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Solar Energy UK and Clean Energy Live Is Underway At NEC




The Solar Energy UK and Clean Energy Live conferences began yesterday at the NEC in Birmingham.

Yesterday was an excellent first day with a packed conference agenda that was extremely well attended where the future of the clean energy industry was discussed at length.

We’re expecting even more visitors today as the energy storage sector takes centre stage in today’s conference agenda alongside the largest gathering of storage exhibitors ever assembled in the UK with more than 40 storage-related companies demonstrating their products at the show.

With tonight’s awards and gala dinner attracting over 700 people to celebrate the best of solar and clean energy the show will be buzzing today so there’s no better day to come for networking.

If you haven’t already registered – register in advance and bring your barcode to skip the registration queues.

See below for the free seminar theatres:

Clean Energy + Theatre

10:30 – 10:50
Keynote: What’s the possible impact of Brexit on the UK’s energy market?
Dr Nina Skorupska – Chief Executive – Renewable Energy Association

10:50 – 11:50
Cleantech innovation: what does it mean, and how do we fund it?
Stephen Heidari-Robinson – former energy advisor to David Cameron
Erik Nygard – Co-founder – Limejump
Lucy Symons – Director of Public Policy – Open Energi

11:50 – 12:10
Beyond revenue: how does a local authority deploy a project that delivers long-term value?
Alex Germanis – CEO – Pure Leapfrog

12:10 – 12:30
Creating locally beneficial partnerships
Luke Jackson – Energy Projects Manager – Nottingham City Council

12:30 – 12:50
Robin Hood Energy – a transformational energy company
Mark Bramah – Consultant – Robin Hood Energy Ltd.

13:00 – 13:30
Hear from the London Energy Efficiency Fund
Alexander Gilbert – Investment Manager – Amber Infrastructure

14:00 – 15:00
Opportunities to create value with your energy

Guy Rickard – Senior Consultant, Business Services – Carbon Trust
Hugh Jones – Managing Director, Business Services – Carbon Trust
Caroline Hill – Head of Sustainability – Land Securities
Mike Shirley – Head of Marketing – SmartestEnergy
Suzanna Lashford – Head of Commercial Sales – Solar Century

15:15 – 15:30
Energy management – the interface to engineering systems

Cameron Steel – Director at BK Design Associates – IET – The Institution of Engineering and Technology

15:30 – 16:00
Finance and Funding Options for Clean Technologies
Jason Hunter – Assistant Director – Capitas Finance
10:30 – 10:40
Chair’s opening remarks
Martin Cotterell – Applications Engineer – Tesla Energy

Energy Storage Theatre

10:40 – 11:00
Policy update: what is the definition of energy storage?
Frank Gordon – Senior Policy Analyst – REA

11:00 – 11:30
Solar + storage: what is the developer’s perspective on storage deployment?
Adrian Cecconi – Commercial Director – Lark Energy
David Peill – Commercial Director – British Solar Renewables

11:30 – 12:10
The aggregator’s perspective: moving toward more integrated systems
David Hill – Director – Open Energi
James Stoney – Head of Energy Storage – Kiwi Power
Joe McDonald – Head of Business Development – Limejump

12:10 – 13:10
Financing energy storage: is it going to be all equity?
Dan Taylor – Managing Director – Camborne Capital
Roberto Castiglioni – Fund Manager – Ingenious
Giovanni Terranova – Partner – Bluefield Partners LLP

13:10 – 13:30
The PV storage market in the UK & Germany – insights from end customers and installers
Saif Islam – Senior Analyst – EuPD Research

13:30 – 13:50
Understanding the dynamics of energy storage
Martin Allman – UK Country Manager – Sonnen

13:50 – 14:10
Keynote: changes and opportunities – future policy for storage
Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG – Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual property – Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

14:10 – 15:10
Panel debate: bridging the gap between status quo and strategic objectives
Charlie Vey – Business Development Manager – Powervault
Anthony Price – Director – Electricity Storage Network
Reza Shaybani – Chairman – British Photovoltaic Association
Mats Karlstrom – VP Sales & Marketing – Ferroamp Elektronik AB Sweden

15:10 – 15:30
Vehicle-to-Grid and the Built Environment
Dr. Rebecca Gough – Technical Specialist – Cenex

Installer Central

10:00 – 11:00
Make rooftop PV appealing to your customers
Chris Roberts – Director – Poweri Services Ltd
Andrew Padmore – Chief Executive – Egnida

11:30 – 12:30
Buyers’ guide to installers’ M&A
Jonathan Bates – Managing Director – Photon Energy
Gareth Williams – Managing Director – Caplor

13:30 – 14:30
Selling commercial and residential storage: what you need to know
Chris Jardine – Technical Director – Joju Solar
Paul Chandler – Development Director – T4 Sustainability
Virginia Graham – CEO – Renewable Energy Consumer Code

15:00 – 16:00
Diversifying beyond solar
Gareth Jones – Managing Director – Carbon Zero Renewables Limited
Griff Thomas – Managing Director – GTEC Training
Erica Charles – Managing Director – Spirit Solar

Solar Business Theatre

10:15 – 10:30
Chair’s opening remarks
Fintan Whelan – Director – SOLARCOOL

10:30 – 10:50
Keynote: from B2B to B2C – how to communicate with your customers
Trewin Restorick – CEO – Hubbub

10:50 – 11:10
Reaching global scale with community solar
Howard Johns – Managing Director – ENCOME

11:10 – 12:05
Ireland seminar: opportunities in the next hot market
David Maguire – Founder Director – BNRG Renewables
Lauren Cook – Analyst – Solar Media
John Mullins – CEO – Amarenco

12:10 – 13:05
Utility scale and large scale commercial solar in Sub Saharan Africa
Daniel Davies – Director of Hybrid Power Systems – Solarcentury
Manny Ajuwon – CEO – Oreed Group
Tom Kenning – Senior Reporter – PV-Tech

13:05 – 13:50
Global solar opportunities beyond the grid: learn how to access untapped markets
Ross Gilbert – Director – Azuri
Mike Rosenberg – CEO – Aleutia
Mansoor Hamayun – CEO – BBOXX
John-Paul McCorley – Director – Arbarr Energy Storage Technologies

13:50 – 14:10
Expanding beyond the UK: considerations for finance and how to manage your risk
Phill Potter – Export Finance Adviser – UK Export Finance

14:10 – 14:30
Corporate PPAs update
Scott Burrows – Managing Director – Eden Sustainable

14:40 – 15:00
Having confidence in your rooftop PV investment: BRE’s new PV certification scheme
Steve Pester – Principal Consultant – BRE National Solar Centre

15:00 – 15:20
Business rates on solar: all you need to know
Nick Wood – Policy Analyst – Solar Trade Association

15:20 – 15:40
How are you going to ensure your business can weather change?
Kate Coville – CEO – Orta Solar


Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?



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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7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees



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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