes, state benefits, and interest rates.

The results show that the British public is acutely concerned about escalating energy bills, identifying them as the most significant threat economic well-being with an overall rating of 7.8. Unemployment (7.4) and rising inflation (6.9) were deemed as the second and third largest threats. The news follows Centrica’s confirmation that British Gas will be rising its energy prices by an average of 6 percent due to the increase in cost of wholesale gas.

Npower increases gas and electricty prices

Npower will increase the price of gas by an average of 8.8% and electricity by 9.1% from 26 November. Earlier, British Gas, the UK’s biggest energy supplier, raised its charges for both types of fuel by an average of 6%, adding £80 a year to the average dual fuel bill. SSE – which trades as Scottish Hydro, Swalec and Southern Electric – has already said it will raise its prices by an average of 9% from Monday. “There is never a good time to increase energy bills, particularly when so many people are working hard to make ends meet,” Npower’s chief commercial officer Paul Massara said.

42% – Likelihood that consumers will be ‘cut off’ at some point in 2015-16

Britain faces blackouts within three years because the country’s ageing power plants are not being replaced quickly enough, the industry regulator has warned.

Ofgem said that the amount of surplus generating capacity is set to fall from 14 per cent today to only 4 per cent by 2015. A surplus of 6 per cent is considered to be the minimum level required to keep the lights on to cope with surges in demand and unplanned power-plant shutdowns, analysts said. Consumer groups said that electricity shortages would drive energy bills, already at record levels, even higher.

SSE to raise gas and electricity prices

Energy firm SSE, which trades as Scottish Hydro, Swalec and Southern Electric, will increase its domestic gas and electricity prices by an average of 9% from 15 October. It blamed the increases on the extra cost of using the gas and electricity networks and rising costs in energy wholesale markets. Some 3.4 million gas and five million electricity customers will be affected.

The forthcoming increases mean that a customer with an average standard dual-fuel bill will pay an extra £102 for the year, or £1,274 in total.

Councils urged to help make more carbon cuts

Local authorities should do more to help the UK meet its carbon budgets by championing renewable energy schemes, giving them planning consent and supporting the development of district heating projects. That call came in a report commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change from the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC). The CCC also recommended that local authorities should have a statutory duty to develop and implement carbon plans and warned that limited action at the local level would put the achievement of national carbon budgets at risk.

Solar PV Feed in Tariff reduction delayed until after 31st July 2012

The Government has announced a reduction to the Feed in Tariff rate paid to owners of new Solar PV systems that are installed, commissioned and registered after 31st July, 2012, a month later than the previously expected date.

Owners of eligible systems installed, commissioned and registered before the above deadline, will enjoy the current FIT rate of 21p per kWh, index linked, for 25 years from the date of registration. From August 1st, 2012, a reduced tariff of 16p per kWh will be paid to new installations of 4kw or below. Although this is still tax free and index linked, the tariff period will be reduced to 20 years.

Contact Redmile Energy now for a no-obligation free quotation, and beat this deadline by installing a solar PV system before the end of July, guaranteeing yourself a tax-free, 25 year index linked income, with a return in excess of 10% on your initial investment.

Fuel Bills To Soar by £240 A Year

Fuel bills to soar by £240 a year – this is the front page headline of the Daily Express on Saturday 12th May. The article states that energy bills are set to rise by up to 20% this winter, with already hard pressed households having to fork out an extra £240 a year taking household energy prices to a record high with the average annual bill soaring from £1,252 to nearly £1,500. To read the article in full click here Daily Express – Fuel bills soar by £240 a year

Solar PV Feed in Tariff to reduce after 30th June 2012

The UK Government has proposed a reduction to the Feed In Tariff rate paid to owners of new Solar PV systems installed, commissioned and registered after 30th June, 2012.

The ‘best’ of 3 proposals would introduce a reduced tariff of 16.5p per kWh generated by ≤4kW installations.

Contact Redmile Energy now for a no-obligation free quotation, and beat this deadline by installing a solar PV system before the end of June, guaranteeing yourself a tax-free, index linked income, with a return in excess of 10% on your initial investment.

Supreme Court Decision on FITs rates for installations between 12 December 2011 and 02 March 2012

The Supreme Court has rejected the UK government’s Feed-in Tariffs solar appeal. Those people who installed between 12 December 2011 and 2 March 2012 were unsure about what tariff they would actually get as this depended on the outcome of the appeals process. This is now complete. As such, we can now confirm that those who applied to receive Feed-in Tariffs between the above dates will receive the 43.3p/kWh rate.

Please see the Energy Saving Trust Website for more information on the Feed In Tariff changes.

Some clarity on the rate of FIT’s payments for ‘New’ customers

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) have now confirmed the standard FIT tariff for new retrofitted PV systems of less than 4Kwp in size, will be 21p per kwh. This tariff will apply to all installations between 01 April and 01 July 2012 after which there is expected to be a significant reduction, possibly as low as 13p. The 21p tariff should generate significant demand in the months up to July as many domestic customers will still be able to achieve tax free returns of 10% or greater based on current market conditions.

From 01 April all domestic properties will require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of level D, or better, to be eligible for the full 21p tariff and Redmile Energy can advise and arrange this for their customers, but any customers wishing to avoid this process should install before the end of March 2012.

Please see the Energy Saving Trust Website for more information on the Feed In Tariff changes.

Chris Huhne addresses uncertainty over solar feed-in tariffs with March cut-off date

‘I know that the uncertainty while we await the court’s decision is difficult for the industry’

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has today set out how the government will respond to the imminent court decision on when proposed cuts to feed-in tariff incentives can come into effect.

Following calls from the industry for the government to clarify the level of incentive available for current installations, Huhne this afternoon tabled aWritten Ministerial Statement in parliament detailing the government’s plans.

Click Here for the full Business Green report


Ministerial statement expected to set new date to cut incentives should the government lose appeal hearing

The government will this afternoon confirm its contingency plan should it lose its high-profile court battle to uphold proposed cuts to incentives for solar installations completed after December 12 last year. According to industry reports, the statement is expected to confirm that if the government loses its appeal against the court ruling that branded its proposed cuts to incentives as unlawful, it will cut feed-in tariffs for installations with under 4kW of capacity to 21p per kWh within 40 days, setting a new cut-off date of March 3.
To see the full story Click Here

Redmile Energy Commit To 10% Returns for new PV Customers in Winter 2011-2012

Following the UK Governments publication of their consultation on Feed-in Tariff payments, Redmile Energy have committed to try to offer all their new customers, this winter, Solar PV systems that continue to return up to 8-10% return (tax-free and inflation proofed) on the ‘proposed’ new tariff. The margins that we will operate on during this period will not be sustainable. We envisage system costs rising in the spring should other cost factors remain unchanged.

Dragon’s Den investment

During the frantic bidding by the Dragons to invest in a Solar PV company on the show aired on BBC2 on the 2nd August, Deborah Meaden said, ‘It is actually quite simple, if you’ve got any money sitting in a bank earning tuppence, take it out of the bank, put 16 panels on your roof and you will earn 10% tax free’.  A strong endorsement indeed and actually earnings can be as high as 15%.

Solar PV accounts for over 94% of renewables registered for FITs

By 17th June 2011 42,143 installations across the county have been registered to participate in the FITs scheme.

30,263 installed renewable installations were registered in the first year of the FITs scheme – representing 108.5 MW of total installed capacity. Of this first year figure Solar PV accounts for 94.5% of all registered installations.

FITs increase

New increased FITs rates came into force today as the scheme has stood by its commitment to index link all payments to the RPI. Retrofit domestic rates have increased from 41.3p to 43.3p for all existing customers and for new PV customers up to April 2012.

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