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Climate

High energy prices? Discover the natural low cost energy solution!

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Celtic Green Energy reveals the benefits of Solar power.

In 2022, the Ukraine war caused an unprecedented energy crisis highlighting the UK’s dependence on Russian oil and gas that exposed our vulnerability to fuel security. Fuel prices rocketed, businesses folded and families were plunged into a cost of living crisis. The cost of fuel impacted on transport, raising food, heating, motoring and consumer goods prices. The general public became energy anxious and the Government had to step in to try to help the most vulnerable with new energy and fuel campaigns. This vulnerability to energy security prompted the Government into spearheading home grown renewable energy solutions with the extended development of windfarms, nuclear and solar. Advancements in technology and falling equipment prices has suddenly made solar power systems more affordable and increasingly attractive to consumers.

Renewable energy systems are widely seen as the way forward for a greener economy, lowering the impact on the environment, lowering carbon and reducing costs. A number of affordable solutions are now available to the general public and businesses that can help in the quest for climate change and energy efficiency. One example is where the Government is keen to promote the sale of electric vehicles to meet strict G4 net zero carbon goals, however with this interest, widespread confusion and anxiety follows. Never before terminology such as ‘range anxiety’ and ‘charge-point anxiety’ are appearing with the growth in electric vehicles and a weak infrastructure. 

Fuel poverty within a poor housing stock is raising environmental concerns and the Government has addressed this issue with the availability of renewable energy solutions to the less fortunate on benefit or low income through the ECO4 grant scheme. This however has caused a ripple effect of scurrilous opportunists trading off FREE solar claims to all, when in fact, all but a few are actually entitled to the scheme. Even when those who are fortunate to qualify, find that the installation teams are shipped in from far away and leave with little or no support for the householder. When systems fail, they are left with little or no aftercare and are left facing a costly ‘white elephant’. Fortunately the industry regulator MCS Certification has strict guidelines for the Solar Power installation service and consumers are advised to check out their website for approved and registered suppliers.

Understanding the needs of the consumer and offering a strict code of conduct is essential for a reputable installer. West Wales based Celtic Green Energy has an enviable reputation serving the region for the last decade with renewable energy solutions for domestic, business and farming sectors. “We have people from all walks of life approach us with their energy concerns” quotes Sales Director Stuart Jupp. “What’s reassuring about my job is that I can give them genuine help to secure their future, their energy bills and relieve their anxieties. Anyone who uses electricity has potential to use solar power, although some properties may be ineligible due to prevailing conditions such as a ground floor flat!”

For the uninitiated, a solar power scheme is an installed system that includes a series of large flat photovoltaic panels that are placed on a southward facing roof that captures the suns rays – even on a cloudy day. The rays stimulate the photovoltaic cells to generate electricity that is then processed through an inverter ready to be fed into the property for use. Any surplus electricity is fed back to the national grid generating a small income, but it is now recommended that batteries are fitted to capture this latent energy and reuse at night.

As every property is different and every consumer has varying energy use, every solar panel system is tailored to the individual’s needs. A good starting point to specify the ideal scheme is based on a properties existing energy consumption where a system will be designed to match those needs. A Solar Surveyor will visit the site to identify the location, its constraints and discuss with the customer their objectives. A detailed quote and energy performance projection will be offered to the customer that will help their decision process. Most business installations will pay back their investment within 2 years, whilst domestic schemes will pay back the investment within 4 to 5 years – based on the prevailing energy costs.

The main use of energy during the winter months is to provide heat, whether that is gas, coal, oil or electric. The fossil fuels are on the Government’s hit list to reduce carbon emissions, so is keen to encourage the sale of Air Source Heat Pumps which are three times more energy efficient than other heat sources. These are large fan assisted units that sit outside the property and reverse condense cold air into heat (the opposite action of a refrigerator). The Air Source Haet Pump will then provide sufficient heat to power a conventional central heating system, but given the nature of the beast, operates slightly differently to the traditional method of a gas or oil system. As these require electricity to power them, they do consume energy 24/7 – however, with a solar power system, they can undertake this free of charge during the daytime and if a solar battery system is installed, can run free at night too.

Solar power is seen as the great saviour for many as it offers a perfect solution for the nation, businesses and the private individuals. With it’s green credentials, Solar is an ideal gateway product that provides power for many energy intensive applications such as heating, refrigeration and charging that ultimately helps reduce carbon, the environment and cut costs. The last year has seen a dramatic rise in the sales of electric vehicles, and a subsequent rise in the installation of home EV charging points. Add a solar system with solar batteries to the equation, and consumers will be able to charge their cars for free and dramatically cut the cost of their motoring.

Solar Batteries are now seen as the key essential accessory for any Solar power system as they help maintain provision of energy after dark. With advancements in technology falling off the back of the electric vehicle industry, there is now a wide variety of choice for batteries offering various degrees of performance, durability, cost, longevity and warranty. Any reputable installer will be able to advise the virtues of the right battery for the individual that best suits their lifestyle demands and budget.

Sum up…

Next time you awake to a fresh morning cuppa and look out to a sunny day, remember that sunshine could be providing you with free electricity to power your kettle – as well as your washing machine, cooker, television, charging your electric car and lots, lots more! The possibilities for solar power are endless, so if you are concerned about your rising energy costs and want to do something about it, make your next step be a phone call to Celtic Green Energy who will be able to advise you on the best way forward. You can call their energy help line 01269 500388 or learn more and visit their website at www.celticgreenenergy.co.uk

Here’s to brighter tomorrows and sunnier savings!

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Climate

Record year for Welsh heat pumps and solar panels

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RECORD numbers of solar panels and heat pumps were installed in Welsh homes and businesses last year.

2023 saw more than double the amount of certified renewable installations in Wales than the previous year, bringing the total number of Welsh homes and businesses with renewable energy to over 100,000. 2023 was also the first year that installations rose above 20,000 in a single year, according to the MCS database of certified installations.

Solar panels made up the majority of the new renewable energy, with 14,730 MCS-certified installations across Wales. This represents a twelve-year high and is the highest level since Feed-In Tarriff grants were cut in 2011.

But the largest increase was in the heat pump sector, with a 147% increase in certified installations between 2022 and 2023. Experts at the MCS Foundation, which compiled the figures, said that Government grants introduced in 2022 have helped drive the rise in uptake. Households can now get £7,500 off the cost of a heat pump under the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, with applications for the grants rising rapidly.

Grants available for homeowners via the Welsh Government’s Nest scheme have also helped with the rollout of renewables. The Nest scheme is coming to an end, and is due to be replaced by a new scheme with a greater focus on low carbon technologies for the home.

Nearly one-in-ten households in Wales now have MCS-certified renewable installations, the highest proportion anywhere in the UK.

David Cowdrey, Director of External Affairs at the MCS Foundation, said: “The rapid rise of renewables in Wales is good news for people’s energy bills and for the climate.

“However, while the upward trend is encouraging, we need to be installing many more heat pumps, much faster, to meet climate change targets. Government policies like mandating heat pumps in all new-build homes and reducing the price of electricity so that heat pumps are guaranteed to be cheaper to run than a gas boiler will help to increase uptake.”

Nick Salini, Director of heat pump installer Thermal Earth, said “It is positive to see the increased uptake of renewables in Wales. Heat pumps are the future of home heating systems and viable in every type of building with correct design and installation.

“While this growth is welcome, we need significantly higher growth to get anywhere near the long term targets set by UK Government and reduce our national dependency on fossil fuels. In addition to installation financial support such as the BUS, we need lower electricity costs for heat pumps to further increase the running cost savings and more positive messaging of the advantages heat pumps offer homeowners to transition to away from traditional fossil fuel systems.”

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Climate

Site visit for Rhosygilwen turbine after airport safety fears raised

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PLANNERS are to visit the site of a proposed 200-foot-high wind turbine at a north Pembrokeshire mansion and arts charity home after fears were raised it would threaten the safe operation of the nearby West Wales Airport.

Mr and Mrs Glen Peters of Western Solar Ltd are seeking permission for a single 600kw turbine on land near the Grade II-listed Rhosygilwen Mansion, which includes an arts and functions building known as Neuaddydderwen.

The application, for the 62-metre-high turbine and associated works, was recommended for refusal at the January meeting of Pembrokeshire County Council’s planning committee for several reasons, including harm to the setting of the Grade-II-listed house and grounds, and threats to the safe operation of West Wales Airport at Aberporth in neighbouring Ceredigion, some 9.5 kilometres away.

Agent and specialist renewable energy developer Infinite Renewables Limited, in its supporting statement, said: “The survival of the business, the Pembrokeshire Retreat and Menter Rhosygilwen (the arts charity) which are conducted at Neuaddydderwen and the mansion, is dependent on lower energy costs. Winter imports of energy forced closure in 2022/23 due to high energy bills,” it adds.

A report for planners says the airport manager at West Wales Airport has objected to the proposed development due to possible interference with radar systems, which is disputed by an aviation consultant advising Infinite Renewables Limited.

The issue has also been raised by the MoD, which had requested further time so submit a response.

Speaking at the meeting, applicant Glen Peters said the application for a turbine was “made on both financial and ideological grounds,” to ensure the long-term viability of Rhosygilwen, acquired some 30 years previously as a fire-damaged house that was about to be pulled down.

He said that, despite 200-year-old Rhosygilwen using power from its solar farm, the first of its kind in Wales, along with ground source heating a biomass power, it was hit with “huge increases in importing energy from the grid” during the winter months.

New member of the planning committee, and local member for Cilgerran, Councillor John T Davies, attending his first committee meeting in 21 years, said support a recommendation of refusal would be “premature” while responses were awaited.

Cllr Davies called for a deferral on making a decision for two months.

An amendment to Cllr Davies’ proposal, to include a site visit, was made by Cllr Iwan Ward, which was unanimously supported by members.

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Climate

Blue Gem Wind shares wind speed data with Wales’ Marine Energy Test Area

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BLUE GEM WIND, a joint venture between TotalEnergies and Simply Blue Group, have shared important wind speed data with Wales’ Marine Energy Test Area (META).

The data was collected as part of the development of the Erebus floating wind project, which is planned to be built approximately 45km off the coast of Pembrokeshire.

Mike Scott, Project Managing Director at Blue Gem Wind, said: “We installed a met mast on the Angle Peninsula in early 2021 to understand wind speed and other weather-related data for the development of our Erebus floating wind project. Working with Marine Energy Wales we are happy to provide data we have collected to support the ongoing development plans at META .”

META operates eight sites in and around the Milford Haven waterway. It offers testing in real sea conditions for wave, tidal and floating offshore wind technology, alongside world-class port, engineering, and manufacturing facilities.

As the only pre-consented, pre-commercial test facility of its kind in the country, META is dedicated to reducing the time, cost and risks associated with the deployment and commercialisation of marine energy technologies, saving companies valuable time and money.

Saul Young, META Operations Manager said: “We are pleased to be collaborating with Blue Gem Wind and to be sharing data in this way. Not only will it help improve our understanding of conditions at the East Pickard Bay site, but it will also help support the development of the sector by providing technology developers and researchers accurate data with which to plan their innovative projects at META. META has a growing catalogue of data for our various sites, and we are committed to expanding our collection.”

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