Local Solar Industry Warns of Cuts to the Solar Subsidy
As some homeowners in West Wales are finding out, the Government is proposing huge and dramatic cuts to the subsidies given to homeowners installing solar panel systems. Although the subsidies (known as the Feed-in-Tariff) have been reducing steadily over time in recent years the proposed cut to around 1.6p per unit is a drop of around 87 per cent on the current level. This means that homeowners looking to invest in a solar panel system will be losing out on thousands of pounds of renewable energy payments over the life of their system.
Local installers of pv systems, such as Narberth based Silverstone Green Energy, are doing what they can to let people know about the impact of the cut in subsidy and what they can do about it. Nigel Thompson from Silverstone said: “The important message for anyone who is considering a solar panel system to ‘act now’. Unfortunately because of the inevitable rush that the proposed deadline is causing, installers will be very busy over the next few months and, inevitably, there will be those who will unfortunately not be able to have their systems in time to keep the current subsidies.”
The company says that this is a situation that is affecting the whole industry with a demand increasing on a daily basis. “We’re getting enquiries from far and wide at the moment but we obviously want to meet local demand. So we’ve set up a ‘priority booking system’ for our local West Wales customers to make sure they get their installations completed on time.” The solar industry is concerned about the impact that such severe cuts to household subsidies will have on the future of many installers and suppliers. The Solar Trade Association has recently expressed concern that smaller; local installers may not be able to survive such a dramatic change in demand.
Nigel continued: “It is a definite concern, especially for customers who want to make sure that any issues or problems can be resolved by the original installer. At Silverstone, we’re fortunate that we’re one of the biggest Solar Farm maintenance specialists in the UK so we have a very large business there which will sustain us over the long term. This will mean that we’re able to service and maintain our customers for many years to come. Our concern is that this will affect many of the smaller operators when it comes to next year and beyond.”
For more information on the proposed cuts to the Feed-in-Tariff or it’s affects on domestic solar panel systems you can contact the Silverstone team on 01834 888330 or visit the Tariff Cuts page here.
Have a fantastic day out this weekend at one of Wales’ most beautiful stretches of land, Pembrey Country Park. The Welsh Game Fair is back and it’s big and our team won’t be missing the action so make sure if you’re going to be there to come and say hi! If you have ever wondered about solar and how it could help you save and earn money, have a chat with our friendly team who will be more than happy to help, just look out for a big blue gazebo! The Welsh Game Fair is great for all ages, with different activities all day. Have a look here for just some of the things going on
Tesla announced the release of the Powerwall, a home battery which could see homes and businesses go ‘off-grid’. They announced the new battery technology with a beautiful presentation powered totally by Powerwalls. The home battery is charged via your solar panels and will be able to power your home in the evening, and could also provide you with electricity during a power cut.
Your home uses more electricity in the morning and evening than during the day, meaning the electricity your system produces isn’t available when you need it. With the Powerwall the energy is stored, meaning the electricity your system produces in the day, can be stored and used in the evenings, nights or mornings.
Having a Powerwall can help you avoid paying the peak rates utility companies charge for when demand is high, for instance, during the evening when more people are using electricity. At the moment when there is a power cut to the national grid your Solar PV system cannot operate, with the Powerwall you can store you energy giving you peace of mind.
The new Powerwalls are beautifully designed, as we all would expect from Tesla, they come in 10kWh weekly cycle and 7kWh daily cycle modes. They come with a hefty 10 year warranty period and are sufficient enough to power most homes during peak periods. There is also an option to install multiple batteries in your home up to 90kWh which means you could start seeing homes become totally self-sufficient!
On 24th May members of the Silverstone Green Energy team will be taking on the somewhat daunting task of competing in the awesome Welsh Dragon Boat Championships in Pembrokeshire. Apparently this is the world’s fastest growing water sport and involves teams – complete with drummer on board – racing each other over a 200m course repeatedly in heats, until someone wins – or all the other teams drop out through sheer exhaustion!
We’re risking our somewhat out-of-condition limbs, as well as our pride and dignity, to raise much needed money for several local charities:
• The Paul Sartori Foundation (a ‘Hospice at Home’ care service)
• Breast Cancer Care Unit at Llanelli
• Teenage Cancer Trust
• Prostate Care Unit at Carmarthen
We’d be absolutely delighted if you could all come along to support the wonderful event and cheer us on (We’ll need it!)
Today is the 45th anniversary of Earth Day. As the largest civic event in the world, this day aims to spread environmental awareness and encourage us all to care for the environment.
We can all adopt environmentally beneficial actions, big or small. This could include getting on your bike, switching to cleaner energy production to reduce our consumption of finite fossil fuel reserves, planting trees, making your garden wildlife friendly and nurturing any wildlife you meet, reducing your water consumption, joining community beach cleans or organising your own! Many organisations run events focussed on environmental education throughout April.
The Earth day website encourages us to muster our energy and “Channel it into building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come”. Google’s own Earth day attempt to increase awareness is an interactive doodle which links to a quiz to determine which animal you are.
Earth Day 2015 has been called the year that “citizens and organizations divest from fossil fuels and put their money into renewable energy solutions”. It is reported that ¾ of fossil fuel reserves need to remain untapped so that we don’t breach the safety limit. Historic achievements of Earth Day rallying include the establishment of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and Clean Water, Clean Air and Endangered Species Acts after the first Earth day in 1970. Earth day 2000 focussed on increasing awareness of climate change and pushing for widespread adoption of clean energy production.
In 2012 there was an initiative with Avatar director James Cameron to plant 1 million trees and founding the international movement ‘A Billion Acts of Green®’. This encouraged individuals and organisations to take up a green action and register it on the website, before the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (2012). The original 1 billion target was surpassed in 2012 and now there is an attempt to reach 2 billion!
But remember that “Earth Day is Every Day. To build a better future, we all must commit to protect our environment year-round”.
National Grid Lowest Ever Peak Demand Thanks to Solar
The UKs National Grid has forecasted that the peak demand this summer will only be 37.5 GW, a fall of 900 MW on last summer, this is thanks to the increase in Solar PV generation capacity. They published the ‘2015 Summer Outlook Report’ this week, it presents their view of the gas and electricity systems for summer 2015. They expect that solar PV will permanently reduce the peak demands in summer. The solar pv capacity has nearly doubled since last February from 2.4 GW to 4.4 GW, and they expect this capacity to increase further. If you would like to read more you can download the report by clicking here.
UK Invest £11.4 Billion in Solar
A new report in March from the DECC (Delivering UK Energy Investment: Low Carbon Energy) shows that £11.4 billion has been invested in solar PV since 2010. The total installed capacity of solar PV in 2010 was only 22 megawatts, which has risen since to a massive 5 gigawatts, generated by around 650,000 installations. We have now reached around 630,000 domestic installations, generating 2.3GW of electricity, that’s around 2,000 domestic installs a week!
Marks and Spencer Break UK Solar Record
Marks & Spencer (M&S) has completed the installation of the UK’s largest single roof mounted solar panel array on its East Midlands distribution centre in Castle Donington. The roof-mounted solar panel system is 6.1 megawatts. The system will generate over 5,000 MWh of electricity each year and they will become almost self-sufficient during the day. Read more here.
Recently governments from around the world have been announcing their plan to cut carbon emissions, with some countries such as Albania, Paraguay and Iceland leading the way with 100 per cent renewable electricity but does being self-sustainable make for a happy country?
The Happy Planet Index (HPI) have recently published their data showing which of the 151 countries they surveyed across the globe is the happiest. They measure their results by combining three sets of data; ‘Experienced well-being’, ‘Life Expectancy’ and ‘Ecological Footprint.’ The HPI provides a clear compass pointing nations in the direction they need to travel.
Costa Rica top the pile with a HPI score of 64.0 just ahead of Vietnam. This is the second time Costa Rica have come first, as a country they have embraced sustainability in their national policies. It produces 99 per cent of its energy from renewable sources. The country has announced it is committed to being carbon neutral by 2021.
Last year Costa Rica produced 80 per cent of its electricity from renewables and this year their 4 main hydropower stations and geothermal stations have been given a boost by heavy rainfall which created enough electricity for them to be self-sustainable for the last 75 days.
“We don’t want this to be a 75-day story, we want this to be a 365-day story,” Said Monica Araya, executive director of Nivela, a Costa Rica-based climate change think tank.
Interestingly the UK doesn’t stack up as well on the Happy Planet Index, we came up short with a score of 47.9. Our ecological footprint also didn’t look good, ranking 121 out of 151. The UK have invested 11.4 billion in solar PV since 2010 so hopefully in the next 5 years we will continue to invest and will rank a bit higher.
Do you have bad internet connection speeds or do you even get an internet connection at all?
Well, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are well aware of the problems faced by people living in rural areas. They have a plan to the rescue a third of people who have poor connection and those who have no connection at all. Mark Zuckerberg announced a successful flight of an unmanned drone over the UK, powered entirely by solar. Facebook are aiming to fly the drones for up to 6 months at a time, with an altitude of 65,000 feet, much higher than commercial airlines. The drone will sit in a layer of the atmosphere with stable weather conditions which means it can conserve power whilst at the same time store power generated by it’s solar panels.
The test flight comes as part of the Facebook-led initiative ‘Internet.org’ which aims to connect people to an ever expanding world. It aims to connect more people to Facebook’s 1.3 billion strong network and basic services such as weather apps and libraries. Internet.org has a range of participants including Samsung, Nokia, Opera, Ericsson and a few more.
The unmanned aircraft will be able to beam internet connections down to rural areas using laser technology, which could serve 10% of the worlds population who don’t have an existing internet infrastructure. The drones have been developed by Somerset-based company Ascenta, which was bought by Facebook in 2014 for £12m. Facebook aim to fly the drone as low as possible to increase the strength of the connection but at the same time keep the drone out of commercial airspace to ensure a quick deployment.
So for anybody who is gritting their teeth waiting to load an episode of Breaking Bad on Netflix, the days of waiting might be long gone if Zuckerberg and co can make this public!
For more information see the official press release from Facebook here.