Monthly archives: July 2010

Greece has recently gone through the greatest financial crisis to affect a member of the Eurozone since the introduction of the single currency ten years ago. With raging unemployment exacerbated by huge cut-backs in public sector spending, the Athens government spent the first quarter of 2010 faced by riots in the streets, a result of the financial crisis which is hitting the Greeks harder than anybody.

However, plans are afoot to revitalise the stricken Greek economy with the announcement yesterday that 12 billion euros will be invested in green projects in an attempt to create jobs in new renewable industries. In a press release issued by the Greek government, Tina Birbili the Environment Minister said,

“The ministry hopes the programme will decisively contribute to face recession and lead to dynamic economic growth”

Birbili believes that renewable projects could attract around 32 billion euros of investment from around the world creating up to 192,000 jobs. This will at least come as a glimpse of light in a country where unemployment is steadily on the rise and national debt is at an all time high. The EU bailout, funded largely by Germany expires in 2 years, by which point Greece will be hoping that the economy is back on track.

Both Gordon Brown and Barack Obama have been keen exponents of renewable energy as a means of kick-starting the struggling economies of the UK and US respectively. Sound bites such as ‘Green New Deal’ have regularly appeared in the press both sides of the Atlantic in a reference to the government projects of the 1930’s designed to boost recovery after the Great depression. It seems that Greece is going to follow this lead with a number of projects now in the pipeline.

Certainly, with Greece already falling behind other southern European countries with regards to its renewable energy uptake, the investment could provide the vital impetus needed to get the renewable energy industry in Greece on its feet. With targets of generating 40 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, they have their work cut out.


Here at Solarfeedintariff we like everybody to share their feelings on solar energy. One of our readers has been kind enough to give his thoughts on his new solar system and the report is below. Please feel free to submit any articles you feel would help educate the world on solar energy.

We have an unshaded South West facing roof at about 45o angle.  We had scaffolding for some quite substantial roof work, so decided to use the opportunity to have PV panels installed.  Because of a dormer, we had little space and could accommodate only four panels, mounted horizontally, giving us a maximum of just less than 1kw. The supplier was a JHS, a small company in Banbury.

The inverter gives a reading of the current power and total units each day – this gives lots of opportunities for taking readings and doing all sorts of nerdy analysis. Over the first four weeks (July) we are averaging 3.5 units per day.  On about the 15 August the sun will actually hit the panels square on at one point in the day – will this be the best day overall?   Facing SW, the panels do not see the sun at all until after 11 am (BST), until that time we generate more power from bright clouds than blue sky.  Hence it is ideally white cloud until mid morning and then sun – although we do get several hundred watts from bright white clouds.

Getting ourselves registered through our utility company (SSE) took a bit of effort.  The web-site was uninformative, emails were not replied to and I did not have the patience to wait for them to answer telephones.  Writing a letter worked, we were put in touch with the ‘microgeneration’ department and now have a feed-in contract.  There does not yet seem to be a formal scheme for submitting readings of our solar generation, we are asked just to write or email the reading every three months.

There are four ways you save money, three of them legal.  (i) The feed-in tariff, 41.3p per unit generated is very generous.  (ii) For the power you actually use while being generated, you obviously save on your electricity bill – around 11p per unit.  (iii) They also assume (they cannot measure, without extra equipment) that 50% of your power goes back into the grid, effectively this gives you get an extra 1.5p per unit generated.  (iv) If you have an old fashioned meter, the little wheel goes backwards  when you are not using all the power, and this drives the meter backwards – the effect of this is that you are saving 11p per unit on all the power you generate, not just that you use.  I suppose the utility company knows this – the meter does belong to them!

Our installation cost around £6000.  Will we get out money back?  Well at my age (67) maybe not, but we should see a substantial saving each year – and  it’s all been very interesting.

C J Pavelin July 2010

With Sunday churchgoing on the decline and churches regularly converted into trendy apartments, bars and nightclubs it perhaps comes as no surprise that around 44 per cent of Church of England dioceses are running deficits. However, a report released by British Gas has showed that the installation of solar panels on religious buildings could see the generation of around £30 million across the UK.

Utilising the feed-in tariff mechanism, the British Gas report suggests that the feed-in tariff scheme would not only provide a steady revenue stream for religious buildings in need of cash but also save up to around £5 million on electricity overheads with energy coming directly from the solar panels installed on the roof.

British Gas, who have already begun installing panels on the rooves of religious buildings see a huge potential both in carbon emission reduction and savings,

“These potential savings are great news for the UK’s religious buildings and their congregations, and give them the opportunity to lead their communities in tackling climate change and helping Britain move towards a low carbon society. Religious buildings are particularly well suited to solar power as they tend to have large south-facing rooves which receive direct sunlight for the main part of the day” commented MD of British Gas, Phil Bentley. 

“The Government’s Feed-In Tariff scheme is the key to unlocking the potential of solar power in Britain. As Britain’s energy company, we at British Gas are committed to helping households, business and community and faith groups make the most of this opportunity to cut their carbon footprint and earn money for the electricity they generate,” he added.

Already up and running on the new scheme is the St Silas church in Pentonville, London which is using a PV tiled roof to take advantage of the feed-in tariff mechanism. Taking time out to praise the scheme, Father Paul Richards of St Silas Church stated,

“The Church of England is committed to saving energy and becoming greener throughout the UK and the potential for solar panels on our churches is an exciting prospect. Even though not all UK churches could adopt this model due to planning and architectural conservation laws, there may be thousands of Church of England buildings out there that could help create a greener future by generating clean energy as well as some much needed income.”

Seemingly slow to catch on to the potential of renewable energy, it seemed that the UK had finally cottoned on to the advantages of green investments with the passing of the Energy Act, the creation of the Department of Clean Energy and Climate Change and the recent introduction of feed-in tariffs.

However, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has delivered a warning suggesting that cut-backs in government spending on low carbon initiatives could see the UK fall behind competitors in the green energy industry.

The CCC, which advises the government on meeting carbon emission reduction targets both in the short and long term has stated that the government should re-think cutting £34 million from renewable energy projects including wind, biofuel and geothermal energy. Indeed the CCC believes strongly that more investment should be made in green projects to ensure the long term viability of the British renewable industry.

With Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announcements confirming that certain grants for green projects will be cut, it certainly gives a slightly worrying indication that more cloth cutting could be taking place over the next 12 months. With this in mind, the CCC has highlighted the keys areas in critical need of continued government support:

·          Offshore wind

·          Tidal & wave power

·          Carbon dioxide capture and storage

·          Cleaner aviation

·          Electric vehicles

·          Smart power grids