Twitter Follower 20% Discount

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New Offer at The Solar Centre

We all know how hard the run up to Christmas can be on the old wallet/purse especially with all the food that needs to be brought, the presents, the preparations, etc., so we are offering all of our lovely Twitter Followers a great 20% discount.

How?

All you have to do is follow us on Twitter (@SolarCentre) and enter tweet20 at the checkout on www.TheSolarCentre.co.uk and you will receive a 20% discount off ALL our lights with FREE UK delivery.

Discount Offer

What to get …

Whether you want a security light, some pretty path lights, or fairy lights as a present for your friends or family, we have it all!

Canterbury Solar Wall Lig

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out the Astron64 Solar Security Light  which is the best security light in our range. The Astron64 Solar Security Light has won two awards in the last two years, beating mains powered security lights to Gold in the Best Security Product of the Year at the 2013 DIY Week.

For path lights have a look at our London Solar Post Lights which are really popular and easy to install with the spike mount. Luxury is now easy with these bad boys which come as a set of two. The London Solar Post Lights use new SMD (surface mounted diode) technology which is brighter and better than the old LED.

There’s always our Everbright Solar Fairy Light range for great and easy decoration. The Everbright Solar Fairy Light range was redesigned to incorporate USB charging capabilities at the beginning of this year.

These are just a few examples from our website. All of the lights are easy to install, you don’t need to find an electrician to install it and it’s solar powered! All of our lights are solar powered and come with batteries. It’s a no-brainer. Offer ends October 31st so be sure to get it before it’s gone.

 

 

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Bristol’s Solar Scheme to Become UK’s Solar Capital by 2015

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Bristol Bristol £47m Solar Scheme

The Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, has cleared the first stage of the scheme to install £47m worth of solar rooftop panels over the next four years. The plan is to install the solar panels on council owned houses and public buildings as part of a bid to become European Green Capital in 2015. Bristol is also hoping to become the UK’s “Solar Capital” by installing 1GW of solar power by 2020.

Minister of State Gregory BarkerMinister of State: Gregory Barker’s Solar Energy UK Speech

This comes after the announcement from Minister of State Gregory Barker’s speech to the Solar Energy UK conference, which set out the vision for growth of UK solar PV. Gregory Barker quoted “I think we can go faster and further. I am on record as having a personal ambition to see 20GW [in the UK] deployed by 2020. And I continue to believe that is possible.”

 

The Changes Needed

However, he also went on to explain that several things needed to change for this to become a reality:

  • The Industry needs to drive down costs even quicker.
  • Solar companies need to innovate faster.
  • The energy sector needs to push for efficiency through the whole supply chain.
  • Solar PV developers need work closer with local communities and avoid alienating them.
  • And the energy and solar industry needs to look at export markets.

 

Bristol Harbour

The Scheme Details

Bristol City Council confirmed yesterday that it has already started to seek contractors for the first £6m phase of the solar scheme. The formal tender process is expected to begin in January 2014 and start work in June. The programme could also cover more properties, depending on the success of the project and tenants, and could use some fields in the region to create larger solar panel arrays. The council said it plans to borrow money to pay for the phase, which will then be repaid by the feed-in tariff payments. The scheme could save occupiers £130-£260 a year and reduce council costs.

George Ferguson’s thoughts regarding the plans: “I really welcome this proposal. It is an important step forward which supports our environmental role, a leading one in Europe.”

 

Sources:

Business Green: Bristol Shines with £47m Solar Scheme

Gov.uk: Solar Energy UK Roadmap Launch

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Plastic Bag Charge is Coming!

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Free Flying Plastic Bag

 

5p per Plastic Bag

A 5p per plastic bag charge is coming to England. The fee, due to be launched in Autumn 2015, is being introduced by the government. It is hoped that the fee will discourage the use of plastic bags by making customers think twice. Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to degrade, can kill animals, costs the tax-payers millions to clean up, and litter the countryside.

The Decision

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg quoted: “This is not a new problem. We’ve waited too long for action. That’s why I am drawing a line under the issue now.” He said he hoped any money raised would be donated to environmental charities although this is still to be discussed. In Wales the money is voluntarily donated to charities.

The ResultPollution Caused by Plastic Bag

The charge, which includes bags made from both plastic and paper, is already in effect in Wales and Northern Ireland. The statistics here show an 80% reduction in plastic bag use since the fee was introduced. Northern Ireland had been discussing on whether to raise the charge to 10p but this was vetoed by Mark H Durkan because the present arrangements are successful.

Exempt?

Small businesses (with less than 250 employees) will be exempt from the charge and bags which meet the biodegradable standard will also be exempt as they are less harmful to the environment.

Environmentally Friendly Go Green BagThe Professional Opinions

The news has been met with differing opinions: Craig Bennett, policy and campaigns director from Friends of the Earth, agreed that it is a step in the right direction but that the fee is not tackling the nation’s huge waste mountain and cannot hide the government’s woeful green record. He called for tougher action with more ambitious targets. While Matthew Sinclair, from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, argued that the answer to every problem cannot be a new tax. He stated that the reward method when customers do not use plastic bags should be pursued instead.

Currently …

Supermarkets are already encouraging customers to use their own bags with different schemes or point systems. Plastic bags are no longer at the end of the checkouts either and have to be asked for from the checkout assistant and are often smaller for customers purchasing only a few items.

 

Sources:

Gov.uk: Plastic Bag Charge Set to Benefit the Environment

BBC News: Plastic Bag Charge to be Introduced in England

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5 Misconceptions About Solar Power

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Converting to solar power doesn't cost an arm and a leg.
Converting to solar power doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

1. Solar Power is Expensive.

This could not be any further from the truth and myth-busting it is easy. The price of solar panels is falling, dramatically, as the demand and amount of importers is increasing. The statistics from the Department of Energy & Climate Change also reported that 50% of all installed solar panels across the UK are residential. If other people are doing it, surely it cannot be that expensive? You also get money back via the Feed-in-Tariff issued by the government for each unit of energy you create. That’s right: you get paid!

You don’t have to convert your whole house to benefit either. If you want garden lights, security lights, or gadgets, a lot of these can now be powered by solar energy. In the long run, even if you only change a few things to solar power, you will save money on your bills each month. It all adds up.

 

2. Solar Power Doesn’t Work at Night.Starry Night Sky

All solar powered items come with batteries. Why? Because the sun isn’t around at night. The solar panel charges to the batteries which then power the light or item at night. Eventually the batteries will need replacing but usually they’ll last a very long time (saving you more money!)

 

 

Installed Solar Security Light3. Installing Solar Powered Lights is Expensive.

You don’t need to hire an electrician to install solar lights or solar kits. You can do it yourself and usually in under an hour; depending on the light you choose. You also don’t need to tap into your mains or drill holes through your house to get the mains wiring outside because solar lights are usually self-contained units with only one wire to the panel. Easy peasy.

You might prefer to hire somebody if you’re like me and worry about falling off a ladder but that choice is yours. The rules (Part P of the planning regulations) include full details about this rule.

Another point to consider if your solar light is an LED light: the bulbs won’t need replacing as often because they last that much longer. (Some quote up to 50,000 hours light-time.)

 

4. Solar Power isn’t Reliable.Reliable Street

This may have been the case when solar power first hit the markets but technology has since improved. Solar panels are better, the batteries can hold more and be changed less often, and the lights are now using the most up-to-date LED technology.

 

 

Yes, I had a Pet Rock as a teenager. I even put boggle eyes on it.
Yes, I had a Pet Rock as a teenager. I even put boggle eyes on it.

5. Solar Power Won’t Last.

This one is an opinion rather than fact based. However, when you look at the statistics, it is hard to believe that this will be a fad that will die out like all of the rest. Governments all around the globe are starting to spend a lot more on renewable energy as we race towards the future. Scientists are exploring new ways that solar power can help us and how far it can go. More importantly: we are starting to think about a greener future as the Eco-movement grows!

Unlike some other fads that I’ve seen in my time!

Also, the sort of solar panels we use degrade less than 1% per year. This means that in 20 years you should still have at least 80% of the performance you had in the first instance.

 

 

Sources:

Planning Portal: Electrical: Part P

Statistics on Increased Demand for Solar Power

The Analysis on The Department for Energy & Climate Change DUKES 2013 Report

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Walkie Talkie Skyscraper in London Melts Jaguar Car

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Okay, so we may be exaggerating here! But this did actually happen … Witness the power of the sun! Go Solar Power!

The Walkie Talkie

The new 37-storey London skyscraper (aka “Walkie Talkie” because of its shape) has been reflecting sunlight which has melted parts of a Jaguar car parked on a nearby street: Eastcheap on Thursday afternoon. It only took two hours to melt parts of his car including the wing mirror and badge. The total cost of damage £946 in repairs.

The Walkie Talkie Skyscraper in London
The Walkie Talkie Skyscraper in London

The Owner of The Jaguar

Mr Lindsay (the owner of the car) said he “Could not believe” the damage. “You can’t believe something like this would happen. They’ve got to do something about it. It could be dangerous. Imagine if the sun reflected on the wrong part of the body?”

Proof of Melted Jaguar
Proof of Melted Jaguar

The Developers

The developers have apologised and paid for repairs. They left the following note on this windscreen: “Your car’s bucked; could you give us a call?”

In a joint statement, developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf said “We are aware of concerns regarding the light reflecting from 20 Fenchurch Street and are looking into the matter. As a precautionary measure, the City of London has agreed to suspend three parking bays in the area which may be affected while we investigate the situation further.

Sources:

‘Walkie-Talkie’ Skyscraper Melts Jaguar Car Parts

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Solar Power In The UK Passes The 1GW Milestone

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Solar Trophy

 

 

The UK has reached the grand milestone of 1 gigawatt (1GW) in demand for solar PV panels. Using year-to-date data, and despite the 46% decline in the second quarter, the solar power in the UK is currently on trend to smash the current record.

 

 

Solar PV Demand Per Quarter 2013 in MW
Chart showing solar PV demand per quarter in 2013 in megawatts

Why The Sudden Drop?

Why the 46% decline? There’s a bunch of reasons but lets briefly touch on a couple:

  • The cut in the Renewable Obligation Certificate incentives on 1st April 2013. This is less impacting for the end users and more about the companies who provide power. It led to less ground-mounted solar PV panels.
  • The European Commission increased the import tariff on China made solar PV panels. This meant it was more expensive to import solar PV panels.

On the whole, we’re not helping ourselves! But what’s more interesting is that it’s the little people who count more.

In The UK Currently:

Cumulative solar PV panels installed in the UK (at the end of June 2013) currently stands at 2.71 gigawatts. The largest percentage being residential installed panels! It’s the Joe Blogg’s of the UK with solar PV panels on the roof, shed, in the garden, anywhere possible.

Installed Location of Cumulative Solar PV Panels in the UK
Installed Location of Cumulative Solar PV Panels in the UK

In the first half of 2013 alone the UK has installed a whooping 106 solar PV panel farms. More than half of the new solar farms have an installed capacity of over 5 megawatts with 8% boasting over 10 megawatts.

 

Sources:
Annual Demand for Solar Power in UK Passes 1GW Milestone
UK Solar Power PV Demand in Quarter 2 Declines

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How Is The UK Re-Charging?

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DECC LogoThe DUKES 2013 Report

Last month the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) released their Statistical Press Release: The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (aka DUKES) taken from 2012. It has a lot of graphs and numbers but what exactly does it mean?

I’m here to provide a closer look and point out some of the interesting trends.

Offshore RenewablesRenewable Energy on The Up!

This graph shows the gradual increase of renewable energy produced by the UK from 2004 to 2012. The UK only became interested in renewable energy in the mid-1990’s. The news is good! Each year has shown an increase and each year it has been above the target set by the government.

UK Energy Produced by Renewables
The percentage of UK Energy Produced by Renewables

But It’s Not All Good News …

However, the target set for the government is low compared to other countries. Each time we’ve surpassed that target it has only been by 0.1%, which is hardly breaking any records. Germany, for instance, has just broken its monthly solar power generation record (again). In July 2013 they logged 5.1 terawatt’s hours of electricity. (To put that in to perspective we only got 1114.2 gigawatts from renewable sources!)

Installed Capacity of PV Per Country
The total capacity of Photovoltaic panels per country.

Quote From Clean Technica:

“In terms of total solar power capacity per capita, Germany crushes every other country. At the end of 2012, it had approximately 400 MW of solar power capacity per million people, considerably more than #2 Italy at 267 MW per million people, #3 Belgium at 254 MW per million people, and #4 Czech Republic at 204 MW per million, and #5 Greece at 143 MW per million people. The US came it at #20 with about 25 MW per million people.”

Notice how we don’t even feature on that list? I know we’re a small country but we could be doing more. It’s certainly spiked upwards but it’s hardly the runner-up to winning the medal, let alone the gold seeker!

The Good News

There is good news in this muddle of information. Offshore wind generation (which is the UK’s second largest renewable source currently after biomass) has increased by 46% in 2012 and had a greater load factor than gas. (33.7% from wind compared to 30.4% from gas.)

UK Electricity Generation by Fuel
UK Electricity Generation by Fuel

The Final Word And Going Forwards

Slowly things are changing. It’s not just about turning off the television or light bulb any more. It’s about moving forwards and growing with the changes happening around us. Perhaps the UK government should review their plan and set more aggressive targets for renewable energy so we can try to catch up on the swift progress being made elsewhere in Europe.

Sources:

Germany Breaks Monthly Solar Generation Record, 6.5 Times More than US best, from Clean Technica

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2013 – Press Release

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