Britain is getting serious about energy efficiency. In a global push to halt climate change, the UK is committed to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. A huge priority is the heating of homes, businesses and industry together accounting for a third of UK greenhouse gas emissions.
Several incentives are driving the process. Under the Green Homes Grant scheme, homeowners and landlords in England can claim back two-thirds of the cost of energy improvements, up to a maximum £5,000. Since 2015, more than 20,000 households in Scotland have benefited from heating and insulation installed under the Warmer Homes scheme.
This year the UK Government has been consulting on ways to replace the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive without discouraging continued investment in efficiencies.
An earlier boom in solar photovoltaic – electricity from rooftop panels – stopped in March 2019 with the ending of the Feed-in Tariff, which allowed householders to sell surplus power back into the grid. The Smart Export Guarantee, replacing FiT, also pays for electricity fed back, but generally at lower rates that vary according to supplier.
Renewable energy technology
Solar PV is making a comeback in any case, driven by desire for independence from energy companies, concerns over the cost and reliability of supply as well as the environment, and technical improvements.
Another crucial factor is system integration. Manufacturers know customers want products that not only perform well, they also deliver effectively and consistently when used with other technologies.
An integrated approach, as employed by Solarwatt, builds future-proofing into a range – where products are designed to work seamlessly with each other to deliver clean, green energy to homes and businesses.
Solarwatt’s PV package comprises Vision glass-glass panels, MyReserve smart solar battery and the EnergyManager control system – designed to work together for the best performance, safety and sustainability, providing householders with energy independence.
The company also works with IRFTS, manufacturer of Easy Roof Evolution, to provide high-performance, building-integrated PV (BIPV) designs for homes, carports and the growing home EV-charging markets.
Easy Roof fits like Lego and is installed at the same time as the roof structure, replacing tiles, with no plastic penetration, guaranteed water-tightness, interchangeable panels, zero maintenance, anytime access to electrics and connectors and high wind-load performance.
Installers also regularly specify integrated systems that include heat pumps, solar thermal and smart lighting.
In contrast to conventional glass-foil panels, modern glass-glass modules have a higher-yield reliability; are robust against environmental influences, are long-lasting and being lightweight, they’re uncomplicated to install.
Tested for mechanical endurance, fire, gas and chemical resistance, potential-induced degradation (PID) and weather extremes including hurricanes and snow loading, the panels are certificated to the highest levels and carry a 30-year guarantee for both product and linear performance as well as free five-year full coverage insurance.
Batteries are key
FiT was popular because it paid for electricity that households could not consume immediately. Now, with smart storage, they can store energy generated in daylight hours for use in the evening and overnight, which means you buy less, so bills are lower.
Smart batteries, such as Solarwatt’s MyReserve batteries are a safe, powerful, compact way to store energy. Their modular profile and shoe-box-size means you can start small and grow capacity any time.
Using an easy to use smart control system households can use their own solar-generated solar power rather than feeding it back into public supply.
This dynamic app / portal increases end-customer awareness of consumption and boosts energy efficiency. It works well with several technologies including as heat pumps.