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Solar champion Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to sign solar deal

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The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi today will sign £10billion worth of trade deals today including pacts on aircrafts and telecoms.

The deals include £2billion of investment in India by Solar Trade Association member Lightsource Renewable Energy.  The deal will mean Lightsource will design, install and manage around 3GW of solar power infrastructure in India over the next five years.

The investment illustrates the booming international opportunities available if the UK Government retains a strong domestic solar industry.  Modi is visiting the UK as the British solar industry reels from Government plans to implement drastic cuts to the sector. The Lightsource deal will create an expected 300 jobs and £42million of revenue in the UK, as well as benefiting hundreds of families in India.

Nick Boyle, the CEO of Lightsource Renewable Energy, said: “We are delighted to be announcing this investment in India. The Government in India has ambitious plans to electrify India and Lightsource will contribute significantly to that goal. India will be a key market for Lightsource in the future. We are excited to be working with Srei, our first partner, who will be helping us towards achieving our solar PV deployment goals in India.”

The PM’s visit precedes the UN Paris climate conference where Modi will launch his International Agency for Solar Policy and Application initiative [1]. Modi has invited 110 nations to join the initiative which is expected to attract $100 billion of solar business by 2020.  India is aiming to install 100GW of solar power by 2022.

Unfortunately only a handful of the largest British solar companies are in a position to take advantage of the massive international opportunities opening up in solar. Most British companies risk being cut off at the knees, for want of just a few years extra support at home, meaning the UK will pay a heavy price in lost economic opportunities, which are expected to further accelerate after the Paris climate conference.

British Solar Renewables is a leading British solar company, which has already expanded its business into India and Pakistan.

Giles Frampton, Business Development Director at British Solar Renewables commented: “The election of Prime Minister Modi has given developers and investors great confidence in India as a country within which one can do good business. Prime Minister Modi’s visionary work on renewables as a state governor and now as PM is to be applauded.

“We are now able to export British goods and knowhow that have been developed in the turbulent UK market. It is a great shame that the UK Government has turned its back on renewable energy in general and solar PV in particular whilst most other governments around the world recognise the huge contribution that solar PV can make as a rapidly deployable and cost effective solution to the world’s growing energy needs.”

Solarcentury is also one of the British companies large enough to take advantage of the booming international market.

Seb Berry, Head of External Affairs at Solarcentury, who is also on the board of the Solar Trade Association, said: “Solarcentury’s successful growth into multiple markets on four continents has been built on the expertise and experience we’ve gained over nearly two decades here in the UK.

“Our multi-award winning London based new product development team is all part of what makes Solarcentury a great British success story. Our staff and indeed all of the UK solar industry’s skilled, innovative workforce deserve so much better than the current UK Government’s dismissive, destructive approach to our sector.”

Leonie Greene Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association said: “We are delighted for members who are large enough to be able to seize business opportunities overseas. This visit by the Indian Prime Minister, probably the world’s greatest solar advocate, should make British politicians stop and think about what is at stake economically and technologically.

“While Modi is lining up an anticipated $100bn of global solar business, the UK is pushing most of its solar industry backwards, leaving us at an international disadvantage. It is not too late for our Government to get fully behind the British solar industry and ensure we take full advantage of global solar markets estimates to be worth trillions of pounds over the coming decades. ”

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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