Green Deal Logo

Is The Government Getting Serious About The Green Deal?

When a new government policy is announced its launch is often accompanied by concerns that its demise is not in the too distant future. How many times can we point to policy which hasn’t quite caught the public’s imagination (or caught too much of it) and then been promptly binned?
There’s plenty of us in the industry who have high hopes for the Green Deal, but also fear for its future. Involvement in the deal isn’t cheap; it costs large sums of money to get staff up to speed. And we all remember the Home Information Packs – how much money was squandered during its brief life?
So when we heard that the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) was to be substantially increased, we were naturally pleased. Not only because it means our customers will get an even better deal, but because of the involvement of the Green Deal. All new installations will now require a Green Deal assessment prior to payment of the grant. This will result in an additional cost to the customer (probably only around £75 more than the previous EPC requirement) but that’s more than offset by the new payment amount.

By involving the Green Deal in the RHPP, not only does this increase uptake and so boost public awareness, but it also encourages customers to look at other areas to save energy. Too often we face the perception that energy saving features cost more to implement than they save. We don’t enjoy the reliable sun of the Mediterranean; we need to use a lot of energy to keep ourselves comfortable.  The more the Green Deal is popularised, the more often we will see people turn to renewable energy as a way to save for the future.

So let’s hope this the RHPP strengthens the Green Deal and renewable energy in general, it’s certainty a step in the right direction

DECC Building

Renewable Heat Premium Payment Increase

Good news for a Monday afternoon; the Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) scheme has just been increased.

Previously the scheme was extended for another year, and today it has been announced that each installation will now receive an increased payment.

The payments now will be:

Solar Thermal: £600 (up from £300)

Air source heat pump: £1,300 (up from £850)

Ground source heat pump £2,300 (up from £1,250)

These represent significant increases on the previous payments.

One caveat has been introduced: each home installing these technologies will now need to undergo a Green Deal assessment. The intention is to ‘help householders think about how renewable heat could fit with energy efficiency improvements for their home and ensure they are advised on choosing the right technology for them’.

It’s not clear how this will affect new builds for whom a Green Deal assessment would be unnecessary. We have tweeted the government minister, when we find out we’ll update this blog.

For the original release follow this link



Solar Impulse HB-SIA

Solar Impulse Lands in Pheonix

Here’s an interesting story going that’s playing our currently in the US; the Solar Impulse has landed in Pheonix

For those that are new to this story, the Solar Impluse is a solar powered plane that is currently winging it’s way across America with intentions to circle the globe. The current incarnation (the HB-SIA), a prototype, will travel across the US. The follow-on, the HB-SIB, will then take on the world.

The SIA prototype is an impressive plane, its weight is comparable to an average size car. It boasts an huge wingspan, equalling an Airbus A340. Resting atop the plane’s wings are 11,628 solar panels powering 4 brushless electric engines averaging just 8 horsepower each.

And so far things are going according to plan. Last week the plane arrived in Pheonix, US.

To get more info on the project and the plane’s current locate follow this link

Prince Charles Attacks Climate Sceptics

It’s not often that the day to day activities of the get our attention here at Complete Renewables. However today Prince Charles voiced his opinion on climate change, claiming that not reacting to it immediately is akin to not operating on a sick patient, adding “If a doctor sees a child with a fever, he can’t wait for [endless] tests. He has to act on what is there”.

We do think he has a point, there is a worrying trend with the current government away from renewable energy. We’ve seen this with the drastic reduction in the Feed-in Tariff, the reintroduction of fracking and the delayed launch of the Renewable Heat Incentive.

The guardian has reported fully on this, to read the article follow this link

Window Socket Charger

Window Socket Portable Solar Charger

An interesting new invention has been making a lot of noise on Twitter recently. The Window Socket Portable Solar Charger (hopefully someone will invest a little thought into improving that name), is a prototype power source.

The theory goes it can simply be stuck to a window and it’ll provide a powered socket. Obviously it might take a while to charge your Prius, but it could prove useful for mobile phones and the like.

I suspect it may never make it to these shores though. With more overcast days than sunny, it might prove a long wait, even for a low powered device such as a phone. Still it’s a nice idea and it’s always good to see new technology based around green ideas.

BMW Car Port

The Solarge is on it’s way

A while back we at Complete Renewables invented the ‘Solarge’. This was in response to the growing demand for electric vehicles. The idea is simple: install solar panels on your garage’s roof and charge your electric car. In practice though there are complications. Firstly when the sun’s out, it’s likely your car will also be out. Secondly the set-up costs were proving to be expensive.

However we did create a few clever solutions. To combat the badly timed sunshine a Sun Bat was employed. This device connects directly to the solar panels and essentially acts as a large battery. This allows the user to capture the sun’s power during the day, then discharge at night. Furthermore as the system is grid connected it would be eligible for the Feed-In tariff. So whilst you charge you car, you would also receive payment for doing so. Put simply you get paid to fill-up your car. Now compare that to the costs of a petrol or diesel tank of fuel and you’ve got quite a good deal.

Lamentably we’ve not managed to get the idea of the ground, we’ll need to wait for electric cars to gain popularity.

However whilst we’ve been getting on with other forms of renewable energy, it appears BMW have been thinking along the same lines. In preparation for their upcoming range of electric vehicles they’ve been working on electric car ports. Admittedly the name isn’t as catchy as ‘The Solarge’, but it sounds essentially like the same thing.

Well good luck to BMW, if they need a hand with development I’m sure they’ll get in touch. If you’d like to read more about this click here to see the original press release. Or if you are interested in a Solarge yourself, then please email me for more information 

Complete installation of solar panels on roof in Essex

Church Solar Panel Installation – Commercial Feed-In Tariff

Church roof mounted solar panelsOver the last year we’ve been working with Crowstone St. George United Reformed Church to install a 12.5 kW system. Larger projects such as these are necessarily more complicated and so can take some time to complete. In the case of Crowstone church, there were various internal factors which added to consultation time prior to installation process. Such factors are based on board approval, general announcements/notice time and revenue raising. During this time we are often called on to provide more information and even sometime present information to various groups. We’re always happy to take this time to do this. We appreciate that when many people are involved, and when the interests are broader than a private installation, it pays to take the time to ensure that every aspect is covered.
Solar panels being fitted to church roofThe installation itself was for an array of 50 250W panels, with an estimated yield of 10,730kWh per year. The Feed-In tariff is available for commercial entities for an amended amount. This still represents a great investment. For commercial organisations the Feed-In tariff will provide a significant long-term revenue yield. Installations of this type are also popular for farmers, supermarkets and most large buildings. Whereas domestic households use most electricity during the evening and at weekends, commercial premises generally use their power during the day. This can represent significant saving as less power is returned to the grid and instead used on site.
As you can image installing 50 panels on a historic church’s roof involves a great deal of responsibility and careful treading. Scaffolding was installed to ensure that our workmen had easy access to all aspects of the church’s roof. Furthermore we took great care when working with tiles of this age.

We are happy to report that the church installation was a resounding success. The job was completed in under a week, in keeping with our agreed timetable. The system is currently running and generating a healthy return for the church.

Complete installation of solar panels on roof in Essex

Solar Panel roof installation essex

Why are solar panels not a more popular option for home owners?

Home energy costs are on the rise, especially given the recent cold winter. Furthermore it’s hard to find any strong indicator that gas and electricity prices are set to decrease. Even the expected boost in gas production from shale gas is not assured (

On the other hand solar panel installations have never been cheaper; Complete Renewables are now offering 16 panel 4kW arrays starting at under £6,000. The Feed-In tariff is still providing government back payments, leading to returns of over 12%.

There’s also technological innovations such as Solar Cache, which allows homeowners to divert unused electricity generated during the day to heat their hot water. This can represent significant saving, especially for families who are mostly not at home during the day.

When solar is combined with other renewable technologies, there is yet more potential to save both money and energy. For example many of our customers who choose to install ground or air source heat pumps also install solar.

With this list of benefits, why doesn’t every roof have a panel array? Well there’s the obvious reasons; lack of funds, rental properties, short-term occupancy.  However this only discounts a minority of homes. One explanation we hear often is that homeowners believe they have ‘missed the boat’, that the Feed-In tariff used to a great deal, now it is hardly worth it. It is true that the Feed-In tariff was once more generous, however it still does still represent a quantifiably strong investment. Returns average around 12%, there are very few alternative options with these kind of guaranteed returns. The bank certainly won’t match those figures.

How about the lack of understanding that seems to shroud the industry? There has always been a stigma associated with renewable energies. The same scepticism that wind and wave generated power suffer from. Even heat pumps suffer this: ‘How can heat pumps possibly work in cold weather?’ is a question we hear often. The general public can often be reluctant to believe that a new technology which harnesses solar power (even indirectly, such as wind and heat pumps) can create the necessary power, in the way fossil fuels can. This is, of course, despite the fact that fossil fuels originate their energy from the sun themselves – organic compounds, etc.

It’s not that renewable technologies are any more complicated. Maybe it’s that mostly we’ve all lived through their infancy and development. We’ve heard the anecdotes about wind turbines that cost more in energy to construct than they’ll generate in their lifespan. Although maybe this points to another issue; a generally unenthusiastic media – when did you last read a positive story about renewable energy in the press? Maybe it’s just easier and more appealing to note the negative story. Let’s face it, our media is more interested in what’s going wrong than what’s going right.