Friday 24 July 2015

Not much time left for the Solar Feed in Tariff?

Small commercial Solar
After new money saving measures announced by Amber Rudd on behalf of the Government over the past few days, renewables have been hit quite hard and are calculated to end solar PV funding as soon as possible. This will rid the Government of what
is now considered a funding headache. With the Green Deal, and other green funding knocked on the head, will small scale solar PV systems be next on the chopping block?...

If the Government can knock Solar FiT on the head, then most of this money will simply be flipped over to subsidise Nuclear power. More power for the National Grid needs to be found somewhere! Some years ago I noticed that in Gov press releases, Nuclear became renamed as a 'low carbon' power source. It can be seen as such, with a high health risk and a very hard to dispose of end product.. When operating correctly, in that squeakily fine balance between high efficiency and disaster, nuclear will provide a lot of power on a small geographic footprint, 24 hours a day... With a very low operational carbon footprint and extremely high operational cost. All to be funded by diverting our money from elsewhere.

Going back to Feed in Tariffs though.. When on April 1st 2016 the large scale ROC (renewable obligation certificate), scheme comes to an end, there will be a large bunch of investment funded companies kicking around with nothing to do, who have made a living from bleeding the the Government ROC scheme dry. Many of these companies are based offshore, thus UK money is going elsewhere. A scenario not considered by the Government all those years ago.

These companies on 1st April, will be determined not to be foolish enough to simply close up shop and go away.. I strongly expect that this Monday morning, after the usual moral boosting meeting,  sales guys will be moving over to finding large rooftops to populate with solar under the Feed in Tariff scheme. This will be disaster for Solar PV. Calculated by Government advisors, as if that gets played out, the smaller solar installers bread and butter will be killed off by the middle of the year when a massive degression is announced, reducing Feed in Tariff to such a small rate, it will not be worth installing... There goes the industry! Or maybe Amber Rudd will simply kill it all off before next year anyway?

Of course, people will still want solar to keep their power bills down, but realistically, the drive of the Feed in Tariff needs to keep the industry buoyant for a few more years until power bills take a few more price hikes and make people actually realise that simply making your own power is the way to go, even without FiT. By that time searching for someone to install PV properly will be difficult.

To my thinking, the easiest and best fix will be to limit FiT installations to sub 50kW systems, thus limit FiT payments and make it available for the people that actually need it .. Oh, and stop subsidising Nuclear and Fossil fuel production of course!!

Monday 13 July 2015

Off Grid in the middle of the city?

A recent installation we have completed is possibly the most curious and exciting, an Off Grid power system in the East End of London, not far from either docklands or the Olympic site at Stratford and smack in the middle of thousands of grid connected houses.

The reason is all for the sake of art!

Chisenhale Gallery were needing an off grid system to operate a specific set of equipment as part of an art installation. This installation operates 2 projectors and a sound system for 6-7 hours a day, and is the featured exhibition until the end of August 2015, see later.

Using our standard Off Grid calculator and also being re assured that the installation will only be run during the Summer months, we were able to use standard Victron Easy Solar, 6 @ 250Wp solar modules and a 600Ah battery set. This will run the system for 6 hours even on a cloudy day in August.

To complement the installation, it has been installed into a cage to provide an industrial aspect, plus of course keeping prying fingers away from the switches too!

If you are around in the area, go and see the installation at Chisenhale Gallery Nicholas Mangan's exhibition is running till the end of August.

At the end of the August, this complete installation is being sold on. The system generates enough power to run a small economic Off Grid house with ease. We will be storing and shipping it all from Devon. If you are looking for a ready to go Solar Based Off Grid system that has the provenance of being used at an esteemed art exhibition, email me for all the details. We can install if for you too!