News

The TWOs project is back!

The drastic government cut to the FiT meant the original project was no longer viable however an alternative plan was proposed that might just make the scheme work.   We hope to pilot the project on two streets, connect together the solar PV on multiple homes and make the generated energy available to any home on the street that wants to be involved. Colston Road and Chelsea Park have been identified as the two streets where it would be currently viable thanks to the ‘Back Alley’ construction costs would be significantly reduced.

December Update

Today the Government has announced what will happen to the Feed-in-Tariffs.  This effects whether the TWOS project can go ahead or not.

There may be some good news in it as the proposed 87% cut is now only a 64% cut.  Still it’s a big cut and we will need to look at the details and work out if we can move forward with the project.  We hope to provide another update soon after Christmas.

You can read more on the subject at the BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-35119173.

And for solar industry take on it see the Solar Power Portal news.

November update

Since we started the Two Wards Of Solar project much has happened.  Here’s an update on where we currently are.  There is good news and bad news, firstly the bad…

The bad news

You may have heard that the current government will cut solar PV subsidy in January by 87%!!! (the Feed-in-Tariff for solar electric panels). Some large solar companies have gone out of business as a result. Before this Government announcement, several local organisations were interested in funding the project, though now not until after the New Year. This gives us a big problem – as we are now unable to get money to pay for solar installations before 2016. This means that the project we hoped to do will no longer be possible. We had hoped to get some homes done before the cuts as this would have meant we could have done more afterwards, but we have run out of options for funding it.

The good news

There is plenty of interest in the project and we want to see if there is another way forward. We want to know if you would still be interested if the project took a different shape. For example, how would you feel about there being no community improvement fund, or if the electricity from your roof cost the same as from your grid supplier (e.g. ~15p/unit). We have a few ideas and hope you have some, too. We plan to hold an event to discuss what might be possible. If you would be willing to give an hour of your time then please get in touch via email or telephone.

Why did this happen?

Over the summer the Conservative government announced its proposed changes to its support for renewable energy.  This was an expected review and everyone was expecting a legitimate drop in subsidies due to falling costs.  This would not have been a major problem.  However, the proposals take a hatchet to the subsidies that will set the industry back for years.  This is no exaggeration.  All types of renewable energy are taking a big hit and domestic scale solar PV is hit the worst as they propose to cut it by 87%!

The conservative government’s excuse is that they want to keep household energy bills down.  So do we!  Solar was on track to become the cheapest form of energy.  They are worried about adding £6 pounds to an average bill of £1,300 in 2020.  This is a tiny amount compared to the subsidies that they currently give to coal and nuclear power in the form of tax breaks and guarantees for a minimum unit price.  The review is being driven by political ideology and not any kind of long term economic sense.

The irony is that if subsidies had continued for another 2-3 years solar PV would no longer need it.  It is the technology that is closest to what they call grid parity – the price where it can compete without subsidy against electricity generated from coal, gas and nuclear.  There is a real working future for solar PV, however it looks like Britain is about to slip further behind on taking advantage of this abundant source of energy.

In reality this Government decision will cost the whole UK economy as it will have to deal with continued high cost energy.

Stay with us

We hope you can join us for a meaningful discussion about how the project can be taken forward.  We want to know what demand there is from local people for cleaner & greener energy and what is an acceptable price to pay for it.  Get in touch via email or telephone.

Drop in session – Bedminster

This Thursday, 24th September, one of our team will be at the Southville Centre between 4pm and 6.30pm.  Come along and find out more about the project, we will be in the foyer.

Let us know what you like, and dislike, about the project.   We are open to tweaking the project to fit the needs of local people.  This project is about getting cheaper energy and doing it together as a community.  It also happens to be greener energy, too.

We are also planning to be at the  Ashton Vale Hub Celebration Event on Saturday 3rd October.  More details to follow.

(The Southville Centre is on Beauley Road,  close to the Southville Primary School)

Government plans to kill renewable energy in UK?

The government wants to slash by 87% subsidies for householders who install solar panels on their rooftops, in a move that renewable energy experts warn could kill off a promising industry.

You are no doubt looking at the TWOS web site because you want to fit solar PV panels on your roof. Your motives may be to reduce the the cost of your electricity; to move away form the big 6 energy suppliers cartel; to introduce localism into your energy mix in the same way you can grow foods in your garden; to help reduce your carbon footprint; or any other reason. We support your aims!  Our Gov’t via DECC and the Urban Community Energy Fund, to whom we are very grateful, has grant funded TWOS and this web site. Indeed UCEF worked very hard in support of our grant application – thanks!

However – you may have heard of our Government’s recent stance on renewables – this from recent news:

The government wants to slash by 87% subsidies for householders who install solar panels on their rooftops, in a move that renewable energy experts warn could kill off a promising industry.

The potential reductions in the level of feed-in tariff (FIT), contained in a long-awaited consultation document released by the Department of Energy & Climate Change (Decc), and are far larger than expected.

The assault on solar power comes after ministerial decisions to remove financial aid from new onshore wind farms and slash home energy efficiency measures. There is even speculation that Decc could be wound up as a standalone department.

From 1 January, ministers are proposing reducing the feed-in tariff for smaller scale solar installations from 12.47p per kilowatt hour to 1.63p with large standalone units eligible for subsidies of 1.03p per kWh, compared with 4.28p today.

Confused?

Many renewables businesses, in solar as well as other renewables may go out of business – is that the plan? The big 6 certainly do not want power generation to be taken out of their monopoly hands – is that the reason? The Government see renewables as a threat to their preferred nuclear future – is that the justification? The Government wish to keep the cost of energy high to you and I as a form of taxation – is that it? There is a danger of an overspend of the support mechanisms over 6 years of £4.9bn – about £800m a year – is that it?

Of course Osborne just threw £550 million at Faslane to support a nuclear weapon we don’t need and can’t ever use.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd said “We can’t have a situation where industry has a blank check, and that check is paid for by people’s bills,” Rudd said Wednesday on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program – in fact it is the industry that gets the subsidies! The cost of Hinckley C (for a French company to build it) is £16 billion and will require at least £17 billion in subsidies! thats £33,000,000,000.

From a European perspective we, and she, are a laughing stock. Please write to your MP and protest in the strongest terms against this stupidity!

Community Energy Project for Bedminster

Would you be interested in paying less for the electricity you used during the day? Bedminster and Easton energy groups have just been awarded a government grant to see if a community energy scheme would work for these 2 areas of Bristol. The projects are expected reduce what people pay for electricity, create a community improvement fund and increase local renewable energy production.

The joint project will find out if there is enough local interested in taking part. The plan is to put solar PV on 75 homes in Bedminster. People taking part will host solar panels on their roof and in return will pay a cheap daytime solar tariff for the electricity that they use from their roof. The solar electricity is likely to be about a third the cost of electricity from the national grid (5p/unit vs 15p/unit).

Get in touch now if you either want your home to be one of the 75 homes to take part, or you want to know more about how it works.

Look out for events in Community Energy Fortnight 5th-20th September where you can ask questions and learn more. Plus, keep an eye on local notice boards and this website for further information.