Archive for 'Standards'

Oct 31

DECC have today confirmed the booming solar industries worst fears by publishing their “consultation” on feed in tariff cuts for PV systems.

The table above shows the proposed deep cuts will apply to all new installations completed after the 12th December 2011. This gives customers and installers just 6 weeks to complete any existing contracts at the current rates.What’s more although the proposals are “out for consultation” the changes in tariff levels come into effect before the consultation is due to close on the 23rd December.

David Houston, Director at Chester based PV FIT Ltd, says: “Today’s announcement confirms our worst fears and makes a mockery of the coalitions claims to be behind renewables and their intention to ween people off centralised produced power”.

The proposed domestic tariff levels, which are apparently “out to consultation”, mean a 4kW pv system on an optimum South facing roof will now take 11.3 years to payback, up from 6.5 years under current tariff levels.

“We accept that costs of PV equipment have come down in the 18 months since the FITs were introduces in April 2010. These savings however only translate to a 30% saving on a fully installed system. A knee-jerk 50% cut to FITs is disproportionate and will severely affect investor confidence in a sector which has already seen large PV systems disappear over night due to similar draconian cuts earlier this year” says Houston.

The full details of the comprehensive review for PV FITs consultation can be found on DECC’s website. Other proposed changes include:

Introduce new multi-installation tariff rates for aggregated solar PV schemes i.e. where a single individual or organisation owns or receives FIT payments from more than one PV installation, located on different sites.

a new energy efficiency requirement for FITs for solar PV (see section 3 of consultation for more detail). The new requirement would apply to all new solar PV installations with an eligibility date on or after 1 April 2012 which are attached to or wired to provide electricity to a building.

What next?

Many are predicting a solar gold-rush up to the government’s imposed cut-off point of 12th December, after which solar firms will be left to reassess their offerings. There are likely to be severe job cuts in an industry which has created over 20,000 new jobs in the past year.

David Houston advised,  “PV FIT currently have spare capacity in the lead up to the 12th December. To avoid disappointment you will need to book your installation ASAP – if you haven’t already had a quote we can survey over the phone in 10 minutes and will email a quote same day”.

In the lead up to 12th December PV FIT are offering full installation at following prices:

Call today for your free solar PV quotation on 0344 567 9032 or fill in our free solar survey.

Oct 05

New research conducted by utility and environmental consultancy Gemserv has identified huge demand from British households to ‘Go Green’ and produce their own energy.

Gemserv’s study of over 2000 British adults found that 61% of homeowners would consider installing means to generating their own energy, whether using solar PV panels, installing air source heat pumps, using biomass fuel or harnessing the power of nature by using hydro power. If the so-called ‘green gap’ could be bridged, approximately 15 million tonnes of CO2 could be saved each year, the report claims.

However, despite the UK’s appetite for renewable energy, Gemserv’s research found that the widespread lack of awareness about installation, cost savings and benefits is stopping people from reducing their carbon footprints.

In these challenging economic times, expense was understandably a big consideration, 57% of homeowners who would not consider installing any of the renewable initiatives from a list they were shown said it is too expensive and 32% of people were unsure how much money they could save and/or earn from renewable energy sources.

A further 65% of Brits weren’t aware of the government’s financial incentive for generating renewable energy.

CEO of Gemserv David Thorne says: “I am encouraged by some of these findings as I am delighted that nearly half the population would like to install renewable energy technologies; what worries me is the lack of fundamental awareness surrounding it. To bridge the Green Gap it’s essential we continue to educate consumers and break down some of the myths surrounding the Green Deal, energy efficiency and microgeneration.”

More details at www.gemserv.co.uk

Dave Houston, MD of chester based solar installers PV FIT Ltd says: “I am not surprised that Germserv’s survey identified that a significant proportion of the public would be interested to install a renewable energy technology on their homes. The costs of renewable energy systems can put many people off, despite the very attractive returns offered by schemes such as the Feed-in Tariff (FITs), due to the substantial capital outlay to install them in the first place”.

“In the past year FITs have vastly increased the size of the UK’s solar PV industry, which in turn has seen the cost of equipment & installation drop significantly. In April 2010, a typical 4kW PV FIT system cost £16,000 including VAT. In October 2011, the same system has reduced to nearer £12,000 – with a South facing system offering combined tax-free income and savings of £1700p.a”.

“With wider awareness of FITs and access to low cost, or preferably, zero interest finance we feel the renewables market could be vast, with capital costs reducing at an equally rapid rate”.

FITs are due to reduce by 9% for new entrants in April 2012, although many in the renewables sector are predicting a greater reduction due to the schemes success in reducing equipment costs.

For a free no obligation solar PV quote over the phone call PV FIT on 0344 567 9032, or visit http://www.pvfit.co.uk

Jun 27

Some solar panel companies are using dodgy sales tactics and giving poor advice to people looking to buy solar PV (photovoltaic) panels, shows a Which? undercover investigation.

Three quarters of companies investigated overestimated how much energy the solar PV panels would produce and most of them underestimated how long it would take for the system to pay for itself.

The government’s Clean Energy Cashback scheme, also known as the feed-in tariff (FIT) pays homeowners for generating electricity from solar PV panels a tax-free guaranteed and index-linked tariff for 25 years. With a 4kWp system, you could make up to £28,000 profits over 25 years.

So, not surprisingly, solar PV has attracted a lot of interest from homeowners and to protect consumers, to qualify for the FIT you must use products and installers registered under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS). There are now over 3,000 solar PV installers on the MCS register.

But despite MCS, our investigation found that out of the 12 companies, two were clearly in breach of the industry consumer code they signed up to. One firm, Skyline, offered a ‘first come, first served’ discount if the customer was prepared to give it regular meter readings and another, Green Sun, gave 24 hours to make a decision.

Other findings in the Which? report highlighted that out of the 12 solar PV companies whom were assessed:

  • seven companies did not take into account the fact that part of the roof was in the shade, so putting solar panels there was questionable
  • only two companies mentioned that the inverter, which transforms the current produced by the solar panels into usable electricity, almost always needs to be replaced within 25 years at a cost of at least £1,000
  • using the government methodology, we calculated that eight companies underestimated the time it would take for the system to pay for itself.

Oliver Yeates, Director at Chester based national solar pv installers PV FIT Ltd, welcomed the Which? reports findings. He said “There are now over 3000 MCS approved solar PV installers which has made the market extremely competitive. This is good on one hand as consumers quite often get a better price of installation. However, with more installers fighting for the same work some companies seem to forget ethics and revert to high pressure sales tactics”.

“The Which? report vindicates our (PV FIT) ethical sales approach where we survey by phone, utilising aerial and streetview imagery that is available extensively on the web. Not only are we able to identify our customers roofs suitability for solar PV installation, we can also identify any shading issues that may impact on performance and issue our customers a fixed price quotation all without an invasive salesman visit. Another plus is our carbon footprint is low as we avoid surveyors driving around the country polluting”.

Given that the average value of a solar PV installation being £10-12,00, PV FIT acknowledge that a phone survey is not to everyone’s taste.  However they go on to say that “the consumers interests are at the heart of what we do. Our customers will pay no more than the price we quoted during the telephone survey. We will also agree to visit any property where we feel the installation is likely to be tricky and offer a full refund of any deposit, even if outside the 7 working day ‘cooling-off’ period, should we establish the installation can not proceed due to a technicality. We have lot’s of customers that have been through the PV FIT survey and installation process, all of whom are happy and willing to tell others about their experience”.

Read the full Which? Solar report

May 31

Recently we have been receiving an increasing number of calls from customers querying the Governments intentions towards reducing Feed-In Tariff (FIT) as of the 1st August 2011.

There seems to be a great deal of ambiguity surrounding DECC’s “fast track review of feed in tariffs”. With DECC’s intentions, following an industry wide consultation which is due to be published on May 30th. Ahead of it’s publication we’ve offered a quick reminder of what changes were suggested by Greg Barker back in March…

The government have proposed rates to come into effect for any installations that are connected after August 1st 2011. These do not effect anything below 50kWp, but instead concentrate on larger installations that distort funding for smaller and domestic scale installations.

The proposed tariffs are:

  • >50kW – ≤150kW: 19p/kWh
  • >150kW – ≤250kW: 15p/kWh
  • >250kW – ≤5MW: 8.5p/kWh

These might appear a big drop in the rates, but in reality its just bringing the investment performance back to the original government targets. Based on current prices, solar systems installed after 1st August will still deliver 8% return on investment.

System Size

Return on Investment

FiT Rate (p/kWh)

50 kWp 7.88% 19
99.9 kWp 8.14% 19
149 kWp 8.58% 19
249 kWp 7.36% 15
300 kWp 5.37% 8.5

To get the current amazing returns upwards of 12%, you just need to be connected before the beginning of August. EvoEnergy can help you to push through your project to be delivered in time, contact our team to see how we can help you.

Key Facts

  • Anything under 50kWp has not been affected and will continue to receive the higher rate.
  • The DECC will now seek views on the proposed tariffs until May 6th 2011.
  • Any changes agreed will only affect new entrants to the FiT scheme; the Government will not act retrospectively.
  • It is proposed that any changes take effect from August 1st 2011, subject to the outcome of this consultation and Parliamentary scrutiny.
  • These rates will still be RPI (Retail Price Index) linked and therefore will increase with inflation.
May 18

UK sets legally binding targets to halve emissions by 2025 in path towards 80 per cent cuts by middle of the century.

Following on from figures recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, the energy secretary proposes 50% emissions reduction target (above 1990 levels) for the 2023 – 2027 period, which will place the UK on course to deliver the 2050 target of 80%.
Announcing the “next, historic step” in the Coalition’s green agenda, Chris Huhne said “there need not be a tension between green and growth.”
Included in the proposal is a clause which sees the UK review its performance against other EU Member States in 2014, which could provide a way for Government to change its position. See the DECC press release.
According to BusinessGreen, the move proved controversial within the Cabinet, with concerns about how legally binding targets beyond 2020 may damage the UK economy.
May 16

According to the BBC, David Cameron has moved to resolve a Cabinet row over the UK’s climate change targets, with an agreement on emissions to be announced on Tuesday.

This will see drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to 2027 and an overhaul of the way energy is produced. But ministers worried about the impact on the economy and burdens on industry have secured a get-out clause. The targets will be reviewed if European nations backslide on their own climate commitments.

‘Rare victory’

Labour have previously said that if ministers did not accept the committee’s recommendations in full it would amount to a “green betrayal” and accused Mr Huhne of failing to “show leadership” over the issue.

They say carbon reduction targets must not be watered down as part of efforts to alleviate red tape on industry.

Greenpeace described the agreement as “rare victory for the green growth agenda” in the face of what it said was “vehement” opposition from the Treasury and the Department of Business.

But Friends of the Earth said Mr Huhne should have gone further and accepted advice to tighten the UK’s existing 34% emissions reduction target, by 2020, to compensate for the cuts already achieved due to the recession.

Read the full BBC Article

May 10

Major new report recommends the UK generates 30 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030

The independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) will today release a major new report arguing that the UK should be able to deliver at least 30 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 as part of efforts to deliver deep cuts in carbon emissions.

Speaking to BusinessGreen, CCC chief executive David Kennedy said that the recommended targets were demanding but achievable.

“Thirty per cent is not the maximum of what is technically feasible, it is what we think is appropriate given the economics and other factors,” he said. “It will be challenging and it is not going to happen on its own.”

The report calls for a mix of renewable energy technologies, including wind and marine energy, air and ground source heat pumps, and the use of bioenergy for heat generation.

It also outlines a series of demand management and smart grid technologies that would allow the grid to support high levels of intermittent renewable power.

Read the full Business Green article

May 06

UN-commissioned report predicts 77 per cent of energy could come from renewable sources, but only if the right policies are adopted.

The full scale of the growth potential enjoyed by the global renewable energy industry has been underlined today with the release of a major new UN-commissioned report, which predicts that renewable sources could provide up to 77 per cent of the world’s energy by 2050.

The final version of the long-awaited Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (PDF) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was released earlier today at an event in Abu Dhabi.

“With consistent climate and energy policy support, renewable energy sources can contribute substantially to human well-being by sustainably supplying energy and stabilising the climate,” said professor Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chairman of Working Group III, at the report launch. “However, the substantial increase of renewables is technically and politically very challenging.”

Shares of energy sources in total global primary energy supply in 2008

The report concludes that concerted policy efforts could result in the rapid rollout of renewable energy technologies, although the proportion of renewable energy will increase even without enabling policies.

It also predicts that the emergence of renewables as the dominant energy source could lead to cumulative greenhouse gas savings equivalent to 220 to 560 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide between 2010 and 2050.

The cuts delivered through this could play a major role in ensuring that concentrations of greenhouse gases remain below 450 parts per million, and that this could be sufficient to limit average global temperature rises to below two degrees centigrade.

Read the full Business Green article

Apr 29

Solar systems account for over 28,000, with 11,000 installed in the first three months of 2011

Government figures released today show a record 11,314 PV systems fitted over the first three months of 2011, despite the perceived threat to feed-in tariff levels posed by the government’s early review.

In total, 30,140 renewable energy systems have been installed over the past year, representing 111MW of capacity. Just over 26MW of the 111MW was from the non-domestic sector.

But although 111MW represents an increase of almost two-thirds on the 67.9MW in place at the end of 2010, and over double the amount fitted after the first six months, this amounts to around 0.1 per cent of the UK’s total electricity generation.

The government’s review does not seem to have affected take up rates for household solar, but the fact that payment rates for larger PV projects are likely to be slashed could explain why only one has come online to date.

For the full article see Business Green

PV FIT Ltd can assist with any domestic or commercial solar pv project up to 5okW in output, which will not be affected by the likely cuts to tariff levels expected for systems above 50kW.

In order to get a quotation all you need to do is fill in your details on our quick form, or call us on 0844 567 9032 and we will contact you to complete a free solar survey.

Apr 04

DECC says it is in “listening mode” as evidence suggests virtually all mid-sized solar projects will be ditched if incentive cuts go through

The chilling effect of the coalition’s proposed cuts to feed-in tariff incentives on planned solar projects with 50kW capacity was hammered home

PV FIT Sydenham Rd Croydon

PV FIT Sydenham Rd Croydon

last week with the release of new data suggesting that virtually no mid-sized installations will go ahead if the incentives are slashed as planned.

“We’ve all had our rant about the cuts, now we need to help ministers with the evidence they need to make decisions,” Dave Sowden, chief executive of the Micropower Council, told BusinessGreen. “It is still a bun-fight, but it is turning into an evidence-based bun-fight.”

One developer undertook to provide a detailed analysis of the rates of return available to firms at different locations and under the current and proposed tariff regimes.

The analysis found that, with the current tariffs, firms deploying the projects could expect to receive rates of return before tax ranging from 7.1 per cent for a 100kW installation in Edinburgh to 11 per cent for a 500kW array in Plymouth.

In contrast, once the tariff proposed in the government’s consultation is applied, none of the projects attains the five per cent rate of return DECC has said in its impact assessment that it wants to achieve. The best rate of return is 4.7 per cent for a 100kW array in Plymouth, while all other projects would deliver returns of between 3.8 and -1.2 per cent.

For full story see BusinessGreen