Energy Alternatives

Solar energy, wind turbines whatever it is then here is your place to talk about it.

Energy Alternatives

Postby scotsmart » Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:11 pm

Just a rapid question on this topic folks.

Is it possibly to obtain a solar/ground source heat pump system without breaking the bank as ive done a bit of searching and so far everything seems rather expensive? making it not worth doing which is a crying shame as i am confident we cant be the only family wanting to but not being able to afford such equipment. Which seems at odds with particularily Scottish Gov statements on being behind alternative energy sources?

We would happily have solar panels installed at our property but quite frankly cant afford to do so, i did contact a company down south who would i think install free or heavily subsidised and take a cut in the returned energy but they state Scotland doesnt have enough hours of sunshine to make it a viable propisition for them? so am i then to suppose that all the many thousand panels already fitted in Scotland are simply a wait of money/time?

Can anyone make sense out of it for me as its an area that i am interested in going further with if at all possible.

Also to run your average homes electrical needs (we have no kids and are quite energy efficient as is in terms of our use) what ammount of panels would we require for an all electric house excluding the heating which in that case would be solid fueled and any ideas of rough costings for a 3 apt 1930's cottage property or indeed a viable alternative, if solars not the answer?

As always your combined expertise is appriciated and of great value to use.

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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby demi » Mon Dec 12, 2011 2:07 pm

im from scotland too and im sure there is a grant or somthing avalible for installing solar pannels. my mum's friends just got them installed and im sure they got some kind of grant towards the cost. it is expencive though.
we were thinking of getting those small solar pannels, the ones that charge batteries, they are about £300-400. but you end up needing loads of pannels and batteries and have to run cables everywhere because they are not very powerful and 1 pannel can only really power 1 thing at a time.
there is also grant for insulating your house. my parents were able to get all their loft relayed with insulation last year from this, and they are not pensioners or on low income or anything like that.
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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby scotsmart » Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:00 pm

Hi there
Whilst there is preportedly grants available for allsorts its in the Highlands getting any thats the hard part, as a housing association tenant they are supposed to keep their stock up to or above current ratings/standards our loft insulation is not up to standard we know that for fact? where our last HA as a matter of course fitted loft insulation 3 x in the nine or so years we lived there its is apparently up to the HA as they are financed differently it seems that none of the normal grants apply then placing us in a sticky wicket awaiting redtape, beurocracy and darn stupidity its without doubt that maybe, just maybe if were lucky they might do something suitable before we freeze!

We had the smaller suitcase, smaller sized solar panels which are fine on a motorhome as in the use we put then to but in a house situation its neither practical nor cost affective to be honest for the subsequent possible gains if any ? fine to keep your laptop charged whilst holidaying or your main battery topped up but thats about the top & bottom of it all as far as they are concerned..

I remain searching for the answer then thanks for your input however
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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby dave45 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:31 pm

Solar PV is hopelessly uneconomic compared to grid electricity anywhere in the world. It is far worse in Northern Europe compared to the sunny Mediterranean. In Scotland where it appears to rain 300 days a year you've no chance, and yes they are a waste of money, probably someone else's if they have been subsidised. The Solar FITs (which have just been halved this week), are effectively a subsidy from the general population to those in the sunny south, as any Scots on the scheme won't be getting much
The only time this will change is if the manufacturing costs of solar panels fall to about a tenth of what they are today. Possible but not likely.

Solar PV in this grey country of ours definitely works, but it is an expensive toy. I know. I have some.

Feel free to experiment, but you will probably learn that it is easier and cheaper to save a unit of energy that to try and generate it (by PV, water, wind or whatever) unless you have extraordinary natural resources. You'll get much more value investing in insulation rather than PV.

Alternative energy is hard.
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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby scotsmart » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:32 am

Dave
Many thanks that kind of all makes sense i think i shall hold off on this then untill there is at least a massive drop in costs that would possibly make it more worthwhile.

Slanj
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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby demi » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:09 am

Carl wrote:Its really good information here, I always appreciate the threads like this. I think the solar energy is the best energy alternative in the future world. After some years when all other energy sources will dis appear then solar energy will only be the source. I am also working in energy conservation firms to get people aware about the future. Thank you.



and in the future as the sun ages it will get brighter and give out more soler evergy for us to use. thats if humans are still arround by then. im sure there will be some point inbetween now and when the seas start to boil that will be better off :lol:
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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby greenorelse » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:53 am

dave45 wrote:it is easier and cheaper to save a unit of energy that to try and generate it (by PV, water, wind or whatever)


Very wise words. Everyone who thinks about the amount of money they pay without first seriously considering the amount of energy they use should have the words tattooed on their partner's forehead.
There is no question. Cap and Share or TEQs is the answer. Even Cap and Dividend!
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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby Zech » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:25 pm

The main difference from previous offers is that it's not a grant, it's a loan that has to be paid back through your energy bills. Initially they were promising that the savings from whatever you have installed will outweigh the increased payments (which they achieve by having a very long loan repayment period) but I see that's now downgraded to, "Repayments will be no more than what a typical household should save in energy costs."

The peculiar thing is that the loan is tied to the house, rather than the person, so that if you sell your house, the new owners then have to pay back your loan. I predict that this will be challenged in the courts within a few years and I'm not sure what would happen then. I guess if you'd gone for the green deal then moved house, you might find yourself paying back a loan for work on a house you no longer live in.

In short, I think it looks a bit odd from a legal standpoint, so I'd be wary of taking it up. I also resent that fact that it's a loan (interest rate to be fixed when you sign the contract) when we used to get grants.
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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby KeithBC » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:52 am

Solar electricity has a long way to go to compete economically with grid energy. Solar thermal, though is perfectly practical even in cloudy climates. It's been cloudy here for two months straight, but yesterday (Dec 12th) the clouds were thin enough that the solar hot water system came on. It is pre-heating the well water and getting it up to 32 degrees Celsius before it goes to the electric heater. I am amazed at how well it does even in midwinter. In summer, of course, it provides 100% of our hot water needs. Scotland isn't significantly cloudier than this.

Supplying the "average family's electrical needs" can't realistically be done on solar energy. That is because the average family's electrical usage is unreasonable. However, an unusually thrifty family's electrical needs could probably be met with solar, especially with a grid-tie sytem that made up shortages with grid power and sold surplus power back to the grid.
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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby diggernotdreamer » Fri Dec 14, 2012 7:53 pm

We looked into quite a few different energy solutions and we came to the conclusion that we could spend thousands on systems that would probably not be of much good and that the best producers of energy are the electricity companies. We try to use our energy wisely, may put a very small solar panel linked to our hot water tank at some stage as Keith has. Another thing I have come to the conclusion is that energy saving light bulbs are a complete crock. I had bought into them for years, until recently, when I broke one. The wizard took it to bits and to our horror, inside is a load of copper wire and a tiny circuit board, plus the mercury inside the tube and then the plastic bit that the bulb sits in. Not only that, they are all made in China where they are building power stations at a rate of knots every week, importing raw materials from all around the world etc to make cheap energy saving bulbs which are then transported thousands of miles, and we can't recycle them, wonder what their carbon footprint is. Anyway, we now use rough service light bulbs (ie old fashioned ones) which gets round the rules!!???!!! and turn them off when we are not using them, plus they do produce heat, which does help put a bit of heat in the house and they use far less materials in their manufacture........ now sounding like one of them grumpy old women on that tv show
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Re: Energy Alternatives

Postby safronsue » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:22 am

greenorelse wrote:
dave45 wrote:it is easier and cheaper to save a unit of energy that to try and generate it (by PV, water, wind or whatever)


Very wise words. Everyone who thinks about the amount of money they pay without first seriously considering the amount of energy they use should have the words tattooed on their partner's forehead.

sorry to requote but i get this sooooo much right now, sitting here in my open plan house where we cannot afford to turn on the central heating and the wood burner is going like the clappers and all the heat is disappearing in a whoosh to the cold space up the stairwell. we need to close in the stairwell obviously.
like a mantra"it is easier and cheaper to save a unit of energy that to try and generate it" :salute: :study:
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