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Feed In Tariff Cuts Unlawful

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 22nd December 2011

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.


Categories: government, feed-in-tariff

BREAKING NEWS: IET confirms delay for Domestic Installer Qualification

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 13th December 2011

This decision was agreed at the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification Management Committee meeting on 1st December 2011 where they announced ‘the new level 3 domestic installer qualification is expected to become available by June 2012, with the first candidates completing some two month later.’ The new requirements will come into effect on 6th April 2013 still leaving five different routes satisfying the requirement for registration as a Qualified Supervisor. These include on-site assessment, off-site assessment a                                                        mixture of both and the gaining of appropriate qualifications.

How does this affect me?

Essentially if you are already an existing qualified supervisor this will not affect you. When the new requirements come in in April 2013, they will not apply retrospectively to existing qualified supervisors nor will they need to complete the new qualification to complete works after April 2013.

Those looking to register under the existing requirements should do so aptly before the new revisions come in as it is likely that an entrant after April 2013 would have to hold the full electrical NVQ in order to register for the domestic installer scheme – however this notion is yet to be confirmed.

You can download your copy of the IET’s Press Release here.

Trade Skills 4U have various course packages on offer which contain all the qualifications a new entrant or existing contractor would require in order to train as a domestic installer and/or fully qualified electrician.


Categories: domestic installer qualification, electrical news

Predicted Solar Growth: New Incentive in Town

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 9th December 2011

Much of the talk surrounding solar as of late, has been about the reduced Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) rates coming in on Monday 12th December.

Whilst this is obviously a newsworthy subject, it is important to remember that there is another incentive in town that could be potentially much larger than solar PV. This incentive, for those unaware, is called the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) which is the heat equivalent to the FIT scheme and is to be launched for domestic sector in October 2012. The scheme actually went live for non-domestic properties in November 2011 after a short delay concerning compatibility with EU state rules.

This incentive aims to pay homeowners an income for every unit of heat generated by renewable technologies such as Solar Thermal, Biomass Boilers and heat pumps. To encourage the take up of installations such as these, the government have launched a one-off payment called the RHI premium payment, similar to a grant, which is available to all homeowners wishing to take part in the scheme.

Before the FIT launched in 2010, solar thermal technology installations surpassed solar PV installations as it’s reliable, easy to install and should provide you with 50-70% of your hot water all year round. The launch of the RHI is a great opportunity once again for both installers and consumers looking to do something good for the environment and save money on energy bills.

We run a great 3 day solar thermal hot water course designed for skilled plumbers and renewable energy installers looking to take advantage of this predicted demand. The course itself will be run in our state of the art renewable energy training centre on specially designed rigs to prepare you for real installations. Training in this technology ahead of the RHI domestic rollout will prove very wise investment so make sure you get ahead of the game!

For more information on this industry, the RHI or our renewable energy courses call us on 01293 529777 or visit our solar thermal hot water course page or our blog on the Renewable Heat Incentive.


Categories: renewable heat incentive

Christmas Safety Measures

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 6th December 2011

Light up your Christmas Tree, not your home.

Hidden away in the corner of your loft lies your beautiful Christmas tree. Tightly wrapped up and accompanied with boxes of protected decorations, it’s literally waiting to stand proud once more. When December finally comes around, you can almost feel the rush in the air. The shops are filled with brightly coloured baubles, the town lights turn on and sparkle, illuminating sensation as Christmas is on its way.

However there are a few very important things, besides the turkey, to remember every time the festive season begins. According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, (ROSPA), ‘around 80,000 people suffer accidents and injuries in their homes during the Christmas holidays every year’. Many of those happen in the kitchen during food preparation, while putting up decorations – or worse, as a result of faulty fairy lights or unattended candles.

Making sure your old Christmas lights are safe:

Times have been a little tight over the past two years so who can blame you if you don’t want to update your set of Christmas fairy lights right? Wrong! Faulty Christmas lights cause unnecessary accidents over the festive period if poorly stored, damaged or faulty appliances can lead to accidents in the home or worse – electrical fires. Retrieving your lights from damp, dusty storage spaces can lead to unnecessary hazards, so always see a purchase like this as an investment not a cost.

Most sets of lights are based on the Edison incandescent bulb which is an ordinary light bulb which requires electrical energy to heat up a tiny metal filament so that it glows. The heat itself makes the filament emit light, and frankly the hotter the filament, the greater the light. However the whiter the light – the shorter the lamp life, which is why when the lights are finally unravelled it’s not unusual to find that a couple fail to work. Our advice is to check your lights are up to modern safety standards or if their looking past their sell by date it’s time to get some more – and no before you ask we’re not working on commission.

So what’s our top ten safety tips this Christmas? Keep you and your family safe by reading our advice below:

So starting with the obvious: if you have old Christmas lights, consider buying new ones, which will meet much higher safety standards, keep the lights switched off until the Christmas tree is decorated, don’t let children play with lights (some have swallowed the bulbs), and remember to switch off the lights when going out of the house or going to bed.

Christmas novelties are not toys, even if they resemble them, and they do not have to comply with toy safety regulations. Think carefully where you display them by making sure their out of reach from young (and old) hands.

 Always make sure you buy batteries over Christmas – chances are you or aunty jean will buy dear little Jonny a battery powered toy that he’ll want to play with immediately. Being organised helps prevents temper tantrums as well as the temptation to remove batteries from smoke alarms.

 Children’s gifts are age marked for a reason; make sure you buy your children gifts for the correct age group from reputable courses that comply with safety standards e.g. The Toys (safety) Regulations 1995.

 In the rush to open presents and scoff Christmas dinner, you may find that decorations become damaged or small items like burst balloons or party popper cases get strewn over the floor. Make sure these are promptly spotted and cleared to avoid choking hazards.

 A nice open fire is fuelled by poorly placed Christmas cards and real trees. Keep a fire guard on at all times and keep decorations and other flammables away from fires and other heat sources such as light fittings. Don’t leave burning candles unattended, make sure you put them out before going to bed and do not put candles on Christmas trees.

Give yourself enough time to prepare and cook Christmas dinner to avoid hot fat, boiling water and sharp knife accidents that come from rushing, and keep anyone not helping with dinner out of the kitchen. Wipe up (or drink) any spills quickly.

Have scissors handy to open packaging, so you’re not tempted to use a knife, and have screwdrivers at the ready to assemble toys.

Plan New Year fireworks parties well in advance and follow the Firework Safety Code.

Do not drink and drive, and plan long journeys so you won’t be driving tired.

But most importantly enjoy yourself. Christmas is the time to be surrounded by family members and loved ones so enjoy your time off and be merry.



Categories: electrical training

Breaking News: No changes to Domestic Installers Qualification

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 2nd December 2011

After much deliberation we can thankfully announce that there will be no change to the domestic installer’s scheme qualification requirements for the foreseeable future.

In a discreet document published yesterday, the NICEIC have re-issued the ‘Guide to Registration – Domestic Installers Scheme’ which states that candidates looking to join the NICEIC Domestic installer scheme and become a ‘Qualified Supervisor’ must attain the latest edition of the 17th Edition Wiring Regulations, be competent and/or adequately supervised to carry out all domestic installation work and have 12 months relevant experience.

Essentially what this document outlines is that there is no change to the current entry requirements for this qualification which is great news for everyone that was going to be affected by the changes occurring in the New Year. The initial statement announcing the changes was published in July this year suggesting that those looking to qualify as a qualified supervisor after 1st January 2012 would have to hold the full electrical NVQ in order to register for the domestic installer scheme.

The date for this revision has been put back substantially meaning those looking to retrain or up-skill to become a qualified supervisor will now be able to do so under the existing provisions. However, it is worth mentioning that even though the changes have been not yet come into force, they will inevitably arrive later on in the year so it really is worth training before these revisions arrive.

Trade Skills 4U have various course packages on offer which contain all the qualifications a new entrant or existing contractor would require in order to train as a domestic installer and/or fully qualified electrician.


Categories: company news, part p

RHI - Open for Business

Posted by Chloe Bennett on 1st December 2011

Renewable Heat Incentive launches after being postponed in September 2011.

At long last the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is now open for business for non-domestic generators. The original launch was expected to go live on 30th September 2011 but was postponed at only 12 hours’ notice as it was established that the scheme may not wholly comply with EU State Aid rules.  The scheme has since been deemed compatible with said rules and after its passing in parliament and those looking to apply for the incentive can submit their applications from Monday 28th November.

Eligible candidates will be able to access payments on a quarterly basis for heat generated over the next 20 years. The scheme will generate payments from renewable technologies including biomass boilers, solar thermal equipment and heat pumps installer since July 2009.

The launch of the RHI is set to revolutionise the way heat is generated and is the first scheme of its type in the world and will be closely watched by others to see whether it can be successfully replicated elsewhere. The incentive scheme sits next to other government incentives like the solar Feed-in-Tariff and the expected Green Deal which is set to take off in October 2012.

At the launch on Monday Greg Barker, Energy and Climate Change Minister said:

“The RHI will usher in a new era in clean green heat technology.  It’s a world first and has the potential to put the UK at the forefront of a vibrant new green technology sector.

“Renewable heat will be a big win for our economy – it will support thousands of green jobs, reduce our dependency on imported fossil fuels, reduce our carbon emissions and help us meet our renewable target.”

Trade Skills 4U deliver quality solar thermal training for those looking to up skill into this industry and take advantage of the forecasted surge of installations eligible to receive RHI subsidies.


Categories: company news, decc, solar thermal, renewable energy