Environmentally and Economically Friendly

Not only is investing in clean energy contributing towards reduction in climate change, and a stable long-term investment but it now appears is benefiting the economy. A study by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) shows that renewable energies create up to ten times more jobs per unit of electricity produced than that of fossil fuels. The study, published 5th November 2014, looked at the impact on employment through renewable energy and energy efficiency policies. The data, compiled from fifty studies across Europe, USA and China, showed that solar electricity creates between 0.4 – 1.1 jobs per GWh generated. Comparatively fossil fuels accounted for between 0.1 – 0.2 for same amount of power generated. Wind power creates between 0.05-0.5 jobs, and energy efficient policies accounting for between 0.3 and one job per GWh saved. From these results it is estimated that renewable energy production creates up to one job more than fossil fuels per GWh produced, with solar electricity at the helm. With the Government in full support of these ‘green’ initiatives and offering incentivised funding, and with renewable energy becoming cheaper to install and manage, we are certain to see more UK investment in renewable energy. But can it really help the economy? The balance of costs in energy generation by renewables is different to that of fossil fuel, with costs going into the production facilities and labour of renewables. The additional cost of labour will be off-set against the fuel costs, becoming less reliant on oil and gas with unpredictable fluctuating prices. The additional jobs will mean more money is put back into the UK economy and...
Hazards of Solar PV

Hazards of Solar PV

As we strive to reduce carbon emissions, we are increasingly turning to renewable sources of energy production. With the ability to exploit water, wind, carbon neutral fuels and solar, renewable energy is becoming an increasingly common source of our power. Since the introduction of the Government’s ‘green’ incentives, specifically Feed-in-Tariffs (FiT) the rate of renewable and energy efficient installs has seen a huge rise. The most popular in the domestic market being solar PV, offering the best return. Due to the FiT model many companies offered free solar PV roof-top installation to domestic properties. Between 2010 and 2012 solar PV was installed to over 100,000 sites. The advancements in technology, and better understanding have improved safety standards in solar PV installation and maintenance. In the early stages of the FiT programme, the technology was new and government guidelines weren’t as comprehensive. This however has led to further investigation into PV systems and potential hazards. The PV itself is not believed to have a higher risk factor than any other electrical supply should it become faulty, however ensuring the isolation of the system is very important. PV systems generate direct current (‘DC’), compared to standard mains electricity which uses alternating current (‘AC’) which is safer to the human body should it hazardously encounter a live stream. In addition the PV generated current cannot be switched off in isolated parts of the system therefore is more dangerous if not being attended to by an expert, qualified engineer. DC currently do not interact with fuses in the same way as AC therefore a standard fuse will not work as an effective safety...
History of UK Feed-in-Tariffs

History of UK Feed-in-Tariffs

As part of the Energy Act of 2008 set-out by law, and the European 2020 Climate Change Levy, the UK Government introduced the Feed-in-Tariff (“FiT”) scheme. Outlined in 2008, it then took effect from April 2010. It was designed to promote small-scale renewable and low-carbon electricity generation. The scheme was available to renewable sources producing up to 5MWp (residential and small business premises, roof-top solar photovoltaic (“PV”)). How the scheme worked The feedback term for solar PV installed in 2010 was 25 years, at 43.3p per kWh, payable to the asset ‘owner’. With an additional export tariff at 3.2p per kWh paid by the electricity utilities company on an assumption that 50% of the power produced will be fed back in to the grid. A 1kW system in the UK will, on average, produce 850kWh per year. This will give an average yield: Subsidy                £368.05 Export                   £13.60 This framework meant that many companies, were able to offer free installation to qualifying properties (based on location, orientation, size and pitch). With reductions in installation costs, by as much as 50%, it was a feasible business model producing a good ROI yield. Companies then proceeded to build large portfolios of solar PV installations, reaping the rewards from the subsidies. In October 2011 the Department of Energy and Climate Change announced that they had under estimated the success of the scheme with over 100,000 so far. To ensure the scheme remained sustainable, they would be cutting the solar subsidies by over half to 21p per kWh for any newly installed solar PV. This cut came into effect from 3rd March 2012. To...