Posted by Chloe Bennett on Thursday, 6th September
In a statement released today, David Cameron has released details of his plans to help revitalise the construction industry. His statement highlighted details of how the cabinet are pursuing the removal of some of the restrictions that currently surround measures to gain planning permission.
This announcement comes at a time where the construction industry has received a slight dip in growth due to the amount of hurdles homeowners have to overcome in order to begin works on their homes. According to the independent “almost 200,000 households apply each year for permission to make improvements such as conservatories, rear extensions and garage conversions;” however the process of gaining planning permission can take years. By temporarily removing the bureaucracy surrounding planning permission, homeowners will be able to expand with no need to ask their local authority. This rule will apply to shops, offices and industrial units during this time.
The current rules stipulate that single-storey extensions can be construction freely without the need for planning permission providing they do not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by a set distance. The limit for semidetached properties is 3 meters whilst an extra meter is given to detached properties looking to extend in this way. Under the new rules, set to be enforced next month, these limits will be doubled however these changes are not currently set to apply to loft extensions.
“The measures announced today show this government is serious about rolling its sleeves up and doing all it can to kick-start the economy,” Cameron said.
“Some of the proposals are controversial; others have been a long time in coming,” he said. “But along with our housing strategy, they provide a comprehensive plan to unleash one of the biggest homebuilding programmes this country has seen in a generation. That means more investment around the county; more jobs for our people; and more young families able to realize their dreams and get on the housing ladder.”
George Osborne’s ‘£60 billion’ investment into the infrastructure is also set to help first-time buyers who will be offered equity loans of up to 20% of the property value that can be used as a deposit.
Labels: company news, electrical, david cameron, government
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Wednesday, 11th July
Today we can reveal the government’s response to the Parliamentary Select Committees report on Part P of the building regulations which comes in the form of a 14 page document confirming that Part P will be made mandatory but improved.
This comes as no surprise seeing at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) indicated these findings in their report which was published in earlier this year. The report outlines the need for revisions however as government are “satisfied that Part P has been successful in driving up standards and in reducing the number of electrical faults. We would therefore be reluctant to endorse any diminution of the scope or operation of Part P, which might reverse that trend.”
In attempt to raise public awareness over electrical safety in the home, the government have said they “have introduced new provisions, which require scheme operators to promote and publicise the benefits of Competent Person Schemes and raise public awareness of the responsibility to comply with 12 the Building Regulations. We see merit in the scheme providers working in partnership with retailers and manufacturers and will encourage them to do so.”
However the government feels that “There are already good examples of retailers providing the public with information on the Building Regulation and safety requirements. The Government would welcome further voluntary action by retailers and manufacturers but at present the Government does not believe there is a need for regulation."
The DCLG have confirmed they will be “actively seeking all available evidence” before any final decisions. Any changes are likely to come into place in April 2013.
The full report can be downloaded here.
Labels: electrical, part p, government
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Tuesday, 22nd May
Today the Department of Energy and Climate Change published the long awaited Draft Energy Bill which includes details of the UK Electricity Market Reform (EMR).
The EMR details how the government intends to plan the future of the UK’s electrical market and how we can move our traditionally sourced supply to meet our green energy targets of 15% by 2020 and 80% by 2050.
For those who don’t want to flick through the 302 page document, we have outlined the key points from the EMR below and defined the two main revisions.
EMR: The Main Objectives
To secure the investment needed to deliver a reliable and sustainably diverse low carbon technology mix.
To help maintain the government’s long term vision of creating a market full of low carbon energy generators that perform fairly and at stable carbon price’s. This vision is at least 10-15 years away as many carbon generators are still in the midst of development.
Provide key processes that enable us to meet and enforce the long term vision.
Government hope to achieve these objectives through the following two revisions;
The government have appointed the National Grid as an independent System operator to provide analytical basis for government decisions.
The government have also asked the National grid to administer new systems of low-carbon generation revenue support known as ‘Contracts for Difference’ (CfDs) and a Capacity Market.
By announcing these two main reforms, are positives steps towards a safer future and will leave the UK less vulnerable to growing energy prices and relieving some of the stress of the 250,000 jobs in the energy sector.
The full Draft Energy Bill can be read by clicking here.
Labels: renewable energy, government
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Thursday, 10th May
Yesterday the Queen’s speech confirmed a number of important plans for the year ahead whilst setting out her government agenda yesterday. Some of the announcements were to be expected, however there were some real positive moves as well as some controversial points which are bound to create a stir.
However the following may affect the practising electrician so they’re worth a skim:
An energy bill detailing the Coalition's proposals for electricity market reform was announced yesterday. The Bill is scheduled to become law in 2013 and will ‘propose reform of the electricity market to deliver secure, clean, and affordable electricity, and ensure prices are fair’.
This bill has been on the agenda for some time so was positive news for the industry to hear it being confirmed yesterday. The bill is expected to be published on 22nd May 2012 as the ‘crucial legislation’ will be able to ‘keep the lights on and emissions down in a more cost-effective way, while reaping the economic benefits’. It is set to reform the electricity market by encouraging more investment in low carbon generation and trying to ensure that electricity is delivered securely, clean and that prices are fair.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill
Ever been put off employing extra staff in fear that if it doesn’t work out you could be left liable? In a bid to give employers more confidence to hire staff, the ‘enterprise and regulatory reform bill’ aims to make it simpler to dismiss them. By giving employers more power it may encourage "settlement agreements” and the like so that workers could be paid off by consent.
A Banking Reform Bill
This bill aims to push banks to lend to more individuals and businesses rather than invest in large corporate companies. By the retails banks separating their retail arms like this we can hopefully prevent the need for future bank bailouts
In an attempt to equalise the need to spend time with your children when they are first born, maternity and paternity leave will be made more flexible so mothers and fathers can share caring responsibilities. In addition to this the process of inter-racial adoption will be made easier along with equalising access to children when parents separate or divorce.
Labels: government, renewable energy, electrical
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Tuesday, 24th April
Starting tomorrow, the UK will be hosting the third ‘Clean Energy Ministerial’ (CEM3) at Lancaster House in London. During the two day event, the CEM3 aims outline how to accelerate the transition to clean energy technologies.
Even though the event covers a vast range of renewable technologies such as solar, bioenergy and hydropower; the main topic to be discussed is thought to be wind power. ‘Floating wind turbines’ as the DECC have put in in their press release, is to be the ‘initial focus of a new agreement between Britain and the United states’ and energy ministers are said to be convening at this event to begin discussing the deployment of this technology.
Commenting on the agreement, Energy Secretary Edward Davey has said:
“Britain has more wind turbines installed around its shores than any other country in the world and our market is rated year after year as the most attractive market among investors.
“Offshore wind is critical for the UK’s energy future and there is big interest around the world in what we’re doing.
“Floating wind turbines will allow us to exploit more of our wind resource, potentially more cheaply.
“Turbines will be able to locate in ever deeper waters where the wind is stronger but without the expense of foundations down to the seabed or having to undertake major repairs out at sea.
“The UK and US are both making funding available for this technology and we’re determined to work together to capitalise on this shared intent.”
Overall 23 energy ministers will be attending the two day event from some of the world’s leading economies and will it be interesting to see what the gathering will produce.
Labels: government, renewable energy
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Wednesday, 18th April
As Easter weekend is one of the most popular times of year for homeowners to begin a bit of DIY, it’s consequently one the busiest times in casualty with insurance companies reporting a 44% increase in accidental damage claims.*
Shockingly over 75% of DIYers will have attempted to dabble in a bit of home maintenance without having ANY form of expert help. Needless to say the danger that these people will have put themselves is absurd; however it may not be without guidance from no other than our own government.
As an initiative to encourage tenants of social housing landlords to carry out their own repairs and improvements, the government have launched a ‘Tenants Cash back Scheme.’ This scheme is to ‘award’ tenants up to £500 a year for carrying out minor repairs onto their homes such as painting and decorating and fixing leaky taps.
The Housing Minister, Mr Grant Schapps has even gone on to encourage those who pick up a taste for the skills to begin a new ‘fulfilling career’ by starting works in their own homes.
As electrical training specialists, we campaign to prevent unqualified works occurring in the home by raising awareness of the types of dangers that can transpire when untrained persons attempt their own installations. Without the right guidance, knowledge and equipment the unthinkable tragedies can occur because let’s face it – electricity kills.
It is shocking that Mr Schapps is prepared to endorse untrained works in the home; it makes a mockery of the small contractor companies and training companies that fight hard and train hard to minimalise rogue traders and the injury and fatalities that occur with this type of work. Cash like this would be better spent reviving the famous Feed-In-Tariffs rather than awarding the unqualified.
The scheme has the potential to cause chaos as untrained tenants scour their properties for broken/damaged fixtures in a hope for getting some fast cash. One can only hope that tenants don’t begin to purposely inflict damage to their own properties in a bid to obtain this cash.
In recession led time, it’s understandable that organisations outline strategies to manage budgets but at what cost? the nations safety? Good one Mr Schapps!
* - Santander Insurance statistic
Image Source: http://www.idealgroupuk.co.uk
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Friday, 23rd March
BREAKING NEWS: The Supreme Court has today thrown out the government's appeal against a previous ruling that deemed its controversial changes to solar feed-in tariff (FIT) incentives as unlawful.
This ruling means that companies who installed panels between December 2011 and March 2012 will receive the high feed-in-tariff rate of 43.3p kWh instead of the 21p/kWh initially proposed by the government.
This long awaited decision finally closes the door on the drawn out saga generated by the government and highlights their ‘unlawful’ attempt to cut the feed-in-tariffs (FiT’s) at an unprecedented rate last year.
Even though the decision is one step forward for solar, fresh cuts are anticipated as the FiT’s will undoubtedly continue to exceed its budget this year allowing the government to bring out a second round of cuts to the incentive scheme.
"The extra money DECC will now have to commit leaves us with serious concerns about the remaining FIT budget, which remains constrained under the Levy Control Framework," said Paul Barwell, chief executive at the Solar Trade Association.
Labels: solar pv, feed-in-tariff, government, decc
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Thursday, 9th February
MP Shows His Support for Electrical Apprentices
Crawley MP Henry Smith got the chance to meet several prospective electrical apprentices today as he visited our dedicated electrical centre in Crawley, West Sussex.
As part of National Apprenticeship week, we are holding three taster days for young people looking to learn about apprenticeships and what a career in electrics could offer them.
“To get support from Henry on a day like today is fantastic; he was able to get his message of support across to the students themselves and help them realise what a lucrative career electrics is,” said Carl Bennett, Managing Director of Trade Skills 4U.
“Carl Bennett and Trade Skills 4U are doing incredible things here; the facilities are excellent and they really care about young people and their futures. Electrics are a stable and worthwhile career option and I am extremely grateful for the work they are doing at Trade Skills 4U,” Said Henry Smith MP.
As part of our on-going support for electrical apprentices, we are holding electrical taster weeks throughout the year for those who are looking to get some hands on experience to see if this career is for them.
These young person’s Apprenticeship taster weeks cost £120.00 for 5 days of training and can be made bespoke by schools or colleges looking to encourage students to take up this type of learning after they finish school at 16 or after college at 18.
If you are from a school or college and are interested in this type of event, call us on 01293 529777 and ask for Chloe.
Labels: company news, events, apprenticeships, government
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Monday, 30th January
On Wednesday 25th January 2012 the DECC lost their appeal against the tariff rates and have since announced their intention for further appeal. The court of appeal haven’t yet granted the DECC permission for further appeal but they are seeking direct permission from the Supreme Court in which to do so.
Should they be granted leave to appeal and become successful it could take up to a year before the final outcome is known. This appeal could also mean that they will be able to legislate to apply new tariff from the 12th December reference date.
Oh the uncertainty.
This uncertainty of not being able to guarantee either tariff rate (reduced rate at 21p kwh or last year’s higher rate of 43.3p kwh) on installations made between 12 December 2011 and 3rd March 2012, means that installers cannot correctly promote their services and homeowners are less confident about installing panels when they are less certain about the return of investment.
Delaying the outcome of the case could cause further damage to the industry due to the negative hype they’re continuing to create. The government are very keen not to give away 43.3p kwh as they simply cannot afford it so are trying their best to put off other buyers & installers off solar for selfish reasons until the next consultation on 3rd March 2012.
In an announcement by the DECC and in their formal response to question 1 of the consultation they have however confirmed that tariff rates will be no lower than 21p kwh from 1st April 2012 even if they government win their appeal.
Homeowners should be jumping at the chance to get involved as they may potentially be eligible to receive the higher rate of 43.3p kWh should the government lose their appeal. They have already lost twice so it might just be worth the gamble.
Labels: feed-in-tariff, government, decc
Posted by Christos Panayiotou on Wednesday, 25th January
Towards the end of the year we blogged about how the government cuts to the feed in tariff had been ruled unlawful. At the time the government were not given leave to appeal but they then proceeded to do just that. However the Court of Appeal has today denied the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) a hearing for its appeal against the High Court’s ruling back in 2011
So what does this mean?
There is still some confusion about what happens now. Essentially the feed-in tariff will increase back to 43.3p for system installed on or before March 3, 2012. It also means that for many people who had solar PV systems installed since the original proposed cut off date of December 12, and those who intend to install systems before the March 3 cut-off point, will receive the higher feed-in tariff rates for the full 25 years. Installations completed and registered on or after March 3 will qualify for the current higher rate until April 1, at which point the rates will drop to 21p. **(See update below)
The decision is likely to lead to another period of frantic activity and installations for many in the industry. The original announcement was made back in November and provided just over 1 month for installers to complete their installations. As a result more PV installation were completed in November than for previous months in 2011.
Many in the industry see this decision as a victory for common sense and justice:
Daniel Green, CEO of HomeSun, said: “Four judges, including three in the Court of Appeal, have now called the Government’s actions illegal. That’s a four-nil victory and a decisive ruling that Government may not make retrospective changes to the FiT because, as Lord Justice Moses concludes, to do so ‘would be to take away an existing entitlement without statutory authority.’”
“Both this appeal and the Judicial Review in The High Court would not have been required had DECC simply followed its own process and allowed the industry, that it claims to support, time to prepare for a lower feed-in tariff,” continued Green.
It is right that the government be held accountable for their actions and the way in which rash decision and actions impact on industry. However what the industry really needs now and in the future is stability. Hopefully the ruling will help towards this. Greg Barker said it best when he tweeted:
“Win, lose or draw today, important we move forward together, drive down costs + step up deployment.”
This is and will be the key aim for the industry moving forwards.
**UPDATE: 12.30pm: The government within the last hour has confirmed they intend to appeal this decision. As such this again throws uncertainty over whether or not PV installations will qualify for the higher tariff despite the fact it is highly unlikely the government will win this appeal.
Labels: government, decc, feed-in-tariff
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Monday, 16th January
Once upon a time, the 'greenest government yet ' launched an incentive scheme rewarding a homeowner with 43.3 kwph for every unit of electricity generated via solar energy. This new incentive was called the Feed-in-Tariff which promoted the production of green energy which could be fed back into the national grid. By contributing to the production of green energy, the government agreed to look after the homeowner’s investment by allowing the rate to be protected for up to 25 years.
However in December last year, the fairy tale hit the rocky middle part where the ogre (we’ll call him Greg Barker) rushed to cut the incentive scheme in half because his incentive pot of gold started to dry up. Instead of adapting some sensible planning with plenty of notice, Barker opted for a quick fix which jeopardised nearly 30,000 jobs.
The ‘quick fix’ was cutting the subsidy from 43.3 kwph to 21 kwph overnight and leaving solar PV installers and homeowners with less than 40 days’ notice. Needless to say this sent the industry into panic as homeowners wanted to secure the higher rate and there simply weren’t enough installers to do the jobs they were confronted with. Great news for the installer in the short term, but this opened up a pit of uncertainty as no one could rightly say what the industry would look like in the New Year.
Meanwhile, Environmental and Climate change company, Friends of the Earth started campaigning that the FIT cuts were ‘unlawful’ and won a high court case against the government. Since then, the government appealed the court ruling in early January and we’ve all been clinging to our seats since to hear how this story ends.
Well the ending has been err...delayed and it turns out the judge ruling on the governments appeal case, has postponed his decision which will undoubtedly create more uncertainty for the industry and its future.
How will it end?
Fingers crossed the government loses they’re appeal, the ogre will get a slap on the wrist and everyone can get the chance to get their pot of gold before the inevitable review date of 1st April. The sooner the appeal decision is announced, the sooner we can repair the holes the government has created in such a lucrative industry. It’s a shame it’s had to come to this, but the good guy always wins in the end don’t they?
Meanwhile: At least we've got support from our MP Henry Smith:
(Image above was in reply to email sent from company director Carl Bennett regarding FIT support.)
disneycastle - Imagesource@thecontaminated.com
Labels: feed-in-tariff, government
Posted by Christos Panayiotou on Thursday, 22nd December
So last night the government’s decision to cut feed in Tariff’s on December the 12th was ruled unlawful by a high court judge. The judge also said that the government had been “incompetent” in the way it handled the cuts.
The result of this decision has seen many people in the industry celebrating that common sense and justice prevailed. Everyone in the industry agreed the tariff’s need to be cut to ensure longevity of the scheme and stability for years to come. However the timescales provided by the government to cut the tariff’s before it had completed its consultation period was the key issue. It was quite clearly rushed through and didn’t take into full account the impact on the industry, consumers and the cost of energy in the future.
So what happens now?
Despite the fact that the government was not given leave to appeal, they are applying for permission to do just that. This must be done by the 4th January. If it isn’t then the higher rate of 43.3p per kwh will apply until the end of the parliamentary process meaning thousands more homeowners will benefit from better returns probably until April 2012.
This means that many installers who have been working around the clock in the past few weeks will be doing so again in the New Year as another rush to complete numerous projects may ensue.
What is likely to happen in the future?
Whatever happens the tariff’s will need to come down to ensure they can be maintained long term. It is possible that the government will appeal and win, however we believe this is unlikely based on the rulings of the high court judge yesterday. We expect following a proper period of consultation the government will recognise the tariff supports not only a growing industry, but also much tax revenue. It should also recognise that many studies confirm that the main increase in the household energy bills is due to the rising cost of gas and In fact the better than expected uptake of solar PV will in reduce the cost of energy in the future.
So following proper consultation and review we expect that cuts will happen in April and further into the future but should be carried out in a more realistic and manageable way. If the review takes all of these factors into account then it is likely that the cuts will not be so deep and so quick. Whatever happens it is clear that solar PV is going to be here for some time to come and is clearly a very important part of the renewable energy market. Despite the original cuts in December many installers still found orders coming in for the New Year and demand remained above levels seen at the start of 2011 for many that we spoke to.
In the short term the real winners here are likely to be homeowners who have had installations booked in after the 12th December deadline many of which at a greatly reduced price. Not only will they have paid less but they are likely to receive the higher tariff.
Labels: feed-in-tariff, government
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Tuesday, 29th November
Validation time; Greg Barker to face questions over solar incentive cuts
Today a rare inquiry is set to take place as MP’s from two parliamentary select committees aim to seek facts over rapid incentive cuts and their effect on the UK’s solar industry. This inquiry is set to help establish the impact on job creation, social housing and community schemes.
The inquiry will be chaired by MP Tim Yeo, the Energy and Climate Change Committee and Environmental Audit Committee, and will question Greg Barker this afternoon and as well as the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Permanent Secretary Moira Wallace and DECC Director General Simon Virley.
"We just want to try and understand how the government came to reach a decision to cut the incentive so quickly and what impact that's going to have in getting solar PV into the energy mix on a long-term basis," said Environmental Audit Committee chairwoman, Joan Walley MP.
The inquiry will result in a report containing recommendations of which the DECC is required to respond to. Even though we agree that the current FiT rates are unsustainable and a cut was necessary to protect future incentives, it will be interesting to see how Barker defends the time period in which the cuts are being incorporated. Installers have had less than 40 days to complete installations to ensure that their customers received the higher incentive of 43.3p KwH. Even Barker must admit that he could have handled this better.
Labels: feed-in-tariff, government
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Thursday, 24th November
Today our ambitious government have announced a new funding scheme to help encourage the UK’s householder into making their home more energy efficient.
This scheme, called the Green Deal, will kick off in October 2012 with 200 million pounds worth of incentives to encourage homeowners to take out loans and invest in energy saving measures. The ‘golden rule’ is that the homeowner’s savings will be greater than the loan repayments.
The £200 million funding from the Treasury could be worth hundreds to those that take up the deal in the first year however how this incentive is actually being delivered is yet to be announced. Discounts on council tax and cash back offers are amongst the few that have been mentioned at present.
This announcement also combined details of the eagerly awaited Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which will officially start next week. The launch of the first phase of the scheme was delayed due to EU state aid appeal but is now back on track and open for business. The RHI itself is an incentive scheme similar to the Solar PV Feed in Tariff (FIT), which was launched back in April 2010, where financial support is provided to individuals, communities and business for switching from using traditional fossil fuels for heating to renewable courses such as wood pellets using biomass boilers and water fuel using solar thermal technology.
Although it is obviously good news that the government are still investing big bucks into this industry, those that have been affected by the recent FIT cuts might be cautious of this new funding announcement. However there is one thing we can be sure of; where there are incentives there will be demand, when there is sufficient demand there may be revisions so it’s always best to get in first.
Labels: government, green deal, solar pv, decc
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Wednesday, 2nd November
Since the announcement of the Feed-in-tariff cuts on 31st October 2011, everyone is in an absolute rush to make sure their installation is completed before the deadline of 12th December 2011 in order to be eligible for the ‘old’ tariff rate of 43.3p kWh.
We’ve received so many calls as of late by some of our partners who specialise in solar PV installation proclaiming the urgency to get hold of installers so that they can implement as many installations as possible before the December deadline.
One of our partners said:
“Up until this announcement we were normally completing 17 installations a month, over the past two days we’ve done 20 installations!”
In order to do what we can we’ve done a mail shot to every installer that has completed wither BPEC solar PV installation course or the City & Guilds 2399 solar PV installation course with us and asked them to contact the following companies if they are looking for work.
If you are a solar PV installer and are looking for work: give the following companies a call as they are crying out for you.
• RIG Energy Recruitment
• The Green Homes Company
• JoJu Solar
Keep an eye out for our jobs page as we are currently developing this to include both job opportunities as well as a skills swap exchange feature.
Labels: company news, solar pv, feed-in-tariff, government, decc
Posted by Christos Panayiotou on Tuesday, 1st November
On the 31st of October a consultation document reviewing the Feed In Tariffs (FIT’s) was published. Since then there has been much speculation on the impact of the solar industry. In the document there are proposals to cut the feed in tariffs for a variety of installations. These are proposals only.
The reason for the change is due to the better than expected take up of solar panels which has subsequently reduced cost of the installation. Essentially the scheme has been too successful. With the cost of the panels and installation dropping so quickly the FIT tariff shone out as a not just a great option to go carbon neutral but also one of the best investment opportunities in the UK.
The tariff was always going to be reduced at regular intervals to keep them in line with the cost of installation, which will continue to decrease. So the fact that they are being cut comes as no surprise and makes perfect sense. The industry will still be subsidised and will still continue to grow. Minister of Energy and Climate Change Greg Barker defended the proposed cuts on Monday morning, saying: ‘Being sensible with tariffs means there will be more money to go round.’
Any installs for retro fit properties registered before the 12th of December will still be eligible to receive the 43.3p per kWh. Following this date homeowners will be subject to the lower tariff of 21p per kWh. However this is all to be confirmed on the 23rd December and could still be subject to change.
So what does this all mean for the installer?
It’s not bad news; in the long term; it’s good news.
We’ve no doubt the immediate reaction to this will be panic, but that should not be the reaction. The original idea of FIT’s was to support the small individual domestic installation, not give tax dollars to ‘free roof’ companies. The review reinforces the original idea and in the long term small installer will become the dominant installers of the PV industry.
Many free roof companies are up in arms in particular about the short timescale given for these changes to come into force. The biggest issue appears to be that there will be a huge rush over the next six weeks to complete projects which have already been commissioned under the old rules. This puts a huge amount of strain on an industry which is still short of labour resources.
With just a six week window to complete installations some companies have already seen a 400% increase in orders for parts and resources in just 1 day.
‘Free roof’ companies will reduce but not disappear despite opinions at the moment , that will mean more opportunity for the small installer, sensible pricing, intelligent selling to customers, in other words proper ways to run small businesses will secure a good opportunity for years to come.
It’s good business for the installer or smaller companies that specialise in retro fit.
Although some people are up in arms about the cuts, the industry will still remain to be very heavily subsidised. For the majority of homeowners (those in the retro fit category) they can still achieve returns of around 5% per year tax free. This is still far greater than many other opportunities that exist at present. Also this return on investment will increase as energy bills for fossil fuels continue to soar in the next 25 years. So this means there will still be a market for retro fit solar PV installations which is the main stay of your average installer.
One area that will be affected negatively will be the market for free solar panels where companies fit the panels and then claim the FIT whilst home owners get free electricity. This will hit some larger companies in particular.
However the decline in free solar may also push more customers into funding their own installations meaning greater demand for smaller installations.
Long Term Impact
These changes actually mean that the solar industry will see continued and sustainable growth. Industry experts have been calling for cuts to the tariff for some time to ensure that the industry is not overrun by large corporations simply looking to suck up the subsidies available.
By bringing the subsidies in line with the cost of installation the solar industry will be forced to operate in a more completive market bringing the cost of installation down further within the reach of more home owners. Some panels are now 70% cheaper than this time last year.
It also means that many of the companies that have simply sprung up to feed off the tariffs may fall by the way side leaving those serious about green energy to continue providing green solutions to people who are also passionate about more than just their bank balance.
Regardless of the cuts it is clear that the solar industry will continue to grow as the cost of fossil fuels increases and the cost of installation will continue to drop. The recent cuts merely rebalance returns for consumers in line with their investment and at the new levels this will still run at around 5%. This is based on the current cost of installation and current cost of energy. Of course energy prices are going up at an unbelievable rate which only ever makes the figures work better. However with improved efficiency in panels, more skilled labour in the market and lower costs for technology the ROI on a solar PV will continue to increase.
So in conclusion, don’t panic, think about PV business as a sensible growth opportunity and not a fast buck deal, price sensibly, install properly and it will serve you well.
If you are looking at electrician training solar PV will still remain a key part of an electrician’s skills set. In fact it has been built in as standard to the new City & Guilds 2357 and EAL electrician courses.
Solar PV courses are also still a great addition to a domestic installer’s skillset and a worthwhile investment of time and money.
Labels: feed-in-tariff, government, decc, solar pv
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Friday, 7th October
Well it didn’t ACTUALLY catch fire, but he must have burnt his fingers off yesterday and he fired through the some 300+ questions that were tweeted/emailed during TwitterUK’s Question & Answer series live yesterday using hashtag #askenergy.
Lots of industry related questions answering those poised on rising energy prices and household energy bills were thrown at him and we must say, he did his best!
Greg Barker started the morning by saying:
Hi everyone - we're just about to get started #AskEnergy [via Twitter]
And ended with:
times up im afraid. good fun but answers frustratingly short, if you found it useful let me know & will do again. #askenergy @gregbarkermp [via Twitter]
For those of you who didn’t get your question answered Mr Barker and his team plan to publish answers over the coming days.
We particular like:
Setting up Marine Energy Parks and giving more money to get projects in water.UK marine has huge industrial potential which I am backing [via Twitter]
We’re an island after all and we’ve all got to work with what we’ve got.
To see more of his tweets from the day see www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/_twitterqa/_twitterqa.aspx
Labels: decc, government
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Thursday, 28th July
Electrical contractors and renewable installers could be in high demand, as the proposed £110 billion investment is set to revamp the UK’s electricity generation infrastructure.
This huge venture has led experts to call on the government to incentivise training in the electrical and renewable energy (R.E) industries and it is expected that 115,000 new jobs will be created over the next ten years.
However this investment isn’t R.E specific and multi-skilled tradesmen such as electricians and plumbers will be able to enjoy the jobs demand too. “The idea that somehow we’ve been massively investing in renewables is absolute nonsense,” Energy Secretary Chris Huhne said on Tuesday. “We are catching up from a very low base. We’ve had 25 years of dithering on energy investment. We’ve got to stop dithering, because decision time is coming. You can have investment or you can have blackouts.”
This announcement comes from the new White Paper on Electricity Market Reform (EMR) from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC.) It outlines a plan to raise the percentage of R.E produced by 30% by 2030; it accounts for just 3% of the UK’s energy portfolio today. By raising the bar and investing in the countries energy generation infrastructure, it will help the UK move away from the more unreliable traditional fuel sources such as oil, and help to meet it’s legally binding carbon targets.
To ensure that our government is the “greenest government ever,’ officials at the DECC have confirmed that they will be spending £30 million over the next four years on developing green technology that’ll help power up the national grid and keep the countries lights on. This is the most significant change to Britain’s electricity sector since the privatisation in 1990 and the EMR is expected to pass into law in 2013.
Interested parties can still get into the industry before the boom by training or retraining in renewable energy technologies – as long as they chose a reliable course.
Trade Skills 4U are members of the Solar Trade Association and the Renewable Energy Association – so we are expertly able to offer training in renewable energy courses.
Trade Skills 4U have a dedicated Renewable Energy Training Centre, where first-time students and experienced personnel alike can train in renewable energy courses approved by BPEC, City & Guilds and NICEIC.
We offer a wide range of renewable energy courses for installers, sales consultants and industry professionals. Courses such as our Solar PV, Solar Thermal and Rainwater Harvesting are conducted on purpose built facilities within our centre and have received fantastic feedback from our accredited bodies and partners.
Training with Trade Skills 4U, could enable you to become fully qualified ahead of the boom in renewable energy.
Image Source @ eastsussexplumbingandheating.co.uk
Labels: decc, government, renewable energy, solar pv
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Thursday, 14th July
The Renewable Energy Roadmap, the first of its kind in the UK, is set to accelerate the deployment and use of renewable energy in the UK. It plans to put us on ‘path to achieve our 2020 target’ while focusing on the matters that are of interest to the consumer such as delivering long term change with minimum cost. The 107 page document identifies eight technologies that have the potential to help the UK meet its target of sourcing 15% of its electricity from renewable sources.
‘The Government’s Electricity Market Reform White Paper, published alongside this Roadmap, sets out our reforms to the separate Great Britain and Northern Ireland markets for all forms of electricity generation. Reform will ensure that low-carbon electricity from a diverse range of sources - not just renewables - becomes a more attractive choice for investors, delivering long-term change while minimising cost to the consumer,’ says the department of climate change.
Changing the focus?
Because renewable energy isn’t just about electricity; the focus has moved onto the heat, wind and biomass technologies such as solar thermal and heat pumps. These have actually been around a lot longer than the popular solar PV, however because the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) has taken some time to establish itself, the demand for these aren’t quite as high…yet.
There has been a real global appetite for solar PV and since the UK launched the Feed-in-Tariff in April last year, the interest in this technology has grown because of the sheer benefits available. The incentive for solar power has been supported by the Renewable Obligation which protects the incentive once it has been reviewed from 2013-2017.
A report published by Ernst & Young 2011 reveals the uptake of the scheme and states that by the end of May 2011 ‘nearly 38,000 solar PV installations in Great Britain were receiving support through the Feed-in Tariff’ which shows how popular this technology has become. Considering the impact solar PV and other solar technologies and how they contributed to the 2020 target so far, It was quite surprising to read that solar PV was left of the list of technologies.
The Renewable Roadmap clearly outlines ways to promote other technologies focuses on these particular 8 technologies that the government feel have the most potential to help the UK meet its 2020 targets in the most cost effective and sustain way.
• On shore Wind
• Offshore Wind
• Marine Energy
• Biomass Electricity
• Biomass Heat
• Ground and Air Source Heat Pumps
• Renewable Transport
Creating actions for these key technologies will allow the UK drive the cost of deploying these energies down, whilst enabling them to mature so that medium to long-term they will not need additional support to compete with other low carbon technologies.
‘A lack of good quality heat installers and engineers’
For those that are most interested in training to installer renewable heat, this new financial strategy should encourage installation of equipment like heat pumps and biomass, reducing emissions and helping support of 150,000 jobs in the UK’s heating industry. The renewable energy industry already employs more than a quarter of a million people and by the time we reach 2020, that number could reach to over half a million. This industry has created news jobs within the sector and given indirect support and benefits to sustain this new green economy. This journey has been heavily measured and the UK Renewable Energy Roadmap has deployed a wide range of renewables to help the government meet their 2020 target.
Conclusions from the DECC analysis on the key 8.
• Even though we are starting from a low level the UK can meet the target to deliver 15% of the UK’s energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020 through domestic deployment. Recent ‘bottom-up’ analysis, based on industry inputs, suggests that there is significant upside potential and downside risk to deployment;
• Based on current information, and taking account of their long term potential as well as their cost effectiveness, 8 technologies are capable of delivering more than 90% of the renewable energy we estimate is required by 2020;
• The pipeline of renewable electricity projects is healthy. Although, allowing for historic dropout rates27, it puts us on track to deliver approximately 29 GW of capacity by 2020, significant uncertainties remain and we still urgently need new renewable projects to come forward to ensure we meet the 15% target and longer term carbon reduction targets;
• The pipeline for renewable heat projects is less well developed but following the introduction of the world’s first incentive for renewable heat could deliver up to an additional 100,000 heat pumps and an additional 24,000 biomass heat28installations by 2020;
• Road transport biofuels are proposed to increase to 5% of road transport fuels by 2014. Subject to the results of current consultations, Government will come forward with options in Spring 2012 to stimulate further growth in renewable transport for the period after 2014;
• Costs of renewable energy technologies are currently high and uncertain but are expected to fall over time as supply chains develop, technical challenges
Labels: renewable energy, decc, government, solar pv
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Thursday, 19th May
On Tuesday, Chris Huhne announced the UK’s fourth carbon budget in the House of Commons. It was confirmed that government would continue to support the legally binding targets which promise to halve our carbon output by the year 2025. Due to the extremity of the improved budget, our international community can see the UK’s commitment to the low carbon economy. These targets set the UK apart from other nations as the budgets runs past 2020.
This target follows on from the Climate Change Act in 2008, which outlined a target to reduce greenhouse gas emission in the UK by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. This Act requires government to set carbon budgets, including limits on greenhouse gas emissions over five year periods. Under the terms of the act, the target for the five-year period must be set by June 30, 2011.
In the announcement, it was also made clear that a carbon budget review will take place in 2014 however ‘it is not a get-out clause’ says Gregory Barker, Minister of Climate Change. Another announcement regarding the impact on energy-intensive businesses is due to take place at the end of the year; this will provide said companies with measures to help them adjust to a low carbon society.
Positive impact on jobs
“We calculate that we will move up from the present figure of 27,000 jobs in the insulation sector to 100,000 by 2015 and that, at its peak, the policy will result in 250,000 jobs right across the industry, which will have to retrofit every home in the country” says Vince Cable.
The revised budget “will provide greater certainty for business to invest in green technologies and create jobs,” said Peter Young, Aldersgate group chairman.
UK Green Building Council’s chief executive Paul King said: “This is a world-leading target – and absolutely the right decision. Government has shown it still has the ambition, but the proof of the pudding will be in the policies.
image source @ CCC calculations
Labels: decc, government, renewable energy
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Monday, 16th May
‘David Cameron is about to go further than any prime minister before with a radical “carbon budget.”
On Tuesday, a long term programme said to reduce carbon emission is to be announced. This is expected to detail exactly how Britain will commit to two decades of drastic carbon emissions reductions and make them legally binding. This will put the UK ahead of almost any other country that is changing their ways for a greener world and this move supports his promise of ‘the greenest government ever.’
The legally binding agreement is intended to put the UK on-track to reduce carbon emissions 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050, and 60% by 2030.
This commitment to renewable energy stimulates the formation of such industries and installers job opportunities. Imagine the installations the UK will have to create by the year 2030 if 6o% of carbon emissions are to be reduced.
Image Source @ tangerine-digital-pr.blogspot.com
Labels: government, green deal, decc, renewable energy, solar pv
Posted by Chloe Bennett on Wednesday, 11th May
Government Figures Highlight the Increasing Interest in Renewable Technologies
Today marks the first full year since the Feed-in-tariff (FIT) have been introduced. Government figures released today show a record of 11,314 PV systems fitted over the first three months of 2011, despite the perceived threat to feed-in tariff levels posed by the government's early review. This means that over 28,000 solar PV installations have been connected as householders rush to take advantage of payments for producing clean green electricity.
The governments surprise review in February this year unsettled renewable energy installers as the review threatened to review the FIT incentive which has not only encouraged homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint by installing these new technologies, but also produced a demand for jobs in this rapidly-growing industry.
By reviewing the system, the government seems to be pulling back on the original commitment to support solar energy; FIT incentives were originally fixed until 2012, and no changes were to be implemented until April 2013.
Since, a group of 11 solar firms have filed a claim in the High court yesterday to seek judicial review against Chris Huhne, the department of energy and climate change secretary (DECC), and his decision to launch yet another review of the incentives related to FIT for larger solar installations.
The DECC is widely expected to contest any judicial review as they suggest that cuts on these larger installations will stop large solar farms from ‘eating into the funds available for domestic rooftop installation,’ said DECC spokeswoman.
It seems the actual demand for installation was never anticipated to escalate by quite so much, this would suggest that the government ‘incentive budgets’ did not foresee this level of interest.
Image Source @ Guardian.co.uk
Labels: decc, feed-in-tariff, government, renewable energy