Connect with us

Features

The feed-in tariff scheme unravelled

Published

on

It’s an issue that has provided the solar industry with weeks of uncertainty in the last six months or so, but for now, the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme looks to have achieved some kind of stability.

Feed-in tariffs are the amounts paid by governments to businesses, individual households and other organisations to generate renewable electricity. Often, this is through the use of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The tariff awarded to cover the amount of electricity generated for domestic use means that any surplus electricity can be sold and exported back to the National Grid.

As of March 3 this year, any solar panels installed incur a FiT rate of a 21p per kilowatt hour (kWh). For a domestic systems installed after August 1, the FiT will drop by 24% to 16p per kWh.

In May, a statement in the House of Commons, accompanied by the release of the government’s response, confirmed that the cuts, due to come into effect on August 1, would provide the industry with “TLC: transparency, longevity, and certainty”.

Energy minister Greg Barker underlined the government’s long-term commitment to the sector by announcing the reformation of a dedicated PV Cost Reduction Task Force, committed to solar development and trailing the launch of a new solar technology centre in Cornwall.

“We can now look with confidence to a future for solar”, said Barker, “which will see it go from a small cottage industry, anticipated under the previous scheme, to playing a significant part in Britain’s clean energy economy.

“I want to send a clear message today. UK solar continues to be an attractive proposition for many consumers considering micro-generation technologies and that having placed the subsidy support for this technology on a long-term, sustainable footing; industry can plan for growth with confidence.”

The tariff is hoped to increase each year, in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI), but with the time scale being decreased from 25 years to 20, this will seriously impact on potential returns for the long term.  The sting of the reduced FiT lifetime may amount to an approximate £20,000 loss, according to David Hunt, director with renewable energy company Eco Environments.

On a broader time scale, the solar industry welcomes figures revealing that the market is gradually recovering from cuts in the scheme. Deployment of solar PV has steadily increased over the last two years and seen a steep rise of around 620 kilowatts per week since the start of April, according to figures published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Number of PVs installed each week: Ben Willers.

The report revealed a collapse in demand after the government halved the levels of incentive available from April 1. Just 885 installations were recorded in the first week of April, creating only 2.5 megawatts (MW) of new capacity – a hugely reduced figure when compared with the tens of thousands of installations undertaken during December and March.

Some 2,280 solar installations were completed in the week ending June 3. The following week, 1,038 installations took place.

The figures come as DECC announced a change in the way future cuts will be handled. From August 1, the tariff will be reduced by 3.5% every three months – a decrease that will be allowed to grow to 28% should there be an unprecedentedly rapid uptake in installations.

If uptake is low, cuts can be deferred for upto six months.

DECC says: “We will consider that, through these changes, the FiT scheme will continue to support sustainable growth in solar PV, helping to ensure that the scheme is accessible for the many and not the few in a way which provides value for money to bill payers.”

Mainland Europe has been somewhat of a driver for the UK in clean power and in 2010 gave $35 billion (£22 billion) in renewable subsidies – more than half the global total, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

With economies increasingly lacking resources to splurge on the sector, a risk emerges that renewable demand will also shift.

Kick-starting the feed-in model back in 1991, Germany’s Act on Feeding in the Grid Electricity Generated from Renewable Energy Sources, fostered an industrial strategy which served Denmark and Spain well, too.

But the support from tariffs is dwindling. In January 2012, Spain halted subsides for renewable energy projects to help curb its budget deficit. Projections of as little as 50MW of solar PV was said to have been installed in Spain this year compared with 2,800MW in 2008 – before cuts in subsides first came about – according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association.

With the UK FiT remaining at its current level until at least August, now is the best time to take the leap into renewables. Get in touch with Good Energy – the UK’s only 100% renewable electricity supplier – to find out how.

Further Reading:

Continued exploitation of fossil fuels sees global carbon emissions rise

Bright future predicted for solar as government learns its lesson

Global solar market brimming with innovation 

Environment

How to be More eco-Responsible in 2018

Published

on

eco-responsible
Shutterstock / By KENG MERRY Paper Art | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kengmerrymikeymelody

Nowadays, more and more people are talking about being more eco-responsible. There is a constant growth of information regarding the importance of being aware of ecological issues and the methods of using eco-friendly necessities on daily basis.

Have you been considering becoming more eco-responsible after the New Year? If so, here are some useful tips that could help you make the difference in the following year:

1. Energy – produce it, save it

If you’re building a house or planning to expand your living space, think before deciding on the final square footage. Maybe you don’t really need that much space. Unnecessary square footage will force you to spend more building materials, but it will also result in having to use extra heating, air-conditioning, and electricity in it.

It’s even better if you seek professional help to reduce energy consumption. An energy audit can provide you some great piece of advice on how to save on your energy bills.

While buying appliances such as a refrigerator or a dishwasher, make sure they have “Energy Star” label on, as it means they are energy-efficient.

energy efficient

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By My Life Graphic

Regarding the production of energy, you can power your home with renewable energy. The most common way is to install rooftop solar panels. They can be used for producing electricity, as well as heat for the house. If powering the whole home is a big step for you, try with solar oven then – they trap the sunlight in order to heat food! Solar air conditioning is another interesting thing to try out – instead of providing you with heat, it cools your house!

2. Don’t be just another tourist

Think about the environment, as well your own enjoyment – try not to travel too far, as most forms of transport contribute to the climate change. Choose the most environmentally friendly means of transport that you can, as well as environmentally friendly accommodation. If you can go to a destination that is being recommended as an eco-travel destination – even better! Interesting countries such as Zambia, Vietnam or Nicaragua are among these destinations that are famous for its sustainability efforts.

3. Let your beauty be also eco-friendly

eco-friendly

Shutterstock / By Khakimullin Aleksandr

We all want to look beautiful. Unfortunately, sometimes (or very often) it comes with a price. Cruelty-free cosmetics are making its way on the world market but be careful with the labels – just because it says a product hasn’t been tested on animals, it doesn’t  mean that some of the product’s ingredients haven’t been tested on some poor animal.

To be sure which companies definitely stay away from the cruel testing on animals, check PETA Bunny list of cosmetic companies just to make sure which ones are truly and completely cruelty-free.

It’s also important if a brand uses toxic ingredients. Brands such as Tata Harper Skincare or Dr Bronner’s use only organic ingredients and biodegradable packaging, as well as being cruelty-free. Of course, this list is longer, so you’ll have to do some online research.

4. Know thy recycling

People often make mistakes while wanting to do something good for the environment. For example, plastic grocery bags, take-out containers, paper coffee cups and shredded paper cannot be recycled in your curb for many reasons, so don’t throw them into recycling bins. The same applies to pizza boxes, household glass, ceramics, and pottery – whether they are contaminated by grease or difficult to recycle, they just can’t go through the usual recycling process.

People usually forget to do is to rinse plastic and metal containers – they always have some residue, so be thorough. Also, bottle caps are allowed, too, so don’t separate them from the bottles. However, yard waste isn’t recyclable, so any yard waste or junk you are unsure of – just contact rubbish removal services instead of piling it up in public containers or in your own yard.

5. Fashion can be both eco-friendly and cool

Believe it or not, there are actually places where you can buy clothes that are eco-friendly, sustainable, as well as ethical. And they look cool, too! Companies like Everlane are very transparent about where their clothes are manufactured and how the price is set. PACT is another great company that uses non-GMO, organic cotton and non-toxic dyes for their clothing, while simultaneously using renewable energy factories. Soko is a company that uses natural and recycled materials in making their clothes and jewelry.

All in all

The truth is – being eco-responsible can be done in many ways. There are tons of small things we could change when it comes to our habits that would make a positive influence on the environment. The point is to start doing research on things that can be done by every person and it can start with the only thing that person has the control of – their own household.

Continue Reading

Energy

Top 5 Changes You can Make in Your Life to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Published

on

By

reduce carbon footprint
Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love? - Image from Shutterstock - https://www.shutterstock.com/g/thodonal88

In a world, where war rages and global warming threatens our very existence, the inhabitants of earth need to be extra vigilant in their efforts to go green. This includes reducing your carbon footprint on the earth and leading a more sustainable life.

Many homeowners feel perplexed by all of the options available to reduce their carbon footprint. They may even feel (falsely) that making their household more green will fail to make that much of a difference in the fight to save our planet.

Even a single home going green has a massive impact on the environment. We can win this battle on home at a time. If you’re interested in accepting the challenge of making your household a green home, read on below for a few of the top changes you can make in your life to reduce your carbon footprint. We all stand to benefit from making the earth safer for future generations – and your wallet won’t complain when you start to see the savings in annual energy costs.

Switch From Dirty Energy to Clean Solar

The ION Solar reviews tell it all–solar is the best way to go. Whether your goal is to slash your energy bills, or to reduce your carbon footprint, the sun is a fantastic source of renewable energy.

It’s important to get past the hype from solar installers. Instead, listen to the plethora of impartial customer reviews that mention everything from a $20 energy bill, to the incredible feeling of knowing that you are doing your part by going green and minimizing harmful emissions in to our atmosphere.

The average investment is $15,000 to $30,000 for installation and purchase of solar panels. Optional battery power packs can help provide consistent power during both night and day. And many government agencies provide federal, state or local grants to help offset upfront investments in clean energy.

Depending on which installed you choose, your household may qualify for low-interest or zero interest loans to cover the up-front cost of your installation. And the loan payments are usually less than your current monthly power bill.

It really is a win-win, as home buyers are looking for homes that feature this technology – meaning solar power installation improves the resale value of your property.

Home Modifications

And there are a number of additional home modifications that can help improve the energy efficiency of your home. A programmable thermostat can better manage energy consumption from home cooling and heating systems while you’re away from home. And weather stripping your doors can help keep cool air in during the summer, and warm air in during the winter.

Of course, energy conservation starts at home. And this includes setting a powerful example for your kids. Teach your children how to close windows, strategically keep doors open or closed based on airflow, and encourage them to leave the thermostat alone – opting for adding or removing layers of clothing instead.

Unplug Appliances and Shut Off Electronics

Unplugging your appliances when they aren’t in use, such as the toaster and the coffee maker, has more of an impact than you might think. Set your TVs and stereos on sleep timers, instead of letting them run around the clock. The cumulative impact of wasteful electronic device usage is horrible for our environment – putting unnecessary strain on our electrical grid.

Recycle

One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by recycling. You are already throwing this stuff away anyway, right? It doesn’t take much more effort to just put recyclables in a separate container to be recycled, now does it?

Oh, and did I mention that you can earn money for recycling? Yes! Many cities and towns have recycling centers that will purchase your clean plastic and glass bottles for reuse.

Minimize Your Water Usage

Water is one of the easiest things to forget about when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Preserve water by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Shorten your shower by a few minutes and turn down the heat on that water heater. You’ll be surprised at how much lower your water bill and your energy bill will be.

Saving money and reducing your carbon footprint? What isn’t to love?

These are just a few of the top ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint and start living a greener lifestyle. And we aren’t factoring in all of the advantages that we’ll reap from public investments in a smarter energy grid.

From decreasing your water usage, to switching to solar for your home’s energy needs, you will feel good at the end of the day knowing you are doing your part to save the future of this planet for generations to come!

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending