Archive for ‘Solar Energy’


Vince Adams says:
The final hurdle please help and support Mapperton Farm Solar Project

Category: Community Energy, Solar Energy, Solar Energy, Uncategorized
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I received the following report from Good Energy this weekend and it appears that the final planning decisions will be made concerning Mapperton Farm’s Solar project in the near future.

Its been a long haul but with a final push this project is going to happen.

So if you feel strongly about the need for more renewable energy projects please show your support as per the details below.


vince adams

Dear Vince,

As someone who kindly helped rally local support for the project in the past, I am writing to ask for your help one more time in securing planning permission for our proposed solar farm at Mapperton near Sturminster Marshall.

Good Energy’s planning application for a proposed 24.2MW solar project at Mapperton Farm is being reconsidered by the local authority after a previous approval was overturned following a legal challenge.

Councillors on East Dorset District Council’s planning committee are due to consider this proposal for a second time at a meeting on 17th January 2017. The application is unchanged from that approved in June 2015 but, in reaching their decision, councillors will take into account any new submissions from members of the public. So we’re asking everyone who backed the previous application to confirm their support by writing to the planning officer one more time.

Please feel free simply to repeat the comments you made on the previous application. If you don’t have these to hand, some key facts about the project are shown at the bottom of this email.

The easiest way to show support is by letter or email directly to the local planning officer, James Brightman, using the details below. Please make sure you quote planning application number 3/13/0681/FUL and submit your comment by the deadline of 19th December 2016.


Postal address:
FAO James Brightman
Planning Applications (East Dorset)
Council Offices
BH21 4HN

Key points to consider in your submission:
· Once built at the proposed capacity of 24.2MW, the solar farm would generate renewable electricity energy to power around 6,000 average homes, equivalent to around 70% of the new homes planned for Christchurch and East Dorset over the Local Plan period;

· The solar farm would deliver investment in local community initiatives worth at least £35,000 per year for the lifetime of the project, together with funding for rooftop solar PV systems for a local primary school and village hall;

· The solar farm would protect the land for current and future agricultural use, providing opportunities for sheep grazing along the avenues of solar panels, a practice endorsed by the National Farmers’ Union;

· The proposals include wildlife habitat enhancements such as wildflower meadows throughout the site, hedgerow improvements, planting around field margins and installation of birds and bat boxes in a nearby woodland.

· When last considered by the planning committee in June 2015, the application attracted considerable public support, with over 80 letters being submitted from the local community and the wider Dorset area in favour of the project.

If you need any further information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

With best wishes and many thanks for your continued support

Good Energy


Vince Adams says:
Visit to local Solar Farm

Category: Solar Energy, Uncategorized

Lightsource Takes Local Residents on Guided Tour of Dorset Solar Farm as Part of Nationwide Solar Independence Day


Lightsource Renewable Energy invited visitors for a very special behind-the-scenes look at look at Manor Farm solar farm, in Dorset, as part of the Solar Independence Day celebrations.


Visitors of all ages and from all walks of life – from school children and wildlife groups to farmers and local politicians – were given guided tours of the park to see first-hand the benefits of solar energy.


Once a solar farm is installed, members of the public rarely get a chance to step foot inside the gates, but the event gave people a chance to get a better understanding of how a solar farm works, the impact on the land and improvements to biodiversity that can be made.

Installed in just six weeks, the 25-acre solar farm solar farm is now capable of providing locally-sourced, renewable energy to 1,400 homes – roughly a third of the homes found in nearby Gillingham.

Lightsource has put into action a planting and landscape plan at Manor Farm, which provides numerous benefits to local biodiversity. The planting of new trees and shrubs around the site provides foraging habitats for local wildlife, while the new wild-flower meadow mix will offer a favourable environment to flying insects including bees, butterflies and dragonflies. Since its installation, the landowner has also reported an increase in the numbers of hares, raptors and hawks – a strong sign that wildlife is flourishing on site.

Manor Farm was one of many solar farms, homes and commercial installations to open up to the public as part of Solar Independence Day, which also gave the public an insight into why “energy independence” in the UK is so important. Solar power can play a vital role in achieving this goal by reducing the UK dependence on importing polluting fossil fuels, in favour of generating clean “home-grown” energy.

Nick Boyle, CEO at Lightsource, said: “We relish opportunities to give the public a greater insight into what solar energy is all about. On top of providing a source of clean, renewable energy, solar installations offer far reaching benefits for local communities with improvements to local biodiversity and by supporting agricultural businesses. The Manor Farm is a great example of the positive effects a solar farm can have on an area. ”

Lightsource_Manor Farm-86

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  • Vince Adams comments:
    "Vince Adams of and comments: As the founder of letsgetenergized a portal that supports renewable energy I was fascinated by my visit.The remoteness of the site gave it a Cathedral like quiet only broken by the sound of distant traffic Not a sound was heard from the panels themselves with sheep grazing happily all around us the visit was rather special.To think that our future energy needs can come from Solar Farms rather than Power station belching out smoke and carbon 24 hours a day is remarkable. The small footprint that the site has with a small concreted area for the inverters to sit on and everything else instantly removable is amazing. Thanks to Lightsource and Liza for opening the site my only regret was missing the barbecue. "
    July 13, 2015 a 6:56 pm


John Olver says:
Tesla Tour of America`s South West – Part 2

Category: Electric Transport, Energy Efficiency, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Uncategorized
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Tesla Tour of America`s South West – Part 2

Roger Manley bought his Tesla Model S about six months ago and has put quite a few miles on it since then. He and his wife and son are adding a lot more miles while touring America’s National Parks in Arizona and Utah. I’ll let Roger continue his tale.

After 2,560 miles driving in the Tesla Model S, my son Brian and I are now home. We had a great trip and saw natural wonders in Arizona and Utah that everyone should plan to see one day. During the trip we used 787 KWh and averaged 307 wh/mi. We made 17 Tesla Supercharger stops, two charges at BLINK 25 AMP stations in Scottscale, AZ., one HPWC 100 AMP charging station at the Tesla Sales location in Scottsdale, and used two 50 AMP charging stations at RV parks in Utah. In general charging was easy and quick at the Tesla Supercharging infrastructure. The BLINK 25 AMP stations were slow, but available, only charging at approximately 20 miles per hour. Charging at the Tesla Superchargers and HPWC is free. The BLINK chargers cost $.02 per minute and I spent about $13 total, plus $8.50 at one of the RV parks.

The Tesla Model S ran perfectly. The first part of the trip featured in the last post I checked the mileage at every stop to make sure I understood how the car was performing. I had printed out detailed spreadsheets from and compared actual to planned from Monterey to Scottsdale. After that I just used the navigation and trip software in the car. The last post was from Monument Valley, about 300 miles north of Phoenix on the Utah and Arizona border. After staying overnight at Goulding Lodge and RV Park we took a 3.5 hour guided tour narrated by a local Navajo an. He drove us through amazing scenery in Monument Valley, all off the main roads and completely on reservation lands. He talked about Navajo traditions and culture. After the tour we headed to Blanding, Utah and plugged in at the Tesla Supercharger. Blanding is a small town and relatively closed up on a Sunday afternoon. We ate lunch at the local A&W and headed off to stay the next two nights in Moab, Utah. On the way I had researched a stop called “Newspaper Rock Monument” just a few miles from the south side of Canyonlands National Park.

Newspaper Rock is a large rock wall with a dark patina that has petroglyphs carved in the face. It is estimated these were carved by Native Americans between 2,000 BC and 1,300 AD. An hour later we stopped in Moab at the Best Western Plus Canyonlands hotel. A Tesla Supercharger is located in the parking lot of this hotel making it an easy choice. Moab is a small vibrant town with tourists visiting many local attractions including Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The next day we drove through Arches National Park making many stops and taking two different hikes. The first was to the lower viewpoint for Delicate Arch. The second at Devils Garden where we hiked to many different arches including Landscape Arch and Double O Arch. The scenery was amazing and we were tired after 10 miles of combined hiking. On the way out of Arches we stopped at Park Avenue and were blown away by the beauty of this small valley at dusk. Needless to say there is lots to see at each of the stops we made. The next day we were off to Bryce Canyon National Park.

We made two Supercharger stops along the way and reached the Best Western Ruby’s Inn at the entrance to the park. The rim of this park reaches over 9,000 feet and we could feel a big difference in elevation as we hiked up to Inspiration Point at dusk. The weather was cloudy with a few rain showers, but the clouds parted and sunshine filled the valley right before sunset. The next morning we stopped at the Visitor Center. Each of the parks we visited had a theatre that shows a 20 minute film on the history and geology of the areas. We hiked down into Bryce Canyon at Fairyland Point and got a different perspective down among the “hoodoo’s”. Later that afternoon we drove to Zion National Park with an elevation of 3,500 feet and only used 15 KWh over 88 miles. Zion National Park has many outstanding features, one being cars are not allowed into the park, unless you are staying at the National Park Lodge. Everyone else parks at the Visitor Center and uses a free shuttle that is very convenient. Again more hiking to Weeping Rock, The Emerald Pools, and the Riverside Walk.

That night we blindly ran into two friends coming off the shuttle bus we have known for thirty years and had a nice dinner at “Wildcat Willies” in Springdale, Utah. What a surprise!

The last day of our trip was Friday April, 24th. We left Zion National Park at 6am and drove 680 miles to home in Monterey. I thought it was quite a feat in an electric car given we stopped to charge in St. George, Utah; Primm, Nevada; Barstow, Mojave, and Harris Ranch in California before arriving home at 10pm. The Tesla Model S was flawless the whole trip and both my son and I agreed the miles went by faster because of the quiet, smooth ride.

I decided to make this trip last September after seeing an article in Sunset Magazine about the national parks in Utah. I hadn’t taken a long road trip in the Tesla and thought this would be an excellent journey especially since I was turning 60 this year. My wife and I spent a week in Scottsdale, AZ and then my son joined me in Flagstaff, AZ for the rest of the trip. The national parks were even more than what I could have imagined, having never been to these previously, and definitely left me wanting to spend more time there in the future.


Vince Adams says:
Gaia Vince, Anthropocene & more

Category: Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized
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Gaia Vince, Anthropocene & more

An American friend of mine suggested I read Gaia Vince and her latest book Anthropocene a journey through our Planet. I’m normally into spy thrillers and the like so getting into something substantial like this is quite a challenge if like me you read at bedtime and the eyes close ever more quickly.

So I got started and the first chapter was all about the high villages of Nepal and the problems that they are experiencing. Pollution , lack of water, lack of education and modern technology. Frankly the sheer physicality of the lives people in Nepal are leading and their resilience was inspiring within only a few paragraphs.

Then the earthquake struck and thousands of deaths, people made homeless, lack of food and water etc etc

My adventure into Gaia’s book was warning of the dangers. If you dry out the Mountains, lose the Glaciers the earth becomes unstable. Soon the tectonic plates begin to re-act and the inevitable result is earthquakes and many of them.

Today people are living outside because daily quakes are happening and the people are afraid to go inside even if their homes have survived.

You could despair, wring your hands and send off another cheque to Oxfam or invest in a copy of Gaia’s book. It will inspire you with what individual people are doing. One man is creating Glaciers to replace the ones lost by global warming and its effects. Another group are creating internet networks almost out of tin cans. Renewable energy is being developed but they must be careful not to overuse Hydro as water is such a scarce commodity. Parallel this with Chile and its plan to destroy parts of the wilderness in Patagonia with huge hydro schemes to fuel growth thousands of miles away in its cities. This for a country that has huge seaboard boundaries that could create networks of on-shore wind turbines, tidal and wave power projects and save Patagonia.

Anyway I hope I have given you a starter for ten and a reason to buy the book.

If you want to know more from the people of Nepal whats happening on the ground take this link to:

Of this I shall write more very soon but here`s another thumbnail from the US.

My friend sent me the following latest report from the USA which in part is positive in part what we expect. But with knowledge and communication we can better tackle the future together.

” Although our leaders here in the US are far behind other leaders around the world there is a lot of activity. Solar installations on homes and businesses as well as major power plants are rapidly on the rise, wind farms have proven to be especially profitable and are become common in most US states and our rapid development of natural gas has at least made a dent in the coal fired power plants (I like to see the natural gas become a thing of the past as well but that seems unlikely in the near future). Unfortunately fracking for oil has been so successful that gasoline prices have dropped and Americans with very short memories have begun buying SUV’s again at a record pace. I wonder if the oil companies have offered lower gas prices because hybrids and EV’s were starting to catch hold of the public. Gas has started to rise again and will likely pass $4 a US gallon this summer. The new SUV owners will wail and complain that the President is to blame while oil companies will for the nth year in a row see record profits. So it goes”

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  • Keith Wheaton-Green comments:
    "We need to recognize that hydropower doesn’t use water. Its not consumptive. It merely extracts some energy as the water falls back to the sea "
    May 22, 2015 a 9:14 am


Lets Get Energized says:
NGPS win The ‘Renewable Energy Advocate Award’

Category: Dorset Energized News, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living
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NGPS win The ‘Renewable Energy Advocate Award’

NGPS Limited puts Dorset firmly on Renewable Energy map with prestigious Award

The ‘Renewable Energy Advocate Award’ puts Dorset firmly on the map for quality solar installation. Nominated by leading industry solar inverter manufacturer, Enphase Energy UK, NGPS Limited of Poole in Dorset picked up the award for the South and South West at a prestigious event held at Birmingham’s NEC Arena.

The event was organized by one of the UKs most influential solar energy magazines, Solar Power Portal, and the awards ceremony was a celebration of the UK solar industry during their Solar Energy UK Exhibition at Birmingham’s NEC.

Enphase Energy UK pioneered a breakthrough in solar inverter technology with the introduction of the micro inverter. This meant an entire solar panel system would no longer be controlled by just one inverter, as each panel is able to host its own and be controlled individually. This has enabled a large degree of flexibility for shaded or dust prone roofs as the entire system is not compromised. The technology also enables the option of a split roof installation in the case of smaller roofs, and energy production is greatly enhanced as the panels can begin generating earlier in the day than a traditional system, and later into the evening.

NGPS is one of the largest installers of Enphase micro inverters in the South West and now installs the product as standard on their solar photovoltaic systems. Nick Good: “We were delighted to be one of just two companies in the South West to be nominated, and naturally pleased to be presented with an award. We work hard to provide our customers with the very best technology in the marketplace, as well as best practice in all aspects of our business. This has been our philosophy, and I would suggest the reason for our success for more than twenty years. It is rewarding for our efforts to be both recognized and commended by a leading manufacturer in the marketplace in which we operate.”

Using Enphase, both the customer and NGPS are able to see what the system is producing. Nick Good: “Any problems, albeit rare, and we would more than likely spot this before the customer. This is because Enphase enables remote monitoring, and our technical surveyors are also able to demonstrate the energy production of neighboring properties when a new customer is looking into the cost savings of a system for themselves. Enphase also adds the benefit of a 25 year warranty and enables even more homeowners to benefit from solar energy. It most certainly means better performance so our customer can reap a greater return on their investment and an even faster payback. And a happy customer makes the job even more rewarding for us as a business.”

Vince Adams – Lets Get Energized co-founder – says:

“Congratulations to Nick Good and his family run business NGPS for their amazing Renewable Energy Advocates Award earlier this month.

The award was connected to their ground breaking work with Enphase whose system ensures that solar panels high on grooves across the land really are in good working order and report on monthly generation at the solar location.

Nick was the very first accredited Solar Installer in the UK and he has built a reputation for giving sound advice, good value and extremely good service to his customers.

We at Dorset Energised and now Lets get Energized have been helped in every way by NGPS in our work to spread the good news that is renewable energy in all its forms.

We and NGPS will continue to ensure that every household eventually has solar or a renewable alternative to supports its energy requirements and the planets need for less carbon emission.”


Guest Energizer says:
Samsoe – An Energy Island

Category: Biomass Energy, Combined Heat & Power, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories, Sustainable Living, Wind Power
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Samsoe – An Energy Island

INTRO: Here is an article by Arthur Blue, a new contributor to our Blog, about an island in Denmark. Arthur is based in Argyll, but the article is highly relevant to Dorset which is also of course rural, with remote areas, and the potential to produce much of its own energy.

So to the article:

An Energy Island

I was in Denmark recently, enjoying herring on rye bread, blethering with old friends, and brushing up my rusty Danish.

Economists of the Anglo-American persuasion are convinced that the Danish economy is far too heavily loaded with taxes and welfare systems to take off and fly, but fly it does and the evidence is in front of your eyes in Copenhagen, where the amount of new investment, both public and private, is impressive, as are the famous open sandwiches.

Yes … a decent one costs about Dkr 100 ( £12.50 ) , but it’s enough for a good meal on its own. But to avoid both cultural and culinary overload we decided to have a long weekend on the island of Samsoe, famous for its early potatoes … in late May these were selling for very high prices in the capital … and for being self-sufficient in electrical power and domestic heating. It’s an island slightly larger than Bute, with around 4,00 permanent inhabitants, with large numbers of visitors during the season, mostly staying in summer houses well hidden amongst the trees.

The background to this is that in the latter half of the last century Samsoe, together with other small islands and remoter areas, was falling behind in development, what with high transport costs, falling population, difficulties for small concerns trying to compete in the larger market, and loss of young people, once they had qualified, to the mainland. It’s all very familiar. Denmark has the usual assistance programmes, but the trends continued. However in 1997 the Ministry of Energy announced a competition …. which local area or island could present the most realistic plan for a transition to 100% self-sufficiency in renewable energy. Small easily-defined communities were chosen since the social effects could thus be more readily monitored. Four islands and a peninsula entered the competition, and Samsoe won, with the objective being to highlight renewable energy and study how high a percentage could be achieved using available technology and ( almost ) without extraordinary grants.

Bearing in mind that most of Samsoe’s electricity comes from wind, the first thing to strike me was that the views are not dominated by turbines, for though you can usually see one or two in the distance if you look really hard, you do have to look for them. There is a large offshore array which exports power to the mainland and which offsets the island’s CO2 emissions from vehicle fuel, this isn’t particularly visible from inland, though the ferry passes close by, and in any case no-one complains about it since it also provides an income for the local energy company. As with other things who owns them affects the way you see them.

Local electrical demand is mostly covered by 11 1-MW ( medium-sized ) turbines across 3 clusters, plus a number of small privately-owned units, and there is an interconnector with Jutland through which power can go both ways, if required.

Demand management … smoothing the peaks …. has been the subject of much thought and consultation, and it’s considered that there is still a great deal to be won in that direction, both on Samsoe and elsewhere. Domestic heating on the island, like many places in Denmark, is based on district heating plants, since its only with industrial-type technology that you can achieve satisfactory combustion when burning waste or biomass. Planners can require the use of district heating for new buildings in urban areas, but in the case of older existing buildings the owners have to be persuaded to convert and there are various grants for this, including special arrangements for pensioners. District heating is not suitable for isolated houses either, and on Samsoe these have their own heating. Around 50% of the isolated year-round houses on the island have now converted to some form of RE, using straw or biomass and solar water panels. On the summer-house front RE is low, though a number have installed air-to-air heat pumps A programme of thorough insulation was of course carried out as an essential first step in all this, for which there was a very good take-up. One old lady in Nordby could only afford to replace her windows one at a time, but she managed it, over about ten years.

There are 5 village-based district heating systems on the island, mostly fuelled by biomass ( waste straw and wood chips ). One of the plants has a substantial input from solar water panels, and since the heat is transmitted by water surplus electrical power can easily go into the systems if necessary. Another plant also takes waste heat from a jam factory, and a proposal to use waste heat from the ferry, which could have supplied about 30% of demand at the port, fell through not because it was technically difficult … it wasn’t … but because the ferry service being tendered out there is no guarantee that a future operator would be interested in co-operating. To get everything going it was decided by NRGi ( the island energy company ) that a very low registration fee of Dkr 80 ( £10 ) would be charged for those who signed up before the plants were built. This model is an exception to normal practice since in Denmark those who wish to join an existing district heating scheme can find themselves paying around Dkr 36.000 ( £ 4,000 ). A consequence of the cheap registration is of course slightly higher heating prices, since the payments also have to cover repayment of the initial investment, however if you’re starting from scratch a high take-up significantly reduces distribution costs. In addition some of the larger farmers make their own tractor fuel from rape, the oilseed cake being a useful cattle feed, and the straw going into their heating plant, these, like most Samsinger, are highly practical people, who wear overalls rather than rainbow-coloured jumpers, and who think that it makes economic as well as environmental sense to go renewable. However plans to go further and use more local oil cake to replace imported fodder, and sell the oil, have faltered on account of the government’s fuel taxation policy And an Energy Academy has been set up on the island, using the expertise acquired with the local project. The Academy is the headquarters of Samsoe’s energy and development organisations, with 11 full-time jobs in energy education and world-wide consultancy, one of their current projects being on Mull.

The above is where Samsoe has got to after about fifteen years, but it wasn’t all easy. Mikael Larsen, who heads the Energy Academy, says that the technology is the easy bit, and the bigger the easier, since all you have to do is sell a feasible scheme to one or other of the big players who then bring everything in ( and take most of the profits out again, though a small local share can still be very useful ) And big schemes are usually very high-tech, and well beyond local capabilities. Thus with the Samsoe offshore array. The local projects, on the other hand, are much more low-tech, can use local firms for more of the work, and have a much better social pay-off. The hardest part of the project is not the design and building, or the financing, but persuading people that it is indeed feasible, and obtaining workable consensus on it. There are always those who for various reasons don’t wish to be involved, or are too old or too crabbed to be bothered. Many of the holiday visitors, though they contribute very usefully to the island economy, aren’t particularly interested in going over to electric cars, and the summer houses, being spread out, don’t lend themselves to district heating. So the political side … though not party-political … was by far the biggest challenge. It always is. An ocean of coffee and a mountain of cake was needed to get the plan rolling, and doubtless a fair quantity of the golden brew which comes in green bottles.

So did anything go wrong during all this ? Yes indeed. The ferry heat project fell through, as did another which proposed to use waste heat from the island slaughterhouse, when the latter closed a few years into the project. A methane project is still on the back burner.

And the three electric cars which were given to the district nurses were an absolute disaster owing to unexpected call-outs, unpredictable driving patterns, and the nurses forgetting to recharge the things after a busy day. But the electric car used by the Energy Academy apparently can get to Copenhagen, over 100 miles away, quite easily given a quick top-up at some intermediate coffee stop. In several years use that vehicle has had only one failure … a broken wire. But you learn from the failures, sometimes more than from the successes. So the project rolls on, with one aim being to fuel the ferry with locally-produced biogas ( a ferry has room for quite a big tank ), and possibly the production of hydrogen for vehicular use, as vehicle fuel is now the largest energy import to the island. Local electric car use could also be greatly expanded. It’s all well worth a closer look. You can have a very good cycling holiday on Samsoe, too, while you’re looking.

( Further information is available on the web, in English, at also, since Samsoe is by no means the only island to have gone down the renewable road, at which is one of the EU’s development arms. )


Vince Adams says:
Swedish Hot Dogs & Renewable Energy at Ikea!

Category: Electric Transport, Solar Energy, Sustainable Energy Stories
Tags: , , , , ,

The Moral Maze that is IKEA have many millions of people increasingly using their products to increase the lifestyle of their homes and flats throughout the world. I sometimes thought of them in negative terms with their centralisation, huge depots, flat packs, big production suppliers and lorries trundling goods across continents and countries.

However their current move towards supporting renewable energy in all its forms rather excites me and on a recent trip I talked to their local staff in Bristol about the solar installation deals and they are really good quality and economic for every family to make energy savings. In Bristol their stand is well designed good for kids but probably in the wrong place. Not far from the checkout desks at a time when people just want to go home. In Southampton they are better sited within the demonstration areas and a must visit for many families.

I was also able to use the Ecotricity charging points which worked very well, in the well marked and laid out special charging bays.

Ikea Bristol - Ecotricicty charging bays

My other treat was a Swedish Hot Dog with loads of mustard! Go on visit sometime and try one for yourself its today’s living for families of all ages – see Ikea’s Solar Energy page:


Lets Get Energized says:
Ace Energy help Salway Ash Primary School in Bridport go green

Category: Community Energy, Heat Pumps, Solar Energy, Wind Power
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Salway Ash wind turbine1

Salway Ash School1

Salway As ASHPs1

Passionate in its the efforts to green up community buildings across the south west, North Dorset based Ace Energy helped win over £70,000 in grant funding to install renewable energy at Salway Ash Primary School near Bridport in Dorset. The company went on to install solar PV, two air source heat pumps and a wind turbine all of which provide renewable heat and power to the new Eco Assembly Hall at the school. Salway Ash now have 32 kW of green energy being supplied to their primary school which is saving hugely on fuel bills and helping protect the environment now and for many years to come.

School Governor Melanie Kennedy commented:
“Ace Energy has helped us put together an innovative renewable energy scheme as part of the building project to create a spacious new environmentally conscious extension to our small village school. The company has provided us with advice, technical information, specifications and quotes for the systems together with clear instructions regarding all the grant funding available for these systems and invaluable guidance through this complicated process. If you are looking for clear and easily understandable advice, full detailed technical information, a prompt response and strong support together with comprehensive help on the grants system, I have no hesitation in recommending the service Ace Energy provides to anyone considering Renewable energy technologies.”

Community schemes like Salway Ash continue to attract large amounts of funding and will save enormously in energy bills – and of course help create a cleaner greener environment.

Contact Ace Energy if you would like to consider renewable energy for your community scheme or commercial building.

Excellent examples where funds can be gained include care homes, educational buildings, farms, charities – even businesses can apply for full funding on such schemes – so why not get in touch to see what can be done to benefit your project – you’ve nothing to lose but so very much to gain from renewable energy!


Lets Get Energized says:
ACE Energy installs PV System onto Community Centre in Bath

Category: Solar Energy
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Dorset Energized are very excited to be in partnership with ACE Energy – Award Winning Plumbing, Heating & Renewable Energy Specialists who design, install and commission Combined Heat & Power systems including; Solar Photovoltaic (PV), Solar ThermalHeat Pumps and Biomass (Wood Energy).

Their Renewable Energy arm based in North Dorset have recently installed a 22 kW solar PV system on the roof of the Percy Centre.

The Percy Community Centre was opened in 1991 to provide community facilities for the diverse communities of Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES). The aims of the organisation are to provide a well-maintained, accessible community resource for other voluntary sector and community groups and to support the economic activities of individuals with a range of services. The Centre now has over 50,000 users a year and hosts a regular schedule of around 25 different activities each week, including dancing, creative writing, parenting advice, welfare to work programmes, play groups and a wide range of sports and martial arts.

The Photovoltaic system has already generated 5,000 kWh of power and their last electricity bill for the whole of the centre was only £100 leaving more money for their community activities.

Lee Smith – Director of ACE Energy says:

“We are very proud of this installation – not only is it an excellent sized system generating renewable energy for Bath – it is also saving money being positioned on a very worthwhile community project in the City. The system will generate around £2,000 worth of zero carbon electricity and raise the green credentials of The Percy Centre. We would love to do more of these types of schemes and encourage Village Halls and other Community buildings to get in touch with Dorset Energized and learn more about the benefits from renewable energy installations”.

Find out more about Solar Energy here:


Vince Adams says:
Respect Organics “Riding on Sunshine” with Good Energy!

Category: Electric Transport, Green Electricity, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Sustainable Living

vince-e-bike  vince-dorset-solar-1  ro1s

Some time ago, as Managing Director of my family business Respect Organics – which is based in Shaftesbury and very proud to be the UK’s leading organic cake producers – I became interested in renewable energy. Its closeness to Organic Food and The Landscape made it attractive partners for both Respect Organics and our Art Gallery, hence why we helped to found

My wife Lin and I aren’t green revolutionaries, but as a family we’ve always simply loved nature and the countryside. As someone who always looks to the future I embraced the concept of ‘future proofing’ and so was the first in our home village of Sturminster Newton (and probably for miles around) to cover our roof in solar panels and buy a lime green Smart car. I also help with the local Sturminster Transition Town project, and appreciate just how complicated all the green issues are. In all honesty the Respect Organics cakes are organic because that way they simply ‘are what they are’, no compromise. What it always comes down to in the end is taste and good value. (And you should see us demolish a ginger cake!). So we helped set up Dorset Energized to share our passion and help inspire Dorset people to get energized with renewable energy!

From that point it was a small step to find and change to a green energy supplier who supply electricity from completely renewable sources…

Good Energy fitted that bill with their overwhelming commitment to renewables and so we changed supply in our bakery, offices and at home. We were meet with caring real people who were contactable and approachable. It felt like a time long overdue and its been a great experience having them as our supplier.

I now also have a Nissan LEAF 100% electric car supplied by FJ Chalkes which I love and on good days I charge it using our solar panels at home fitted by NGPS Renewables – read more about that here. My wife Lin calls it “Riding on sunshine” and frankly that’s how it feels! Plus my electric bicycle also makes for a smooth effortless ride. Controls allow me to use differing levels of power and at the lower the e-bike has an average range of 50 miles!

We are thrilled to have also teamed up with them so we can provide an exclusive offer to Dorset Energized users to help you make the switch to green energy too – so if you switch to Good Energy, quote ‘Dorset Energized’ and they’ll give you an amazing £50 off your first bill so you can start saving money straight away! Click here to switch to Good Energy today – we think you will be as happy as we are!


Lets Get Energized says:
Take a peek at Dorchester’s Eco-Homes

Category: Biomass Energy, Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Heat Pumps, Solar Energy, Sustainable Living

Take a look at some of the homes that previously opened their doors to Dorset visitors as part of the Greendor Open EcoHomes Weekend in Dorchester…


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Above: The Old House at Home, Dorchester

This former public house dating from about 1750, Grade II Listed, has been retro-fitted with solar PV panels, internal insulation, and low energy technologies, bringing energy use down to under half an average household’s.


Above: Streetway Lane, Cheselbourne

A former police house, built in the 1950s complete with cells! The owners were the first in their village to fit solar thermal panels, and now have solar PVs and an Air Source Heat Pump as well. A pioneering rainwater harvesting system with UV filter provides drinking water.


Above: Watery Lane, Upwey

Built in 2007 to the owners’ design, this timber framed house has solar PV panels, a ground source heat pump and solar water heating. Local and recycled materials have been extensively used, and rainwater harvesting has been installed.


Above: Dorchester Road, Maiden Newton

This terraced house built pre 1840 close to River Frome, had the ground floor re-planned for flood resilience, including removable flood barriers. Renovated using lime mortar, clay paint and lime render.The home is heated by an air source heat pump, wood stove and solar hot water.


Above: Manor Road, Dorchester

This 1940s detached house has been adapted for sustainable living with solar hot water and PV panels, poly bead cavity wall insulation, grey water recycling. They keep poultry in their backyard too. They use no car, but electric bikes and bike trailers. Garden loads by electric miniature railway. Newly built solar conservatory helps to heat the house.


Above: Chalk Wall House, Dorchester

Completed in 2010, this eco-home was designed and project-managed by the owners’ son whilst he was an architectural student, and built by the family. North and west walls of rammed chalk dug on site help to keep a stable internal temperature. Wall and roof Insulation uses wood fibre and sheep’s wool, and lime render is used in the external finish. The house has a green roof and many other eco-features.


Above: St Helens Road, Dorchester

A late Victorian house in a Conservation Area. Planning limitations have ruled out some options, so the owners have fitted their solar thermal panel out of sight at the rear and their solar PV panels in the back garden. They are trialling DIY secondary double glazing as an alternative to new windows on the front of the house, grow food at Dorchester’s community farm, and are pioneering a wood recycling project.

For more information on other Open Eco-Homes Days in Dorset visit

Read more about all your Renewable Energy Options or see more ideas on Saving Energy.


Lets Get Energized says:
Meet the Good People Bringing Good Energy to Dorset

Category: Community Energy, Dorset Energized News, Solar Energy
Tags: ,

Hugo House (above), Dorset Developer for Good Energy, shares the latest news on their proposed solar farms in Dorset (following on from our previous post in August 2013: Good Energy plans 3 new solar farms in Dorset)…

Having grown up in Dorset, I can’t help but love its countryside. Many of my school days at Dumpton in Wimborne were spent on Dorset’s heathland, our outdoor ‘biology lab’, where I learned more about the value and the vulnerability of our local ecosystems than any classroom could offer. 25 years later it’s a pleasure to be working in Dorset on Good Energy’s solar projects. I strongly believe that Good Energy has a great opportunity to create solar farms that have a positive impact on wildlife and for local people. We want our projects to showcase how renewable energy, agriculture, biodiversity, education and the economy can work together and thrive.

The obvious benefit of a solar farm is the clean energy it gives us that contributes to our national energy security. Our aim is to make sure our solar sites can be used for sheep grazing too. This means they keep an agricultural value and a grazing herd is the most practical way to manage the vegetation. The solar farms will become pasture for 25 years or longer. By over-sowing the grassland with nectar-rich wild flowers we can encourage pollinating insects, providing safe haven for our rare species of bees and provide a new foundation for the entire food chain, helping to boost biodiversity. We are also exploring the opportunity to recreate heathland at our solar farms, a habitat that has suffered through Dorset’s development.

We want to use our solar projects to encourage school children to get outdoors. These sites can support so many aspects of learning including environmental, ecological, even physics and maths, inspiring kids today, just like I was a quarter of a century ago.

Our projects can bring direct benefits, socially and economically to the local community and this is exactly what we are aiming to do.

Will Turner (above), Trading and Forecasting Manager for Good Energy

Like Hugo, Will grew up in Dorset and his family have lived near Dorchester for three generations.

Will says, “I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors and Dorset was a wonderful place to grow up. I got married here and I think Dorset is one of the most beautiful places in the UK.”

Joining Good Energy three years ago enabled Will to move out of the city and back to the countryside he loves.

“I’m excited about Good Energy’s plans for solar in Dorset. In my role, I match the power produced by our generators using hydro, wind, solar and anaerobic digestion technologies with our customers’ demand for electricity. I know how important solar has become to provide the lion’s share of power our customers use between March and September. Dorset’s fantastic sun hours make a meaningful contribution for Good Energy and for the county.”

Above: Mock-up of the proposed Mapperton Solar Farm 

As Dorset Energized reported last month, shockingly, currently only 1% of Dorset’s total energy demand comes from renewables – this is a third of the UK national average so to play our part in meeting national renewable energy targets, generation needs to increase by over 15 times in just 8 years. Apparently, we have the highest number of sun hours in the country, so solar is an obvious and exciting solution for Dorset.

Read full details of Good Energy’s three Dorset solar projects – Homeland Solar Farm, Mapperton Solar Farm and Woolbridge Solar Farm – to find out what we’re planning at:


Vince Adams says:
Vince & Lin “Riding on Sunshine” in Sturminster Newton!

Category: Electric Transport, Solar Energy

My first set of solar panels were installed 10 years ago and I never thought that I should look to change or update…

However, after a conversation with Nick Good at NGPS Renewables I was convinced that I could seriously benefit from upgrading my set up.

The results were amazing. My original array was actually laid on the wooden roof beams with the tiles taken away. The first thing NGPS did was completely renew my roof with new tiling. Next I had beautiful new panels put up with individual computer terminals all connected to an internet site that monitors each one and tells me day by day what energy we are producing.

I also found out that a number of my original panels were not working and thus reducing my energy output, so this is a warning to everyone to have regular checks by good installers or engineers of their solar energy systems.

The great thing is that solar now heats our shower water for the morning and energy for my Nissan LEAF 100% electric car from FJ Chalkes in nearby Wincanton and my e-bike too – essentially making my travel now almost free of charge!!! Plus the electricity is from 100% renewable energy with Good Energy as we switched to them for our home and business supply – you can read more here. My wife calls it, “Riding on sunshine!” and that’s how it feels!


Lets Get Energized says:
Dorset & the South West Going Solar Powered with NGPS

Category: Solar Energy
Tags: , , , ,

Dorset Energized are very excited to be in partnership with the “Best Renewables Installers in the South” – NGPS Ltd – Award Winning Electrical and Renewable Energy Contractors experienced in the design, supply and installation of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) and Solar Thermal, as well as Ground & Air Source Heat Pumps which are the perfect renewable energy partner for Solar Power.

They have been busy getting the people of Dorset and surrounding counties energized with solar power! Check out some examples of their solar installations below:

Solar Powered Home in Bridport
In 2013 NGPS fitted 16 Canadian 250 watt Mono modules with Enphase micro inverters on a home in Bridport, Dorset. These inverters are guaranteed for 25 years.

As of 1st July 2013, NGPS have actually completed 50 Enphase PV systems and are the first Dorset company to do so. Enphase is described as “The future of Solar” as its proven microinverter technology maximizes production of each module, enabling flexible designs and cost-effective installations. Enphase delivers more kilowatt-hours daily, monthly and yearly – even through the partial shade of clouds, trees, or structural obstructions. Plus, it increases uptime by eliminating the single point of failure common to traditional inverters.


Solar Powered Adventure Park in Swanage
In June 2013 NGPS installed solar panels for a specialist adventure park builders, JM Adventure of Swanage, Dorset. They had 10kW of solar PV installed onto its business premises, adding to the growing list of companies who are going green and reducing their carbon footprint here in Dorset and the UK.


Solar Powered Garages in Wimborne
The owners of a thatched cottage near Wimborne, Dorset wanted solar PV so NGPS installed 4kW onto the South facing garage back in February 2012. This system is producing over 3900 kW hours a year, providing the owners a return on investment above 12% per year, tax free and index linked for 20 years. The electricity generated is fed back into the cottage, reducing the import bill.


Solar Powered Home in Poole
In May 2013, a 3 kW PV system was installed by NGPS in Creekmoor, Poole, Dorset. This is 12 Canadian 250 MONO modules with Enphase individual inverters. All this equipment has a 25 year warranty. All installed including energy performance certificate and VAT for under £6,000. This system will pay for itself in under 7 years, will provide a tax free index linked income and reduce the electrical import cost.


Solar Powered Business Unit in the New Forest
Freestyle Signs near Cadnam in the New Forest, Hampshire/Dorset have reduced their company’s carbon footprint and installed a 2.25kW solar PV system onto the business unit, installed by NGPS in June 2013. This will provide them with a feed in tariff income which is tax free and index linked, and will also reduce the electrical import costs. All guaranteed for 20 years.


Solar Farm in Worth Matravers
NPGS installed solar panels on a farm at the Renscombe Estate, Worth Matravers, Dorset.


Solar Power Bowling Club in Honiton
In July 2013, NGPS fitted Honiton Bowling Club in Devon with 7.9 kW of solar PV to reduce its running costs and reduce its carbon footprint. This £15K system with 260 watt ELPS modules and Enphase micro inverters will pay for itself in less than 6 years. All the equipment is guaranteed for 25 years and the feed in contract is 20 years. On 4th July this system started generating at 5.10 am and stopped at 9.20pm.


Solar Powered Offices in Poole
And of course, the NGPS offices in Poole, Dorset, are also solar powered!


NGPS offer a FREE Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) Energy Survey to establish your energy usage and tailor your renewable installations to suit. They are not tied to any manufacturer or supplier and can therefore supply and install the best solution to each application. As Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) members they have built their business on quality installations using quality tradesmen. The ECA represents the best in electrical engineering and building services and only associate themselves with the top few percent of electrical contractors. Their quality and customer care is second to none, as Dorset Energized’s own founding member Vince Adams can testify after being particularly impressed with his recent solar PV installation by NGPS.

They are accredited by MSC, Green Deal, REAL Assurance, BPVA, ECA, NAPIT and Trust Mark.

Their company mission statement is: NIL SATIS NISI OPTIMUM (Nothing But The Best)! They believe that Renewable Energy systems add value to your property and significantly improve your homes Energy Performance Certificate. Their founder Nick Good, who also runs the Sustainability Roadshow and Green Deal Dorset in association with the Dorset Green Knowledge Network, says: “We may be beaten on price by others using fixed price sub contractors using cheap low quality equipment, but we are never beaten on quality.”

Find out more about Solar Energy here:


Wendy Pillar says:
Green Energy Our Way at Wendy Pillar’s Home!

Category: Biomass Energy, Solar Energy, Sustainable Living

When we moved to our house, it was very much with a green lifestyle in mind. It had a good deal going for it, such as enough land to grow most of our own food, and a rainwater harvesting system. It also had two-foot-thick walls and thus excellent insulation, but the heating was a real weak point. There was an old Franco-Belge range that had been DIY converted to run on oil. It was so thirsty that we could barely afford to turn it on, and we shivered through the first couple of winters with lukewarm showers and cold radiators.

A biomass boiler would have been ideal, but it was beyond our budget. The range could be put back to running on wood, but we didn’t want to rely only on that. Our temporary house had been heated only with a wood-burning stove, and getting up to a cold house on a winter’s morning or coming home to the cold after being out all day was not fun. We are not fans of the hair-shirt approach to green living, and I still shiver at the memory of ice on the inside of my childhood bedroom window in the morning!

In the end, we did convert the range back, re-using what you have always being a good green option. This was a labour of love, as it had been thoroughly butchered. A couple of parts had to be remade by the manufacturer in France, apparently when the wind was in the right direction and the planets correctly aligned, judging by the length of time it took. It now heats the hot water, as well as the ground floor and a radiator on each of the other two floors, and so far has run entirely on wood produced from our own hedge-laying and coppiced trees. I am still working out how to be able to use it for cooking, but it is theoretically feasible.

The range is backed up with a modern, efficient oil boiler. It is a simple system. The central heating comes on for an hour in the morning and on a timer late afternoon – if the house is already warm from the range, it doesn’t fire up at all or does so for only a short time. If we’ve been out, though, and the fire has not been lit, the central heating comes on fully so we come home to a warm house.

The hot water cylinder has a third coil ready for solar thermal, which will heat the water in the summer months, meaning that the hot water switch on the boiler should be permanently off. At the time the budget didn’t run to the solar thermal, but it is now booked to be done for the spring. This should cut our oil bill further, to less than 500 litres per year, and if oil ever became prohibitively expensive, we could manage entirely without it.

It’s not the kind of high-tech system that Kevin McCloud would be interested in for Grand Designs, but it is simple, user-friendly and was not too expensive. It reduces our consumption of heating oil by about two-thirds, reducing our carbon footprint accordingly, while giving a lovely warm house and ample hot water, which is very welcome now in the depths of winter!

To find out more about your Wood Energy options see: and for more information on Solar Energy see:


Paul McIntosh says:
Tip of the Pops Award Winning Eco-Disco!

Category: Dorset Energized News, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy
Tags: , , , ,

Tip of the Pops is an award winning eco-disco made by combining recycling and renewable energy. Their unique brand of environmental activism with mass boogie appeal has been ‘Keeping it wheel…’ since 2007.

Tip of the Pops is actually DJ Dynamo and Earwig his solar powered wheelbarrow disco. All of the equipment and music is reclaimed waste from local recycling centres. The basic system is ‘wheely’ mobile and can be used anywhere, there is also a larger mobile disco using the same ‘Ecotainment’ philosophy.

DJ Dynamo has the freedom to set up anywhere, no power required. He can provide family entertainment, late night parties, educational activities, join in with parades or pop-up in obscure places. There are also several fun demonstrations such as a pedal powered beat-box and recycled solar ovens that can be used at your school or event. This year we have performed a world exclusive at Shambala festival, business lunches in Blandford, Salisbury schools, community fairs, weddings, children’s birthday parties and much more. Previous clients include the Dorset Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency and Lush.

DJ Dynamo says “I have a very small sound system as I am limited to what I can carry on my barrow, I mainly play vinyl 7” singles that’s 5 decades of dance music! It’s very low volume compared to alternative mobile discos but maximum fun and completely environmental. Tip of the Pops is not-for-profit and any private / commercial bookings subsidise our community work.”

If you would like to book Tip of the Pops or find out more please visit the website or contact DJ Dynamo on 07789865934.


2Comments | Post your own comment

  • vince adams comments:
    "Love the eco disco would you be happy to come to any of our events for renewable energy ? "
    November 30, 2014 a 9:48 am

  • Collette Drayson comments:
    "Hi Lee, Vince and Paul.
    Hey…thats our Down2Earth PEAT yurt !
    Would you be up for coming along to a school event. :o) Hope you are doing ok.
    x Collette "

    November 20, 2012 a 6:45 pm


Anna Celeste Watson says:
New Eco Holiday Cottage in Wool, Dorset

Category: Biomass Energy, Eco Homes DIY & Tourism, Energy Efficiency, Green Electricity, Solar Energy, Sustainable Living
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Fresh from the excitement of launching the Dorset Energized website, I am also very excited about another renewable energy website I have just created for the new Railway Eco Cottage in Dorset…

Catherine Fisher from Swanage (who now lives in Scotland but frequently visits Dorset) has lovingly renovated her old family terraced cottage in Wool, in an eco-conscious way, and I am very impressed by her commitment to making it as green as possible simply because she feels it is the right thing to do!

Here’s how she has made this 100 year old end of terrace into a practical, contemporary and beautifully presented eco-home:

SOLAR THERMAL PANELS on the roof heat all the water, of which there is always an abundant supply (but of course she encourages her guests to be mindful of their water usage).

All appliances are electric (no gas) and powered by Good Energy’s 100% RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY upon Dorset Energized’s recommendation (and she respectfully asks visitors to be mindful of their energy usage and to switch off appliances and lights when not in use).

UNDERFLOOR HEATING is more energy efficient. The WOODEN FLOORS are also an eco-friendly product designed to retain heat and are also very hardwearing so shouldn’t need to be replaced.

A WOODBURNER is more energy efficient and uses carefully sourced wood logs as fuel.

ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTBULBS are used on all light fittings throughout the whole cottage.

The kitchen table was made from RECLAIMED WOOD and both beds and mattresses made from SUSTAINABLE SOURCES.

ECOVER products are provided for her guests convenience and the cleaners Dust & Shine also use ECO-FRIENDLY products. There is deliberately no tumble dryer to encourage guests to use the WASHING LINE to save energy.

She encourages her guests to take advantage of PUBLIC TRANSPORT especially with Wool train station situated next door, or to explore Dorset by walking or cycling. Guests can keep their bikes in the undercover porch or shed but she is also currently building a special area just for bikes.

The garden shed has a WOOD STORAGE area and she makes RECYCLING and COMPOSTING easy with specially fitted bins in the kitchen cupboard doors.

Even during the renovation, Catherine was very careful not to waste any materials that could be RECYCLED and used ECO-FRIENDLY PAINTS.

The cottage is a perfect base to explore Dorset for anyone who loves simple holidays and nature, especially with it being right by the River Frome, and is ideal for eco-conscious travellers.

Catherine would be delighted to offer you advice on your own eco home renovations, or installing solar thermal panels or woodburners – email her on

Check out the website for photos and more inspiration, and make sure you recommend your friends!


Keith Wheaton-Green says:
My Solar PV Installation

Category: Solar Energy
Tags: , , , , ,

Even when we moved into our house in Hazelbury Bryan in 1989 I knew I would one day put some photovoltaic panels on the roof. It’s a nice simple roof and near perfect south facing. In fact is southerly orientation is one of the main reasons we like the house. It always feels light and sunny (weather permitting.) However, my wife is very pragmatic, we’ve never been rich and the cost of the panels has been just too high. When I checked the first time in 1999 they had a 50 year pay back! So it was a no.

Then during a pleasant drunken session at my local pub one evening during 2010, I persuaded a fellow village mate that he could benefit from a career change to become a PV salesman because I reckoned (beware of people who reckon something!) that the new feed in tariff that the government were introducing would lead to massive growth of that industry. I have to admit to being very surprised to discover a few months later, that he had taken me seriously and had become very busy with what he described as “consultative salesmanship” at a series of home visits and surveys.

I felt obliged to allow him to quote for a 4 kW PV array on our roof. He told me he’d give me a good deal (as they do.) I got a couple of other quotes and “negotiated” a bit. Even my wife now thought the financials looked good. £15,000 for a 4 kW 16 panel top of the range (18% efficient) Sanyo system. The returns were estimated to be a total of £1.870 from the feed in tariff, lower electricity bills and electrical export to our electricity supplier from the 3,700 kWh our system was expected to generate. That’s an eight year payback and a 12.4% return in the first year!

We had various bits of savings, none of them earning more than 3.5 % after tax (and some a lot less!). So we bit the bullet and had the panels installed on 22nd June 2011. As of 18th April 2012 we have generated 3,240 kWh and received 2 cheques from our electricity supply company for the first 6 months totalling £943. We still have a bit of April, May and most of June to go before it will have been in for a year so I think we will comfortably exceed the predicted generation. I reckon (I do a lot of reckoning) that our end of year generation will be around 4,100 kWh. That will be worth £2,120 giving us a 14% return and a 7 year payback.

However, I was miffed to discover that if I purchased the same system today it would cost us just £8,000! But then you have probably heard that the government have dropped the tariff rate by half to 21p/kWh. That would be giving me a 14.9% return. So not much change. The good news for us is that once you have installed, your tariff rate goes up by inflation each year (for us it is 45.4p/kWh from 1st April 2012), so up goes the rate of return and down comes the payback period. Any increases in electricity prices make it even better (sort of!)

1Comments | Post your own comment

  • James McKenzy comments:
    "Hello I think that your blog is very nice! "
    August 29, 2012 a 7:12 am


Lets Get Energized says:
Solar PV Installation at Thornford Primary School

Category: Solar Energy
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Solar panels installation at Thornford Primary School, Dorset.

Nature of Project
Thornford CE VA Primary School is a “green flag” eco school and has been involved with the Eco Schools programme since 2007. The school has a dedicated eco committee who carry out, amongst other things, yearly environmental assessments of the school including the building and grounds. From these assessments action plans are drawn up on ways to save electricity, raise pupil, staff and carer awareness and ways of improving sustainability within the school.

A number of green initiatives have been implemented since 2007 including; recycling paper, cardboard, tin cans, ink cartridges, clothing, planting hedgerows, creating wildlife areas, installation of an outdoor classroom and raising a greater understanding of the wildlife upon whom share school facilities.

Pupils, staff and governors at Thornford CE VA Primary School are continually looking for ways of improving sustainability within the school community. It was a natural progression to undertake a large scale project such as Project PV. It was felt that the installation of PV panels would not only help the school to reduce its carbon emissions and save money on electricity but it would also act as a useful teaching tool for the school and the wider community.

A grant-funded feasibility study was commissioned by Encraft. The company’s service extended to advising on grants, installers and planning approval, which the school found invaluable.

The school found the planning process relatively straightforward and planning permission was granted swiftly. Part of the application was to trim the neighbouring walnut tree allowing more sunlight onto the panels, but unfortunately this was rejected due to a tree preservation order. After consultation with the installers it was decided it would not significantly impact the efficiency of the panels.

EcoFirst, a local installation company, was commissioned to install the panels during the October half-term 2010. An electricity monitor was placed in the school hall so all pupils, staff, governors, carers and visitors can see first hand the electricity being produced and the carbon emissions being saved. It is early days for Project PV but to date 280 kWh of electricity has been produced. It is anticipated that the panels will reduce the school’s annual electricity bill by around £850.

The school found the grant process challenging and time consuming with many hours spent filling in grant applications and waiting delayed decisions. The school was grateful to receive grants of £8,615 from LCBP2 and £4,500 from Dorset County Council, however this left a shortfall of approximately £5,000 which needed to be found. The timeframe from first notification of the LCBP2 grant to implementation and completion of the project was also challenging in that it did not give enough time to find the shortfall of monies. After a number of unsuccessful grant applications to utilities, the school had no option but to make up the shortfall itself to ensure Project PV went ahead.

Community Involvement
A questionnaire was sent to all 358 households in Thornford to gauge their level of support /feeling towards Project PV. 71 households returned their questionnaire. 96% supported the idea of solar panels whilst 69% felt it was important that Thornford community attempted to reduce its carbon emissions. 80% said if the school could show significant savings on energy and cash from PV panels, it would inspire them to see how they could save energy at home.

This story was provided by Sustainable Dorset, the website for DA21:

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